HYDERABAD: In the case of an alleged staged encounter by the Hyderabad police in which a man died, the Sindh High Court (SHC) stayed on Thursday the district court's order for lodging an FIR against 26 policemen. An additional district and sessions judge had on June 13 ordered the Hatri DSP to register an FIR on the complaint of Aftab Chang, brother of Wali Muhammad Chang who was shot dead in the encounter on June 9.
Central Investigation Agency in-charge DSP Aslam Langah and three SHOs - Mumtaz Brohi, Rana Pervaiz and Muhammad Ali Korai - were among the 26 policemen who were to be booked as per the orders of the district court. However, the SHC barred DSP Hatri from lodging the FIR until the next hearing, which is fixed on July 4 in the petition filed by Langah, Brohi, Pervaiz, Korai and two other sub-inspectors.
"In the meanwhile, the concerned DSP may record the statement of respondent number six [Aftab], however, no formal FIR should be registered against the petitioners till the next date of the hearing," the order read. The court also directed Hyderabad DIG Khadim Hussain Rind to conduct an official inquiry into the matter and submit his report in court within two weeks.
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The petitioners' counsel, Advocate Riazat Ali Sahar, apprised the SHC that the deceased, Wali, was a proclaimed offender and wanted in criminal cases. Narrating the police version of the encounter, he claimed that Wali opened fire on the police while trying to escape. But, he sustained gunshot wounds in the exchange of fire and succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
Sahar maintained that Wali's brother was neither an eye-witness of the event nor had he stated who informed him that the encounter was fake. "If such an FIR is registered, it will cause serious prejudice to the careers of the petitioners who are innocent and there is no inquiry pending against them," the counsel contended.
In reaction to the encounter, Chang's family and relatives had blocked the Hyderabad Bypass, which connects Karachi to the upcountry through the National Highway, in protest for over six hours. They dispersed after the police assured them that action will be taken against the policemen.
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The family claimed that Chang was detained from his village in rural Hyderabad and that he was later shot dead in a fake encounter. They also accused the police of refusing to hand over the dead body and filed an application in the court after which a judicial magistrate accompanied the family to recover the body from Liaquat University Hospital.OurOu