LAHORE - Police investigators have launched the probe to ascertain whether a 42-year-old fanatic shot dead his wife and three children before shooting himself at his house in Model Town on Wednesday or the entire family was murdered in a cold blood by someone else.

Basharat Ali, his wife Faiza, 35, and three children including eight-year-old Abdullah, six-year-old Abdul Hadi, and five-year-old daughter Hiba were lying dead in a pool of blood inside a room as the investigators burst into the house.

The police on Thursday handed over the bodies of five persons of the same family to the heirs as they refused to initiate legal action against anybody. Earlier, doctors performed postmortem and sent a few samples to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency for further investigations.

The family believes that Basharat shot dead his wife and three children, all under the age of eight, before shooting himself in the head at his house located in the limits of Liaqatabad police. No case has been registered against anybody yet although the police have reported the killings in one of the official registers.

The forensic experts seized a pistol and a few bullets from the crime scene on Wednesday afternoon and apparently it seemed that the man killed his kids and wife before taking his own life with that weapon.

“The report of chemical examiner will also help establish whether the victims were given some sedative before shooting. We are waiting for the report and it will take a couple of weeks, as usual,” a police officer said, requesting anonymity. The officer also said that the circumstantial evidences collected from the crime scene are not sufficient to establish that a man killed his partner and three children and then committed suicide.

The forensic experts also collected blood samples and fingerprints from the crime scene. The investigators are yet to ascertain the motives behind the gruesome killings, which triggered panic in the posh locality on Wednesday afternoon.

All the victims were shot in the head. Later, the man also shot himself in the forehead.

Police rushed to the spot soon after Shahzad, a nephew of Basharat, contacted the emergency helpline (Resce-15) and informed the police that his uncle was not picking up his mobile phone. As the cops reached outside the house (No 448-A) in Q-Block Model Town , the caller also told them that nobody was responding to the doorbells. The investigators had to break open the door to move inside.

On the other hand, the in-laws of the deceased informed the police that Basharat had a property dispute with his brother Liaqat.

The bedroom was also locked from inside. The cops found five dead bodies lying in a pool of blood as they broke open the door and entered the room. The police investigators also observed that the ceiling fan, inside the room, was switched off.

According to locals, Basharat Ali had been living on the ground floor along with his wife and three children while his elder brother Liaqat Ali was residing on the upper portion of a five-Marla house for the last several years.

Liaqat, said to be an Accountant at the Lahore Wapda House, was present in his office when the incident took place. His son, advocate Shahzad, disclosed the happening to the police. However, the other family members of Liaqat were sleeping on the upper portion, according to a family member.

“We are unable to understand why the family members (who were sleeping on the upper portion) could not listen to the gun-shots. The killer fired more than five shots,” a police investigator questioned.

A senior investigator said that they were probing into the incident keeping in view various aspects of the happening. “We can’t say anything firmly as this stage. We are investigating the case very seriously and scientifically,” he added.

The police were alerted about the incident at about 03:00pm. Police believe the killings took place at least two to three hours before they were contacted by a nephew of the deceased.