The minor victim of the Sahiwal incident had survived the initial spray of bullets fired by officials of the counter-terrorism department (CTD). But the 13-year old was pushed back into the car after being pulled out with her three siblings, and then shot dead.
This has been revealed by Umair Khalil, the eldest of the three surviving children, who was an eyewitness to the tragedy. According to him, the CTD team, after killing his mother, father and driver Zeeshan, had shifted the four siblings to the police van. A few moments later, they separated Areeba from them and pushed her again into the car and opened indiscriminate fire.
The victim was studying for matriculation and was in tenth grade. A studious child, she had recently secured top position in an examination. An image of the teenager receiving a recognition certificate also went viral on social media.
Meanwhile, the joint investigation team (JIT) constituted to probe the incident has asked the public for help in collecting evidence. It has issued an advertisement asking citizen’s to provide video, information, footage about Sahiwal incident till January 28. The information of those providing information will be kept confidential.
It has also recorded the statements of 13 eyewitnesses so far. It has also sent vehicle and shell casings to Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) for analysis. However, the PFSA has written to the province’s home department to send other evidence including weapons that were used for firing the bullets to ensure comprehensive analysis.
The incident, which caused national outrage, resulted in the killings of at least four persons in an incident of firing by a CTD team in Sahiwal on January 19. The deceased included three members of a family; a couple and their teenage daughter. The couple’s three minor children also received injuries in the incident, with one child shot in the leg.
CTD had claimed it to be an intelligence-based operation although authorities later acknowledged bungling up. The CTD, too, changed its statement about the incident on several occasion. First, it had claimed that those killed were kidnappers. Then, it said that they were terrorists linked with Da’ish (or the Islamic State) and were killed by firing of their own accomplices who were escorting them on a bike.
It also claimed to have recovered weapons and explosives from the vehicle. However, amateur footage of the incident captured by passersby and statement of a surviving child proved the claims of CTD false.