Suspect in TV reporter murder case shot dead
KARACHI: Liaquat Ali, the prime suspect in the 2011 murder of television journalist Wali Khan Babar, was killed and an accomplice of his was wounded in what was claimed to be ‘an encounter with police’ in Clifton in the early hours of Saturday. A policeman also sustained injuries, officials said.
They claimed that the gunfight took place near a restaurant at Sea View when a police party, moving into action upon a citizen’s complaint that he had been robbed of his valuables a little earlier, spotted a gang of suspects on motorbikes.
“After a brief exchange of gunfire, the police party arrested two of the suspects, who were wounded. A constable also sustained bullet wounds in the action,” they said, adding that four other suspects engaged in the encounter fled the scene.
Giving details, Inspector Shafiq Tanoli, the SHO of the Darakhshan police station, said: “A distressed man, Mr Farooq, approached a police patrol party with the complaint that he was robbed of his valuables at Sea View by some armed men riding motorbikes. The police party went after the suspects and spotted some armed men on three bikes near a restaurant. Alarmed by the police party’s moving towards them, the suspects opened fire on their mobile van injuring Constable Waqas. The police party returned fire and an encounter ensued.”
During the brief gunfight, he said, four of the suspects escaped, leaving behind their two wounded associates, who were taken into custody.
The SHO said that both the arrested suspects with the injured constable were rushed to the Civil Hospital, where one of the suspects died from his injuries.
“The dead was identified as Liaquat Ali, who was the prime suspect in the Wali Khan Babar murder case. The other suspect was identified as Rashid alias Chamber.”
He recalled that Liaquat, along with his several associates, was nominated in the FIR of the journalist’s murder registered at the Supermarket police station. The co-accused were already facing trial, he added.
The police also claimed to have seized two TT pistols and a motorbike, bearing registration number KEM 1709, from the scene of the encounter.
The motorbike was earlier snatched in the Baldia Town area, they said.
An FIR (212/2012) was registered under Sections 302 (attempt to commit qatl-i-amd), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 395 (punishment for dacoity), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code against the two suspects and their four unknown associates.
“Two separate FIRs (213 & 214/2012) have also been registered against the suspects under Section 13-D of the Pakistan Arms Ordinance for possessing illegal arms,” the police said.
Associated with the Geo News channel, Wali Khan Babar was gunned down near Liaquatabad No 10 in January 2011 while he was returning home from work.
The killing of the young reporter triggered widespread condemnation from the local and international media and organisations of journalists. An investigation into the murder has remained sketchy as officials have failed to reach a conclusion about the exact motive for his killing.
SHO Tanoli himself is the key investigator of the case. The younger brother of the police officer also lost his life, reportedly to deter the investigator from putting his hands on the culprits. During the course of the investigation, three more people — including two policemen — have been killed and their murders are believed to be linked with the same probe.