CCTV blind spots around Pindi’s courts pose security risk

Death sentence of murder convict overturned after police fail to present witnesses


Our Correspondents March 07, 2019
Death sentence of murder convict overturned after police fail to present witnesses. PHOTO: FILE

RAWALPINDI: Security services at the district courts in Rawalpindi are ‘partially blind’ after it was discovered that as many as 24 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at the courts are inoperable, robbing security officials of monitoring capabilities where these cameras are installed.

As many as 77 CCTV cameras are installed at the district courts. However, 24 of these are inoperable while seven cameras are unable to record what they see while their picture quality has been termed as below par.

Even though the security officials have directly asked the district administration to look into the matter, little has been done to either repair the broken cameras or replace those with poor picture quality.

The District Bar Association Secretary-General Shehzad Mir said that they intend to hold a meeting with the deputy commissioner soon. He added that they will be sure to raise this issue during their meeting and ask the DC to replace broken cameras with new ones or repair old ones because the security of the court was in the best interest of the public.

Death sentence overturned

Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench on Wednesday overturned a death sentence awarded to a man previously convicted of murder. The LHC Rawalpindi bench, comprising Justice Tariq Abbasi and Justice Shahid Mehmood Abbasi, acquitted Shah Nawaz after the Saddar Police of Chakwal failed to present any witnesses against him before the court.

The counsel for the suspect, Raja Ghaneem Abir, said that the police had arrested the suspect for allegedly killing Ulfat Hussain and Tasleem Akhtar in April 2010. The lower court, he contended, had handed Nawaz the death sentence on invalid arguments and assumptions.

Fake testimony

The bench also set free a suspect who had been arrested in a drug case due to false testimonies.

The counsel for the petitioner, Shanzaib Khan, contended that the police had arrested the applicant from his house and detained him in the police lockup. Later, the police said they had recovered 1,500 grammes of drugs from him. However, Shanzaib contended that the drugs were planted and fake witnesses were presented before the court to justify the arrest.

He claimed that there was no eye-witness of the incident while the suspect did not have a history of criminal offence.

Assault in jail

A case of assault has surfaced in the Adyala jail where Raja Fawad, detained on suspicion of committing murder, was allegedly assaulted by the Chief Checker of Wards.

An additional district and sessions judge subsequently ordered to form a medical board to examine the extent and cause of wounds on the suspect’s body.

In his application to the court, Fawad contended that he had been badly beaten in his barracks which left visible wounds all over his body. A jail official, who requested anonymity, told Daily Express that an internal inquiry by the jail administration probing into a suspected illicit drug business inside the prison had found that Fawad was allegedly supplying drugs amongst inmates.  Based on this information, the jail administration locked the suspect up in a special cell where he was allegedly assaulted.  The initial investigations had further pointed to Chief Checker of Wards Azmat Ali Shah as responsible for giving Fawad his wounds. Shah was subsequently suspended for three months and issued a show cause notice with Adiala Jail Deputy Superintend Judicial Officer appointed as the inquiry officer to probe into the matter.

In a first, CCTV cameras installed in classrooms of Peshawar govt school

Man assaulted by money lenders

A man was apparently assaulted by loan sharks.

Muhammad Zafran, a resident of Ashraf Colony, told the police that he had borrowed some money from Islamauddin and Raja Saqib and had promised to return the money in April. However, the suspects forced to return the money in February.

When he refused, Islamuddin and Saqib, along with their accomplices allegedly kidnapped Zafran late last month and locked him up in a room and beat him repeatedly.

Saddar police have registered a kidnapping case against the suspects but have yet to make any arrests. Meanwhile, the victim underwent a medical examination at the Benazir Bhutto Hospital. 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2019.

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