Islamabad standoff: police register case against Sikandar

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad police registered a case against Muhammad Sikandar at Kohsar police station Friday under Section 6 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), Daily Sitara reported.

Moreover, Sikandar’s wife Kanwal was also named in the FIR.

Earlier, Sikandar opened fire in the heavily policed heart of Islamabad after slipping past the capital’s many checkpoints. He was later shot and seriously wounded by police during a dramatic standoff.

The armed man, who was with his wife and children in a car as he issued demands for the imposition of Islamic law, was said by doctors to be fighting for his life after the five-hour incident.

Sikandar started firing into the air in the central Jinnah Avenue neighbourhood — less than a kilometre from the presidency and parliament buildings — after being stopped for a traffic violation on Thursday afternoon, police said, according to the report published by AFP.

An AFP photographer at the scene said the man was holding a submachine gun and a Kalashnikov.

The stand-off came to a head when politician Zamarud Khan, a leader of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), who was acting as a negotiator, jumped on Sikandar and tried to disarm him.

Sikandar broke free and fired at Khan, who was not injured, live footage on Geo TV showed. The woman and children were standing nearby.

Police and paramilitary forces shot Sikandar, who fell to the ground and was carried away by police and paramilitary officers.

Television footage showed the young boy trying to rush over to his father after he was shot, but Khan held him back.

Islamabad police chief Sikander Hayat confirmed that the children had not been injured.

“I was sitting at home and watching this whole drama on TV,” Khan, who is being hailed a hero by local media, told a private news channel.

“I came out with a commitment that I will catch this guy, even if it takes my life.”

Hayat said that Sikandar had made several demands during the stand-off, including the resignation of the government and the enforcement of Islamic Sharia law in Pakistan.

“He was also demanding release of one of his sons, whom he said was jailed in Dubai,” Hayat said.

The stand-off, which began at 5.30 pm ended at 11 pm.

“Condition of Sikandar is critical and doctors are trying to save his life,” doctor Wasim Khawaja, a spokesman for the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) hospital in central Islamabad told AFP.

“He received two bullets, one in the upper body and one in the left leg,” he added.

“The woman was hit in her right leg but she is out of danger.”

Jinnah Avenue is a busy commercial neighbourhood and is a high-security area as the road leads to the presidency and parliament house.

The area was evacuated with markets and shops shut down, and the road where the gunman’s black Toyota Corolla car was parked was blocked by police, who were surrounding him.

Bomb disposal experts checked the car for explosives after the gunman’s arrest and announced it was safe.

Police had earlier said the motives of Sikandar were unknown but he was demanding a safe passage and protection for his family.

The drama was broadcast live by at least three private television channels, with TV anchors questioning how police and other law enforcement agencies failed to check an armed man who drove into an area so close to the presidency and parliament house.

President Asif Ali Zardari praised Khan’s actions during the stand-off.

Zardari “lauded the courage of PPP leader Zamurad Khan who, risking his own life, has helped law enforcing agencies getting hold of the armed man tonight in Islamabad”, a statement from the presidency said.

“The president also appreciated the role of security agencies who have handled the situation in a discreet manner and have averted any mishap,” it added.

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usman hashmi

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