The outcry over the unfortunate Osama Satti episode in Islamabad had not even died out before the trigger-happy policemen have done it again. This time in the textile city of Faisalabad. A car driver was punished fatally for not pulling over — his crime not even warranting a slap on the knuckles, let alone a straight gunshot into his abdomen. Mohammad Waqas Ahmed was driving his car in the Dijikot area of the city with three fellow travellers on Wednesday night when the incident that narrates the story of police brutality happened.
The Faisalabad CPO repeats the same old story in the defence of the erring cops. According to his statement, ASI Shahid Manzoor of the Punjab Highway Patrol tried to stop a black car driving on the Samundari Road on the night of January 20. When the car did not stop, the highway police officials chased it and fired shots at it; and when the car reached Pharala village, the people inside disembarked and started running. “It was found out the driver of the car, Mohammad Waqas Ahmed, was injured as a result of the firing. He was immediately shifted to hospital where he [died],” is how the CPO sums up the story, in what is a typical statement that comes in the wake of the ‘encounters’ that the police carry out so very routinely.
The police, however, did acknowledge that there was “no justification of firing at unarmed innocent people”. The officials involved in the incident have been arrested and a case has been registered against them. The contents of the FIR of the incident reveals that the driver actually stopped the car on being signaled, but “unfortunately the tyre of the car touched the foot of the ASI upon which he got angry and he started abusing and threatening [the car inmates].” This might have forced the driver to speed away the car. The tragic incident warrants an impartial inquiry and exemplary punishment to the culprits.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2021.
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