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Pakistan probes video of shooting

Pakistani authorities are investigating a video that appeared to show paramilitary forces shooting an unarmed teenager who later died in the southern port city of Karachi, officials said as hundreds of angry mourners attended his funeral.

Video aired repeatedly on TV and a version posted online showed the bleeding youth begging for help. It sparked another controversy for the Pakistani military, which is still reeling from criticism following the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden last month.

Pakistani security forces are often accused of using excessive force and abusing ordinary citizens.

A spokesman for the paramilitary Rangers said its forces detained 18-year-old Afsar Shah because he was attempting to rob people in a park in Karachi. He said a gun was recovered from Shah and he was shot because he was reaching for a Ranger's rifle.

Interior minister Rehman Malik said Shah pulled the gun on two women before a security guard captured him and handed him to the Rangers. He said two Rangers have been detained and although Shah was "a criminal", the government would "investigate whatever illegal act was committed against him".

However, video of the incident aired by local Awaz TV seemed to contradict the report. It showed a man in civilian clothes wrestling what appeared to be a gun out of Shah's hand and kicking him toward a group of Rangers. Shah said it was a toy gun as he pleaded with a Ranger who pointed a rifle at his neck.

The men surrounded Shah and pointed their guns at him. He moved toward one Ranger 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 version of the video posted on YouTube showed. They stood by as he writhed in an expanding pool of his own blood.

Shah was eventually taken to a local hospital but died shortly afterwards from "profuse bleeding", said Seemi Jamali, director at the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical College.

Hundreds of people attended Shah's funeral and denounced the Rangers. Some shouted "Rangers, murderers!" and others carried signs that said "Down with the Karachi Rangers".


From Belfast Telegraph