LAHORE: Contradicting Faisalabad police chief’s claim that they are unaware of the main culprit in her gang-rape, survivor S has told the Supreme Court that the police is favouring him as he is a friend of the Punjab law minister.
“Yes, this is the main reason owing to which police are not arresting accused Asghar Ali,” said Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, who is heading the two-member bench that was hearing the case on Thursday.
“You (police chief) have not raided the 27th place where the accused may be found,” Justice Khawaja responded, when officer Bilal Siddique Kamyana claimed before the court that they had raided 26 places in pursuit of the accused.
Kamyana, who had appeared on short notice by the court, attempted to convince a sceptical court that Ali was not being favoured by police and will be arrested soon.
Arguing her case in person, S also informed the court that police had detained Mushtaq, the sole witness of the rape, and tortured him for three days. She claimed that the police had also raided the house of Muhammad Nadim, who had witnessed an alleged murder attempt on S.
S added that after she was bailed out by Lahore High Court’s Justice Mazhar Iqbal Sidhu seven months ago, accused Ali and Karam Hussain had tried to kill her by open fire at her which wounded her shoulder. The Batala Colony Police Station had registered a case against both accused under Section 324 of the Pakistan Penal Code for the attack.
“What is this Mr CPO? Why are your subordinates harassing the witness? She lost her respect in society and now police is trying to create hurdles in justice. Why does police want to pressurise her? Who are behind this and trying to let the case down,” Justice Amir Hani Muslim asked the CPO, who had no reply.
“S and her heirs are not your employees. You have to go record their statements,” Justice Khawaja remarked and directed the CPO to personally record their complaints.
The CPO told the court that the police official involved in harassment had been punished and his salaray for two months was deducted.
“Police detectives have damaged the case by poor investigations and you (CPO) are saying that their salaries have been deducted. Is that enough punishment?” the court asked.
At this, the father’s CPO and senior lawyer Siddique Kamyana, who was present in the courtroom, came forward rescue his son by telling the bench that his son Bilal held an LLM degree and was an honest police officer.
“We are not here to listen to stories about your honesty but to serve the masses who pay taxes just for our salaries,” Justice Khawaja admonished Siddique and asked him to sit down as he was not involved in the case.
Kamyana told the court that he was unaware of Mushtaq’s detention. “Is this your honesty and performance that you are unaware about the illegalities of your subordinates?” Justice Khawaja asked him.
“How dare your DSP and other police officials harass a witness of the case even as the apex court is conducting its suo motu hearing,” Justice Hani remarked and warned the CPO that if another harassment incident occurred, the court will not tolerate it.
The CPO then assured the court that action will be taken against police officers involved in harassing witnesses.
The bench concluded that the court will protect every oppressed citizen who knocks at its doors for justice.
It sent co-accused Tariq Ali and Karam Hussain, who the police had arrested and produced before the court on its orders, into police custody until a final decision of the court. The apex court also ordered the CPO to arrest and produce Ali till March 15, the next date of hearing.