LAHORE – Three brothers were among five people killed in a brazen gun attack in Lahore’s Burki neighbourhood on Tuesday morning.
Police said the killings could be an outcome of land dispute. All the five victims riding on a tractor-trolley were going to fields when they came under attack near Habibabad, a small town located on Burki Road.
Three of the five victims were said to be brothers and residents of the Phullarwan Village. The attackers and the victims belonged to the same village, according to police.
Violence and unrest followed the fatal shooting in the evening. Angry mob set ablaze a few houses in the Phullarwan village before heavy police contingents rushed to the spot to control the situation.
Following the gun attack, the victims’ relatives reached The Mall and staged a strong protest demonstration by placing bodies in front of the provincial assembly building.
Many among the protesters were women and they were riding on tractor trolleys as they reached Faisal Chowk, one of the busiest crossings in city’s downtown. As protesters started the drive, police immediately intervened and tried to stop them from marching towards Mall Road. The villagers resisted and managed to reach Mall Road.
“All the five victims were shot in the head, face, and chest. The blood-soaked bodies were shifted to the morgue on ambulances,” a police official said. Rescue workers said they were informed by locals about the gunfire at 08:55am.
The deceased were identified by police as Qurban Ali, 50, his brother Abdul Rashid, 45, Bashir Ahmed, 32, Tanveer Ali, 16, and Qadri Ali, 14.
Dozens of villagers riding on tractor-trolleys, motorcycles, and pick up vans started marching towards The Mall to condemn the killings. The blocked The Mall by placing dead bodies on the road. They also chanted anti-police slogans and demanded immediate arrest the killers. The roadblock caused worst traffic jumbles in city’s downtown.
Heavy police contingents including senior officers also landed at the protest site within an hour. The villagers ended their protest after police officers including Lahore’s DIG (Operations) held a series of negotiations with them. The victim families were assured by police that the killers would be brought to justice.
As protesters reached back their village, an angry mob attacked and torched a few houses belonging to the suspected attackers or their relatives. Heavy police were deployed in the village to keep clam on Tuesday evening.
A police spokesman late Tuesday said the police were registering a case against the killers. However, no arrest was made yet.
Lahore DIG (Operations) Shahzad Akbar told reporters that the killings took place over land dispute in the city’s suburb. He claimed that the attackers are identified by police and raids are underway to arrest them.
“Two special police teams are constituted to arrest the killers. Raids are underway and the culprits would be brought to justice very soon,” the DIG said. The officer further said the police were conducting raids in different parts of the metropolis after the victim families identified the attackers.
Gun attacks over old enmity are not rare in this Punjab province where no less than 2000 persons were murdered during the first six months of this year.