LAHORE: Another incident of police brutality has been reported in the city. An 18-year-old youth was killed due to the alleged torture of a police team during a raid in Johar Town on Saturday night.
However, police spokesperson maintained that the victim had died after his feet slipped and his head hit a stone. The victim was identified as Muhammad Ashfaq.
The father of the victim, Ghulam Rasool, in an FIR said that his son had returned from work and went to see his uncle Muhammad Hanif at Ayub Chowk. Suddenly, four policemen including two unidentified persons barged into the house and started torturing his son, his uncle and his brother with gunstock, bricks and fists. They pledged mercy before the police team. However, they did not stop despite the deteriorating condition of his son. He lost his breath, fell on the ground and died. The father also alleged that police stole money and mobile phone of his son.
The complainant nominated ASI Muhammad Younis, Constable Yasir, Constable Ansar and driver Arshad.
The family after the incident also staged a protest against the police. SP Sadar Ahsan Saifullah also visited the spot.
On the issue stated Lahore Police spokesperson the police team had conducted a raid on the information of gambling near huts beside Emporium Mall. The suspected gamblers offered resistance.
A stampede also occurred during resistance and the victim’s head hit a stone and ultimately he died.
Police had registered a case against the officials and investigations started into the matter.
Punjab Police is under the spotlight for the last few weeks after successive incidents of police brutality had come to surface.
The issue became a matter of debate at the national level after the videos of torture on Salahuddin, the notorious ATM thief, went viral after his death on social media.
As far the series of police brutalities is concerned, last week, a team of Dolphin Squad was spotted torturing and misbehaving with youth on Cavalry Bridge in the footage.
A few days earlier the incident, an elderly woman outside the Central Police Office (CPO) was misbehaved by an ASI. A youth was tortured to death in police custody North Cantonment. Amjad, recovered from an illegal detention centre in Gujjarpura, had died in hospital due to alleged torture. A suspected robber had died in the lock-up of Lower Mall police station after he had attempted suicide during a court appearance.
Despite several incidents of custodial deaths and subsequent tall claims of the police top brass on taking ‘notice of incident’, there has been no visible improvement in the behaviour of policemen.
On September 17, the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) report confirmed that torture was the cause of the custodial death of suspected ATM thief Salahuddin.
The medical board, which conducted the postmortem of the victim, unanimously agreed that the torture marks on Salahuddin’s body were “ante-mortem (occurring before death) in nature and caused by blunt means — confirming ante-mortem physical violence”.
Their findings added that “Possibility of death due to combined effects of ante-mortem injuries, mentioned in the postmortem report, inhalation abuse, restrictive lung disease and neurogenic shock cannot be ruled out”.
Salahuddin gained infamy after footage emerged, showing him making faces at CCTV cameras of a Faisalabad ATM which he just robbed. He was handed over to police after the public caught him in the botched attempt to rob another bank teller machine. The victim was subjected to severe and brutal torture which led to his death in police custody.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2019.