Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi on Sunday directed the provincial police chief to conduct a departmental inquiry against Narang police station’s officials whose failure to take substantive action over an assault earlier this week saw its axe-wielding suspect return days later and allegedly hack eight to death in Sheikhupura.
The murders committed using an axe and an iron rod took place in and around Hachar village of the city in the early hours of Saturday, prompting police to look for the suspect.
Police managed to arrest the suspect, identified as Faiz Rasool, who is said to have been a teacher at a local private school.
The Narang police registered a murder case against the suspect on the complaint of Ikhlaq Ahmed, a filling station employee.
On Saturday, the district police officer suspended the Narang station house officer (SHO) for not taking timely action against the suspect when he tried to attack another citizen around four days ago.
In a telephonic conversation with Punjab Inspector General Faisal Shahkar today, Elahi asked the police chief to take action against officials of the police station concerned.
He said the barbaric incident could have been averted, had the relevant station house officer and other officers taken pre-emptive action beforehand.
The suspect had reportedly been detained by police just days earlier after attempting to attack another citizen with an axe. That citizen had remained unhurt after onlookers intervened and overpowered Rasool. Police eventually released the suspect after his family pleaded that he suffered from mental illness.
The chief minister blamed the “laziness and negligence” of police, leading to the murders of eight people.
“There is no room for such an SHO and staff in the police department,” Elahi said as he directed the police chief to hold an inquiry into the incident under his own supervision.
Elahi said the suspect will be punished as per the law, adding that justice will be meted out to aggrieved families.
The police statement said the medical examination of the suspect was being conducted to ascertain his mental condition.
A police report seen by Dawn states that the bodies of his eight victims were found inside different houses, along the roadside and in fields near Hachar village.
The victims were identified as Dilawar (20), Asad Ali (25), Faisal (25), Akram (55), Tanvir (40), Shehroz (19), Umair (19) and Sarfraz (70).
Police had said Dilawar and Asad Ali were murdered outside two separate filling stations; Faisal and Akram were found on their charpoys in a rice field; while Tanvir, Shehroz, Umair and Sarfraz were found hacked to death in the courtyards of their respective houses.
A police constable had noticed the suspect near a filling station, where the policeman had stopped to refuel his motorcycle.
The constable, Zafar Iqbal, had said in his video statement that he saw the suspect in blood-stained clothes, armed with an axe and an iron rod, near the filling station after he had killed two victims.