Conflict & Justice

Pakistan orders investigation into killing caught on video of teen by paramilitaries (VIDEO)

Pakistan's prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, on Thursday ordered an investigation into the shooting and killing of a young man by the country's paramilitary Rangers that was caught on video, according to BBC News.

The video footage shows the man, 18-year-old Sarfaraz Shah, begging for his life before being shot by the paramilitaries in Karachi.

The shooting, which was broadcast on national television, has led to protests and has been condemned by political parties and human rights groups, according to the New York Times. It was the second time in recent weeks that a video has shown paramilitary troops using extreme force against civilians. Last month, five unarmed Chechens were shot and killed by the security forces in Quetta, Pakistan.

A spokesman for the Rangers said its forces had detained Shah because he was attempting to rob people in a park in a park in Karachi on Wednesday, a claim that Shah's family has denied. The spokesman also said that Shah was shot because he was trying to grab a Ranger's rifle, according to the Associated Press, which described the video footage:

The video of the incident ... showed a man in civilian clothes wrestling a gun out of Shah's hand and kicking him toward a group of Rangers. Shah said it was just a toy gun as he pleaded with a Ranger who pointed his rifle at his neck.

"I am helpless," he said to the officers.

The men surrounded Shah and pointed their guns at him. He moved toward one of the Rangers with his arms outstretched, saying "No, no, don't kill me brother." He was pushed back and shot twice in the hand and leg.

Shah fell to the ground screaming and begged the Rangers to take him to a hospital, a longer video posted on YouTube showed. They stood by as he writhed in an expanding pool of his own blood.

The paramilitaries stay close to the injured man but do nothing to help him, BBC News said. He died from his injuries.

A government official said five of the troops had been arrested, the New York Times said. Shah was buried on Thursday in Karachi, accompanied by protests from family members.

The Pakistani security forces have repeatedly been accused of misusing their power, and Shah's killing is sure to feed complaints that Pakistan’s security forces are too aggressive and sometimes bypass the judicial system. The New York Times reported:

Pakistani Rangers, the group involved in Shah’s death, are controlled by the Interior Ministry. Rehman Malik, the country’s interior minister, announced the arrests in the case on Thursday evening, but he also accused Mr. Shah of being part of a gang involved in robberies, according to the local news media.

Ali Dayan Hasan, the Pakistani researcher for Human Rights Watch, said the killing "provides chilling evidence of the abusive, trigger-happy practices of Pakistan's military, paramilitary and civilian agencies," according to BBC News.