By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA): A purported custodian of a shrine has killed 20 people and injured 3 others after intoxicating them in northeast Pakistan, officials and local media reported on Sunday.
The gruesome incident occured in a remote village of Sargodha district located 190 kilometers away from Lahore, the capital of Punjab province.
The so-called custodian first used some drinks to intoxicate his two dozen disciples, and later killed them with the help of his three accomplices by using clubs and daggers.
Deputy commissioner of Sargodha, Liaquat Chatta told reporters that the gory incident occured on late Saturday night, and one of the survivors reported that to the police.
The police rushed to the scene immediately.
“We have recovered 20 bodies –16 men and 4 women– from the shrine,” Chatta said adding that the four accused, including the custodian, who is a retired government employee, have been arrested.
“The prime accused seemingly mentally unstable,” he added, who had told the police that his disciples were conspiring to poison him, that’s why he killed them to save his life.
Abdul Waheed, a 50-year-old retired government official, was arrested along with his two accomplices – Zafar Ali and Sanaullah – on Sunday after police found 20 bodies bearing signs of torture near the shrine.
Waheed was currently living in a house in Green Town Lahore. He had worked as deputy director of the Election Commission Lahore and was on Leave for Preparation before Retirement (LPR) for one year.
Authorities investigating the matter stated that the suspect appeared to be paranoid and psychotic. One of the arrested suspects was an advocate. Another suspect in his statement to the police said that the prime suspect had many devotees who were well-educated and well-placed in different government departments.
According to initial investigations, the prime suspect, Abdul Waheed, who was a ‘Mujawar’ of the Darbar, called on devotees to visit the shrine on Friday.
“He would call [them] in a separate room (hujra) one by one, ask them to undress, burn their clothes, then beat them up with clubs and axes with the help of his accomplices.”
“When the victim fell unconscious, he would remove them to another room. On the first night (Friday), the suspect killed four men [using this manner]. He killed [the] rest the next day (Saturday),” the report added.
An injured woman, who somehow managed to flee the incident, told the administration about the ongoing mass killing in the shrine, Deputy Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatta told the media.
After receiving the information, a heavy contingent of police, civil administration and rescue teams rushed to the spot and found 19 bodies. The bodies, 15 men and four women, all of which were naked and bore multiple stab wounds, were found in a house adjacent to the shrine in a pool of blood. Another body was recovered from nearby fields.
The incident occurred at Darbar Brelvi Ali Muhammad Gujjar near Chak 95, just outside the city of Sarghoda. The shrine was built about two years ago on the grave of Ali Mohammad Gujjar, a local Sufi leader
Additional news from Tribune Express
[Photo: A Pakistan paramedic gets information prior to hand over the bodies to their relatives at a hospital in the garrison city of Sargodha, in Punjab province, Pakistan on April 2, 2017. Photographer: Muhabiri Sohail Ahmed/AA]