Pakistani paramilitary accused of killing boxer

Islamabad, June 30 (IANS) The Pakistan Rangers paramilitary force has been accused of killing an international boxer in a staged shooting incident, media reports said Sunday.

The boxer, identified only as Saqib, was an international boxer and represented Pakistan in several tournaments held abroad, according to the Dawn and News International dailies.

The Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) Karachi chapter termed the incident the beginning of a new series of "extrajudicial killings" at the hands of the paramilitary force.

Saqib was killed in an operation launched by the Rangers in Nayabad area of Lyari, following the killing of three people Friday, the News International said.

"Saqib was an international boxer who earned a lot of respect for his country," Karachi PPP president Abdul Qadir Patel said Saturday.

"He was detained by Rangers personnel near his house in Lyari's Khadda neighbourhood on Friday for a while before being blindfolded and shot dead," Patel said.

He said the fact that Saqib still had a blindfold when his body was found near his house "clearly shows that he was innocent and had nothing to do with any criminal activities".

"We don't blame the entire force (Rangers) behind deliberately creating unrest in the city but there is a section in it, which has this agenda," the politician said.

He said it was not the first such incident.

Patel said that three years ago an international footballer, Usman Baba, was killed in the same manner.

Saqib's father Mohammad Iqbal denied media reports that said his son was associated with gangs.

"He was a very good athlete who had nothing to do with criminal activities. He loved to fight in a ring and never exchanged blows outside," Iqbal told the Dawn.

He displayed a dozen medals that Saqib had won during his short career.

Ali Nawaz, Iqbal's younger brother, had played for Bury Football Club of Greater Manchester in the English football league in the 1970s.

"We are a family of footballers, boxers and cyclists who have always striven for our country," Nawaz told the Dawn.

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