LAHORE: A murder case has been registered against the Kot Lakhpat station house officer (SHO) and 13 other police officials on the charge of torturing an elderly man to death.
The case was registered after a media outcry that put pressure on senior officials to intervene, but no arrests have been made so far.
Haji Zakaria, the complainant in the case, said the police had raided the house of his brother, 70-year-old Abdul Razzaq, in Kot Lakhpat on the night of October 11. The next day, they dumped him, unconscious, outside the house, he said. Razzaq died of his injuries in hospital on Sunday.
Zakaria said that the policemen had been harassing the family for several months, trying to stop them from lodging a complaint in a separate case. He said the police had registered four made-up cases against family members. The family had moved a petition against the SHO for not registering the case.
Zakaria said that on the night of October 11, the SHO led a large police contingent in a raid on their house. “They broke down the doors and tortured the women in the house. My brother asked them why they were entering without permission. They just took him away and then dumped him outside the next morning, unconscious,” he said.
He said Assistant Sub Inspector Asad Ali had followed them to General Hospital, where Razzaq was admitted. Doctors and nurses caught the officer trying to get the unconscious Razzaq’s thumb print on some documents, he said, and reported it to the police, but they took no action.
Zakaria said the police later arrested Babar, his (the complainant’s) son-in-law, and produced him before the court identifying him as Razzaq. The court released him on bail.
He said that on October 13 a court ordered a medico-legal report of Razzaq to establish whether he had been tortured.
Zakaria said ASI Ali had contacted him and offered the family Rs400,000 and the cancellation of all FIRs registered against them in return for them not pursuing the case. He said they had been scheduled to meet at 4pm on Sunday but he cancelled the meeting after his brother passed away, and now they had decided to pursue justice in the courts.
He said the false cases against the family included one each against Razzaq’s sons Javed and Nazeer alleging possession of over a kilo of hashish, and two against Razzaq for alleged possession of eight bottles of alcohol, and an illegal weapon case. He said the cases were baseless and registered simply to give the cops a legal cover to pick up family members and harass them, as they had with Razzaq.
Model Town Superintendent of Police (Operation) Malik Awais denied that Razzaq was tortured in custody. He said the magistrate had released Razzaq on bail and he had then checked into hospital himself. Asked when the accused police officials would be arrested, he said they would be arrested once evidence of their guilt was collected.
Capital City Police Officer Ahmad Raza Tahir suspended the SHO, the ASI and constables Muhammad Kamran, Muhammad Shahid, Muhammad Yasin and Naveed Rafique. He also ordered an inquiry into the man’s death.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2011.