After an inspector did not appear in court on Thursday for the third consecutive hearing, the Lahore High Court censured the Police Department.
Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi said that the department was notorious and its performance did not help the public’s view about the police.
The judge made the remarks in a petition that seeks the cancellation of bail earlier granted to three policemen, allegedly involved in a man’s death while he was in police custody.
The court summoned Inspector Maqsood Gujjar after the petitioner said that he was the one responsible for her son’s death killing. Gujjar, despite being summoned thrice, did not appear before the court.
SSP (Operations) Sajjad Hassan Manj was present in court.
The judge said that the court could send all police officials present in court behind bars “if they think that courts are toothless”.
The SSP apologised and said that it was Gujjar who had been negligent. To this, the judge remarked, “It is not mere negligence. It is a criminal act and he [Gujjar] will have to face the music.”
Justice Naqvi then directed the SSP to produce Gujjar in court on Friday (today). “A young man was butchered in police custody and no official in the department is even ready to probe the matter,” noted the judge.
During Thursday’s proceeding, the petitioner’s counsel submitted that Inspector Gujjar had a history of “torturing citizens” in custody. He told the court that three other FIRs were registered against him. SSP Manj said that the charges against the official had not be proven in any of the three cases. Justice Naqvi commented that he was not surprised, “The police will exonerate him even if there were a hundred cases [against him].”
The court was also apprised about the headway made in the case by a DSP.
At the last hearing, the court was told that the policemen, nominated in the FIR, had been declared guilty in a departmental as well as a judicial inquiry.
New Anarkali police registered a murder case on May 11, 2011 against Sub-Inspector Alim Khan, Sub-Inspector Nasir Shah, ASI Akbar Khan, and Constables Azhar, Safdar, Jaffar, and Khizar. According to the FIR they had taken Naveed Ilyas alias Sunny into custody and tortured him to death. Dilshad Begum, Ilyas’s mother, alleges that Inspector Maqsood Gujjar had falsely implicated her son to settle an old score.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2012.