Guard shoots 11-year-old to death, ‘mistaking’ him for a ghost

A few days ago, 11-year-old Ali Hassan Shaikh asked his father to buy him a scary mask. His father agreed and the young boy was seen running around his neighbourhood in Bahadurabad, donning the black-and-white mask, scaring people for fun.

The harmless playtime ended in tragedy on Sunday night when a private security guard shot him dead with a rifle. Ali was cycling inside Nawab Bahadur Yar Jung Housing Society with the mask on when the accused guard ‘mistook him for a ghost’ and opened fire.

Ali’s father, Shaukat Shaikh, later insisted he had no idea where his son got the mask. “We do not want anything from the government or anyone else,” he said. “We just want justice as this man [security guard] killed my innocent son without any reason.”

Ali was the third among four siblings. He lived with his family at one of the bungalows in the society where his father has been working as domestic help for over 12 years. He used to study at the Islamic educational institution — Iqra — but had recently quit. His father had planned to move him to a better school of Ali’s own choice.

The family was at the bungalow when the incident took place. “Someone knocked on our door and I thought Ali had come back from playing,” the father recalled. “But then he shouted that Ali has been killed. I ran out of the bungalow and found my son lying in a pool of blood.”

The boy’s relatives immediately took the body to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for an autopsy where the doctors performed his post-mortem. “He was not shot at point-blank range but was shot from a distance, with multiple pellets of the shotgun hitting the upper part of his neck from behind, killing him on the spot,” JPMC’s joint executive director Dr Seemin Jamali told The Express Tribune.

Following the incident, the Ferozabad police arrested the security guard, Ghulam Nabi, working at a private security company. Defending his action at the police lock-up, Ghulam said, “He [Ali] scared me. Ghosts and evil spirits are very common in our village. I thought a ghost had attacked me. I became scared and accidently shot him. I had no idea what I was doing.”

The police have, however, registered a murder case against the guard. “The post-mortem report suggests the guard acted deliberately as he shot the boy from the back at a distance,” inquiry officer Sohail Khan told The Express Tribune. “Everyone in the society knew what the boy was up to [running around in a mask] for several days, so how is it possible that the guard thought he was a ghost?” the officer claimed, saying the accused has been handed over to the investigations wing for further interrogation as he keeps changing his statements.

Following the incident, Ali’s relatives held a demonstration at the society and called for strict action against the security guard.

Source: The Express Tribune