No arrests even after two days of G-9 murder, firing

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Feb 17, 2014,

Islamabad – Police failed to make any arrests during raids conducted on the houses of traders who were involved in a Saturday firing incident in G-9 Markaz.

One man was killed and seven others injured when one group of traders allegedly opened fire on its rival group, following a tiff over campaign activities for the election of the local traders’ union.

The case investigating officer at the Margalla police station said houses of the traders who opened fire during the incident were raided on Saturday night and Sunday morning. “But they seemed to have locked up their houses and fled before we got there,” the policeman said.

Traders Ikhlaq Abbasi of the Tajir Welfare group and Malik Rafiq of the Tajir Ittehad group were contesting the February 27 election of the president of the G-9 traders’ union. The incident started as a fight between their respective supporters over the placement of some election campaign banners.

According to Margalla police, the initial fight was resolved through the intervention of the election committee’s chairman. But the tension did not diffuse completely.

Some eyewitnesses claimed a member of the Abbasi group was brutally beaten by the Malik group in a fistfight that led to the firing. But police said they could not confirm this development.

The conflict eventually escalated to a point where armed men from the Abbasi group allegedly opened fire on Malik’s supporters, killing Malik’s 34-year-old son, Usman Rafiq, and injuring at least seven other men.

According to police, the injured mostly suffered bullet wounds on their legs. All but one was discharged from the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences on Saturday night, even though a police officer said some of them might have still been struggling with their injuries.

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