LAHORE - A patrol of the Dolphin Force allegedly shot dead a Christian woman in Lahore’s Nishtar Colony late on Friday.

The death sparked anti-police protests as hundreds of members of the Christian community took to streets to condemn the latest killing of a citizen in alleged police shooting.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar took notice of the killing and sought a report from the IGP.

He also ordered an investigation and said justice should be provided to the victim family. A police official Saturday said that a murder case was registered against officials of the Dolphin Squad (Patrolling Team No 192) on the complaint of husband of the victim. However, no arrest was made till filing of this report.

The deceased was identified by police as 35-year-old Nasreen Waris, a resident of Youhanabad.

Her husband Waris Masih told the police that he along with his wife was coming back home on a motorcycle when dolphin police officials opened indiscriminate fire near Bank-Stop on the Ashiyana Road.

As a result, his wife sustained a bullet in the head. She was rushed to a nearby hospital but she succumbed to injuries in the way.  According to the FIR, the police officials also thrashed and abused the husband when he asked the police why they shot dead his wife. One Dolphin police official Haseeb has been named in the FIR (No 1558/19) registered under section 302 of the PPC and 155-C.

The complaint also stated that the Dolphin Squad committed injustice with his family by taking advantage of the police uniform. “The Dolphins police force has committed terrorism and those responsible should be brought to justice,” said Waris Masih and demanded the authorities to take notice of the gruesome incident.

Hundreds of members of the Christian community including several relatives of the victim took to streets to condemn the killing soon after the incident. The protesters blocked the main Ferozpur Road outside Youhanabad by placing the dead body in the middle of the road and chanted slogans against the police. They were of the view that untrained police were playing havoc with the lives of innocent people instead of protecting the lives and properties of the public.

Some senior officials rushed to the spot as the protest triggered worst traffic mess on the Lahore-Kasur Road. The police managed to disperse the protesters after holding a series of negotiations with them.

When contacted, Lahore DIG (Operations) Ashfaq Ahmad Khan was not available for his comments.

A police spokesman however, claimed that the woman was wounded during the crossfire between police and suspected motorcyclists. “The Dolphin police retaliated in self-defense soon after (unidentified) accused persons opened fire on police,” the spokesman said. The DIG himself handled the law and order situation which followed the tragedy, he said.

The recent killings of innocent citizens have badly exposed the training and capacity of the Dolphin police force. A replica of the Turkish national police, the Dolphin Force was introduced in Lahore a couple of years ago. This ‘unique patrolling force’ was launched to exclusively fight street-crimes in big cities of the province including Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Multan, and Bahawalpur districts. Some Turkish police officers had assisted the Punjab authorities for months in raising this new patrolling unit.

The murder of the Christian woman by police was the third such incident in Lahore since May 2018.

In November, Dolphin force had shot dead a mentally-retarded man in Lahore’s Sabzazar. The knife-wielding man who tried to attack a policeman was killed on the spot.

A 14-year-old boy was killed during an alleged police encounter on Lahore’s Ring Road in May 2018. Relatives of the victim had blocked the road in protest as the mother claimed that police had killed her son who was an innocent child.