LAHORE, Pakistan - An American diplomat gunned down two Pakistani young motorcyclists near Mozang Crossing, shortly after they intercepted him as he was fleeing after crushing another bike rider to death at Jail Road on Thursday afternoon, eyewitnesses said.
Even after killing three people, the Americans went on the rampage as the US Consulate vehicles also hit and injured over a dozen people who came in their way or tried to stop them when they were escaping from the crime scene.
The killer, identified as Raymond Davis, an undercover US spy who is working as technical advisor at the US Consulate General in Lahore, told the police that he shot dead the boys in 'self-defence' as they were robbers. However, police investigators and local residents said the boys were gentlemen and they had no criminal record.
The police have registered two separate FIRs, including one of murder case under Section 302 of the PPC, against the diplomat and are investigating.
The terrible incident sparked anti-American protests in different parts of the city while the religious parties have announced protests today after Friday prayers.
Sources revealed that the police handed over the so-called diplomat to the US Consulate covertly late on Thursday night. However, the city police chief claimed that Raymond Davis was in their custody. Replying to a query, he said no doubt the diplomats enjoyed some immunity, "but I think in case of killings they don't."
The police are also investigating as to why the American was carrying arms when he was travelling on the city roads without prior information and armed protection.
According the police sources, two vehicles of the US Consulate (white colour Honda VIT-1.8 LEC-5545 and a land cruiser Parado LZQ-6970) were moving towards Qartaba Chowk from Shadman Crossing when the over-speeding pink colour land cruiser hit a motorcycle at about 2:20pm. Davis was sitting in white colour car and he was following the land cruiser.
As a result, the motorcyclist, later identified as Ubaid-ur-Rahman, 25, a trader in Shah Alam Market, sustained multiple wounds and died on the spot. As the US diplomats tried to escape from the scene, local shopkeepers and passers-by started chasing him.
Two young motorcyclists, who witnessed the deadly accident, also started chasing the diplomat, intercepted his car and managed to stop it near Qartba Chowk.
"The boys were chasing the Americans on humanitarian ground as they (US officials) were fleeing from the crime scene after crushing a motorcyclist instead of shifting him to the hospital," Mahmood Khan, an eyewitness said.
Davis, from inside the car, opened indiscriminate fire with his Beretta pistol using hollow point bullets. An orphan youth Faizan Haider, 23, and his pillion riding friend, unidentified so far, sustained multiple bullet wounds and died on the spot.
Sources further revealed that another two American diplomats managed to flee and reached the consulate on the land cruiser.
"According to our knowledge, all the three Americans are undercover agents of Blackwater, a notorious American security firm, also known as Xe Services," a source said.
The police sources said Faizan, a resident of Ravi Road, was a thorough gentleman and was carrying a licensed pistol with him.
"His elder brother Kamran Haider was shot dead by his rivals a couple of months back. The killers are on interim bail these days. Therefore, Faizan used to carry pistol with him for self-protection. He was also pursuing the murder case of his brother in a local court," a senior police officer said, adding that the deceased and his other family members had no criminal record.
"This is true that Faizan Haider was carrying pistol with him but he did not fire even a single shot," police investigators said and added that they also recovered the pistol and bullets from the crime scene.
As the people gathered on the spot and tried to capture the killer, the drivers accelerated the cars and managed to flee from the spot. Later, the US vehicles got stuck in the traffic in Old Anarkali area, where DSP Safdar Raza Kazmi along with a heavy police contingent managed to stop the vehicle.
Davis took out his gun and pointed at the policemen, forcing them to leave the spot but to no avail, an eyewitness said, adding, the police managed to took them to the nearby police station, from where later they were shifted to the office of Capital City Police Officer (CCPO).
Sources revealed that neither the diplomat informed the local administration prior to his 'special assignment,' he was leaving for, nor he got police security.
Medical experts and investigators said that Faizan Haider sustained nine bullets while his friend was shot four times. They were rushed to the Services Hospital, where doctors pronounced them dead.
The police handed over the bodies to the morgue for autopsy.
"The killer after shooting the boys came out of his car and made video of the incident using his mobile camera. The boy was breathing his last when the killer was making video clips," an eyewitness said.
The police chief said that "He is an American national working as Technical advisor in US Consulate. He is in our custody and we are investigating." The police have also impounded the vehicle of the killer.
The family members of the deceased Ubaid-ur-Rehman refused to receive his dead body at the hospital. "We will not perform his last rites until the killer is hanged," Sajjad-ur-Rehman brother of the deceased told reporters outside the hospital.
Soon after the incident, dozens of people gathered on the crime scene, blocked the road and staged strong protest demonstration by setting the tyres on fire, disrupting the traffic flow for hours at the busy road during rush-hours.
The killer also told the police that a pedestrian was killed by a speeding car from the US consulate which came to his help.
US Consulate officials told police that the American fired his pistol in self defence. US embassy officials also confirmed that an American was involved. They also claimed that the men were pursuing the American in his car. The killer told the police that he pulled out his pistol in self-defence.
The US diplomat's car had several bullet holes in the front windscreen as the killer fired several shot from inside. Later he came out and opened more shots to ensure on-spot-death of the boys.
-- The Nation/Asia News Network