LAHORE: Poor security of the sessions court was exposed on Wednesday, when an under-trial prisoner facing murder charges was gunned down along with a policeman in a brazen armed attack there.
Amjad Gujjar, a resident of Praim Gali of Naulakha was brought to the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Imran Shafi for hearing of the case.
According to eyewitnesses, as soon as the accused was escorted out of the courtroom by police after hearing of the case, unidentified armed assailants opened fire on him, leaving him critically injured. He died on the spot.
When one of the policemen escorting Gujjar tried to retaliate, the attackers shot at and injured him. He was identified as Asif Iqbal, 38, a head constable from Judicial Wing.
Iqbal later died at a hospital where he was shifted for treatment.
The witnesses said at least three other policemen present there, ran for shelter instead of fighting the attackers.
The indiscriminate fire on court premises caused panic among lawyers, court staff and litigants who ran for their lives creating a stampede-like situation there.
Meanwhile, the attackers fled the scene.
A police official seeking anonymity said Gujjar was facing trial for allegedly killing a relative, Qadeer alias Kala, some three years ago.
He said that he might have been killed by the two sons of Qadeer who wanted to avenge the murder of their father.
A CCTV footage of the incident aired by some TV channels showed an armed cop firing in the air in a corridor of the building shortly after the attack. It also showed two injured men lying on the floor.
The police authorities claimed the constable was killed during an encounter with the attackers.
The firing incident exposed the security lapses on the premises of the sessions court where a number of under-trial prisoners were brought daily for hearing of the cases.
Following the incident, a heavy contingent of police rushed to the sessions court and launched a search for the arrest of the attackers after closing the building entrances.
Some senior police officers also reached there to investigate how the armed men entered the premises of the sessions court without going through frisking.
Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2018