ISLAMABAD: The capital police on Monday evening confessed to taking into custody a young man who the family says has been missing since August 14.
The police called a press conference late in the evening to announce arrest of a ‘gang’ including the missing man, after the victim’s family and relatives held a protest outside the press club and the police offices earlier in the day.
Sajid Mehmood, who works as a private security guard, says a police team comprising three plainclothes men and a lady constable raided his home in Alipur in the wee hours of August 14. “We were sleeping when there was a knock at our door at around 4am. My son Usama Sajid went to see. They said they were policemen. They picked my son Usama and took him away saying they needed to interrogate him,” Mehmood told The Express Tribune.
When the family members approached the Khanna police station, the cops there denied having custody of any such person. “Sometimes they would deny having arrested him but sometimes the officials said my son was allegedly involved in street crimes. The whole neighbourhood is a witness that Usama was picked up on August 14.” The father claims that on August 21 he also paid Rs40,000 to the police through a middle man in order to get his son released, since some others arrested by the police in connection with street crime were reportedly released after payment of bribe.
The family members and relatives held a protest demonstration against the police at the press club on Monday but they were soon called by the police officers to Koral police station where they were assured that their son would return home by the evening. After the family’s protest, DSP Shahzad Town circle Ashraf Shah told The Express Tribune that Usama was not in police custody.
However, the police hurriedly called a press conference late Monday evening where SP Rural Zone Liaqat Hayat Niazi announced that Khanna police had busted a dangerous four-member gang after a police encounter. The gang also included Usama. The SP said the gang was involved in countless incidents of armed robberies which included two murders in areas of Khanna, Koral, Shahzad Town and Sadiqabad police stations. “The four robbers were arrested red-handed at 10:30am today,” the SP said, and rubbished the claims by the family that the suspects had been in police custody for days.
“They were involved in countless armed muggings, house robberies, and bike snatching. They also confessed to two murders during robbery,” Niazi told the reporters. He said two more members of the gang were still at large. To a question about alleged private torture cells being run by the police where suspects are kept in custody without police formally showing their arrest, the SP said these claims were tactics by the criminals to pressurise the police. “There is no truth in these claims. We have arrested these four men today,” he maintained.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2018.