NAWABSHAH: Three protesters were wounded when police opened fire to disperse a mob that tried to break into the B-Section police station on Saturday in an attempt to take away a suspect lodged in the lock-up after he allegedly confessed to have assaulted and murdered a seven-year-old girl late Friday night.
Before his arrest, the city witnessed widespread protests that broke out after the girl’s body was found dumped at the gate of the Eidgah ground in the Saeedabad locality on Friday night.
Reports from the area suggested that the girl, daughter of Rao Shaukat Ali, had gone missing after leaving her home to play outside late in the evening. The family members alerted the police after they failed to locate her after a hectic search. Activists belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) also joined in the search as the girl happened to be the niece of a senior party member, Rao Sarwar.
As soon as residents of Saeedabad and the B-Section police found the girl’s body, groups of enraged youths took to the streets of Nawabshah and blocked several roads with burning tyres and junk in protest against the murder. The girl’s body was taken to the Peoples Medical University Hospital (PMUH) where doctors confirmed that she was assaulted before being strangled.
While a large number of people crowded the PMUH, MQM zonal head Asim Kabeer Khanzada and many of his party colleagues took out a rally raising slogans against police for failing to protect citizens.
Adviser to the Chief Minister on Auqaf Ziaul Hassan and Shaheed Benazirabad Deputy Commissioner Abdul Aleem Lashari also reached the hospital along with senior police officials of the district to bring the situation under control.
During the initial investigation, some witnesses told the police that they had seen the victim accompanying a man, a neighbour of Rao Shaukat Ali, DSP Aijaz Tareen told journalists on Saturday. “We picked him up for interrogation during which he confessed to have subjected the girl to criminal assault,” he said, adding that the suspect also confessed to have strangled her on raising a hue and cry.
Soon after the suspect’s arrest, the city reverberated with gunfire and groups of angry youths started assembling outside the police station demanding that he be handed over to them.
They tried to force their entry into the police station prompting the police to fire into the air in order to scare them away. Three persons, Mohammad Sajid Pathan, 15, Rao Noor Zaman, 14, and Zahid Siyal, 31, sustained bullet wounds and were rushed to the PMUH for treatment.
Protest demonstrations and sit-ins were held outside the local press club, Shiraz Chowk, Sanghar Road, railway tracks and other places. Some protesters also pelted the Karachi-bound Awam Express with stones but no one was hurt.
Meanwhile, Nawabshah SSP Jawed Jiskani has placed B-Section SHO Mubeen Ahmed under suspension and demoted him to the lower post for failing to discharge his duties efficiently.
Police said in the evening that the situation had been brought under control and patrolling across the city intensified to defuse tension.