‘Missing’ man recounts tales of torture in police custody

Published: June 17, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Umar Yar, who had been reported as missing from the capital for 11 months, burst into tears as he was presented in the Islamabad High Court on Friday morning.

Yar told the court that he had been picked up by the authorities around a year ago, was severely beaten up and kept in a small dark room. Sometimes, Yar said, he would be beaten up to such an extent that his shirt would be soaked with blood and he would wish that he died.

The details emerged after Multan’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) produced him before Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani in a “missing persons” case on Friday.

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Watching his shrivelled frame, his family sitting in the courtroom also could not hold back their tears.

Yar’s counsel said that his client, brother and a servant were picked up from Islamabad’s fruit and vegetable market and were then taken to Bahawalnagar where the CTD had booked them for their alleged links with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The counsel said that according to the FIR, four hand grenades, two and a half kilogrammes of explosives and two detonators were allegedly seized from their possession.

A senior official of CTD, who along with an investigation officer had appeared before the court on Friday, claimed that Yar has links with the TTP and following an investigation, he had been sent to jail.

To this, Justice Kayani asked the investigation officer how long he took to establish if the suspect had links with banned outfit.  The officer replied that he had completed his investigation in only a day. The reply, though, invited the ire of the court. Justice Kayani went on to ask a series of questions from the investigators, adding that it was apparently clear what had happened in the case.

At a loss for answers, the police investigator only mustered that no inscription was found on the grenades allegedly recovered from Yar.

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“Why shouldn’t one think that his [Yar’s] brother is also your custody,” Justice Kayani inquired from the officials, adding that while investigators were free to probe someone for suspected links with terrorists, they should refrain from registering bogus cases.

The court remarked that the man had been missing for the last year but had suddenly turned up in police custody after a day’s investigation into the case. After 10 minutes, the CTD officials appeared before the court and said that they cannot say anything without consulting their superiors.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2017.

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