SARGODHA – The brutal killing of 20 innocent people at the hands of a shrine custodians have left the families heartbroken, leading to condemnations pouring from all over the country.

“The 50-year-old shrine custodian, Abdul Waheed, has confessed to have killed these people because he feared that they had come to kill him,” Sargodha police chief Zulfiqar Hameed told the media on Sunday afternoon.

During the initial investigation, the custodian of Ali Mohammad Shrine, who along with his seven aides, planned and killed 20 people, told the police that he had killed those people because they had poisoned his spiritual leader Ali Muhammad to death some two years ago.

“The suspect appears to be paranoid and psychotic, or it could be related to rivalry for the control of shrine,” Hameed said, adding that the investigation was continuing.

The police have arrested the custodian along with his four close associates and shifted them to an undisclosed location.

Waheed and his accomplices, wielding batons and knives, mercilessly killed the intoxicated victims after stripping them off.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif took immediate notice of the incident and formed an inquiry committee comprising regional police officers Sunday morning.

The chief minister expressed his condolences over the incident and ordered best possible medical treatment to be given to the injured.

CM Shehbaz has summoned a report on the incident from IG Police within 24 hours. The chief minister has also ordered Punjab Auqaf and Religious Affairs Minister Zaeem Qadri to visit the site of the incident.

The chief minister also announced an amount of Rs500,000 for families of each of the deceased person, while Rs200,000 has been announced for each injured person.