» » Key witness against alleged terrorist in #Safoora bus attack shot dead >>

HYDERABAD: Sub-inspector Ishtiaq Aiwan was shot dead in Hyderabad on Monday, four days after identifying one of the suspects of the Safoora Goth carnage, Tahir  Hussain Minhas, in the murder case of policeman Manoj Kumar Bhatia.

The killing exposes the lax enforcement of the Sindh Witness Protection Act, 2013.

Aiwan had left home to join his duty in Tando Muhammad Khan district when unidentified assailants on a motorcycle fired multiple shots at him near Shumaila Imambargah in Mumtaz Colony and escaped.

According to the medico-legal officer who examined the body, the policeman sustained six gunshots. The police collected, however, seven spent shells of a 9mm pistol from the crime scene.

“He was the complainant in the FIR regsitered in the murder case of sub-inspector Manoj Kumar [who was shot dead allegedly by Minhas in December, 2010, in Hyderabad],” Hyderabad SSP Irfan Baloch told the media, after offering funeral prayers of the deceased cop in the police headquarters.

Aiwan, appointed as an ASI in 1992, was currently posted in Tando Muhammad Khan district. “He was served a court notice to identify and record his statement [against Minhas] on August 31. A few days ago he went to record the statement but was only shown a photograph [of Minhas] and was asked to come later,” a senior police officer, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case, told The Express Tribune. The Hyderabad SSP, however, only confirmed that notices were served but he has yet to record the statement and identify the suspect.

Aiwan, who has been given one security guard, was alone at the time of his killing. Residents told the media that some neighbour even pelted stones at the attackers as they fled on their motorcycle. “He deserved to have better security considering that he was a witness against one of the most notorious terrorists in the custody,” said a police official, who is a colleague of Aiwan.

SSP Baloch says many policemen in Hyderabad, who are complainants on behalf of the state in terrorism cases, face similar threats. At the time of his killing in Heerabad in December 2010, SI Bhatia was investigating the murder case of a young engineer, Gareesh Kumar, who was killed after his kidnapping from Hyderabad. Minhas and some other members of his family were accused in the case. They were arrested but later released.

Hyderabad police also investigated Minhas, through a Joint Interrogation Team in Karachi, in late May for his involvement in the killing of seven policemen in Hyderabad in 2014 in separate attacks.  Aiwan’s elder brother, Inspector Abrar Aiwan, also confirmed that his brother was receiving threats.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd,   2015.

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