KARACHI: A special anti-terrorism court (ATC) indicted on Saturday a suspect, Khalid, who was arrested in the Amal Umer case pertaining to a police encounter and robbery. The court issued notices to the witnesses and investigation officer for November 12 after the suspect pleaded not guilty. According to the police, the suspect was booked in a police encounter and robbery case. The suspect used to commit crimes in a rickshaw. The suspect is booked in two cases registered at the Defence police station.
Amal, a 10-year-old girl, lost her life when a stray bullet hit her during a police encounter on August 13. An accomplice of the suspected robber was also killed in the encounter.
According to media reports, Amal, her younger sister and parents were on their way to a concert when they stopped at a traffic light and Khalid looted the family at gunpoint. After looting Amal’s parents, Khalid went to a car behind them and while they were waiting for the signal to turn green, the parents heard a gunshot – the shot hit their windscreen and hit Amal, who was in the backseat, on the head. The bullet that hit Amal was fired by a policeman attempting to kill the bandit. The family rushed to the nearest hospital – National Medical Centre – where they were told by the doctor on duty to take the child to either Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre or Aga Khan University Hospital.
The hospital, according to the parents, refused to help with calling an ambulance. It also turned down the parents’ request to let them take or show them how to operate the Ambu bag given to Amal to pump oxygen manually while she reached another hospital. The parents had also requested to be accompanied by a staff member for assistance to transfer Amal to another hospital. This too was denied.
Meanwhile, Amal’s mother struggled on the phone with an Aman Foundation representative in an attempt to call an ambulance for her daughter.
According to Amal’s mother, the representative refused to send an ambulance till “arrangements were made” at Jinnah hospital. Despite the child’s mother repeating that her daughter had been shot in the head and needed immediate medical help, the Aman Foundation representative told her “not to worry” and refused to provide an ambulance till the due procedure was completed.
By the time an ambulance was finally arranged, it was too late. Amal had already passed away for want of emergency medical aid.
It was later revealed that the bullet that took Amal’s life was fired from a police weapon. The incident has raised two serious concerns – the failure of a well-known private hospital to provide emergency medical aid as required by the law and irresponsible firing by the police.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan took suo motu notice and fixed the matter for hearing on September 25.
Baldia factory fire
An ATC recorded the statements of three witnesses in the Baldia factory fire case and summoned more witnesses on the next hearing. MQM-P leader Rauf Siddiqui and others appeared in court. The jail officials also presented MQM-P worker and suspect Rehman Bhola and Zubair Charya in court. Three more witnesses recorded their statements.
The witnesses said that they learnt about the fire from media and when they reached the spot, fire brigade and police vehicles were present while those burnt in the fire were being taken out. The police handed over the bodies after a few days and majority of those who died in the fire could not be identified. The court summoned other witnesses on November 10 and postponed the hearing. Statements of more than 300 witnesses have been recorded in the case while the prosecution has included 720 witnesses in the case.
A special ATC expressed its displeasure over the absence of witnesses in the murder case of Karachi Electric Supply Corporation’s former chief Shahid Hamid and directed to ensure their presence on the next hearing. The case was heard at the anti-terrorism court in Karachi Central Jail. Accused Minhaj Qazi was brought before the court. The hearing of the case was adjourned till November 8. The court issued permanent warrants of arrest for three fugitives who include MQM-P leader Nadeem Nusrat, and Sohail Zaidi. According to police, Qazi was the former security in-charge at Nine-Zero. While another accused in the case, Saulat Mirza, has been hanged.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2018.