The 18-year-old milkman died after being brutally tortured. Malik Waqar Ahmed was admitted to the Holy Family Hospital in critical condition on April 20 after allegedly being dumped on the road by his employers with the help of two police constables.
Nine days later on Sunday, despite being shifted to District Headquarter (DHQ) Hospital for better treatment, he died of his wounds. Following his death, his family took out a procession outside the hospital against the Pirwadhai police, where the two constables they hold accountable for Waqar’s death — Muhammad Noman and Naseer Niazi — are deputed.
They alleged Waqar was brutally tortured by his employers and policemen for seven days in a house in Khyaban-e-Sir Syed.
“[Waqar] was my eldest son and was a helping hand for me. He was working at the cattle pens of Malik Shafiq and his brother, Zia alias Shah. My son used to clean the farm, feed the cattle and sell milk,” said Nisar Ahmed, father of the deceased.
Waqar had not been paid his salary for eight months. “On April 9, he asked them for wages and threatened to start deducting his salary from the money generated by selling milk.” The result? An accusation that the young milkman stole Rs190,000. “My wife asked them to complain to the police if our son had committed theft,” the aggrieved father told The Express Tribune after Waqar’s funeral.
“Later, on April 13, Zia, Shafiq, and Shafiq’s brother-in-law Constable Noman took my son to somewhere in Khyaban-e-Sir Syed and began torturing him.
“We contacted the area police and learnt that no FIR had been registered against our son. We were worried about Waqar’s whereabouts and contacted DSP Taimur Khan for help,” said Nisar.
“After we spoke with the DSP, Shafiq contacted us saying Waqar was with them and that they would hand him back and drop the theft charges only after we withdrew our complaint,” the father added.
On April 20, a jirga was convened to push for a compromise, but when the family saw Waqar’s condition, they refused to settle the issue.
The police registered a case against the policemen and others for abduction and torture after Waqar said he was hanged upside down, had red chilli powder thrown into his eyes, nails pulled out, and beaten. The torturers asked him to confess to the theft, the father said.
Rawal Town SP Chaudhry Muhammad Hanif said they had added murder charges to the case and were trying to arrest the suspects.
City Police Officer (CPO) Azhar Hameed Khokhar said he had suspended Pirwadhai SHO Malik Tahir for not arresting the accused after the initial case was registered on April 20.
“Had the SHO arrested the accused earlier, it would have been easy to begin legal proceedings against them,” the CPO said, clarifying that Waqar was not tortured in a police station but at a private location. However, he was quick to add that strict departmental action would be taken against the constables, who already stand suspended.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2012.