An under-trial accused charged with killing a senior lawyer in Islamabad escaped from police custody in District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital early on Sunday and flew to Dubai within hours.
Ruhullah and three others were being tried for the murder of former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) attorney general Sardar Khan. He had been taken to DHQ hospital for treatment of hepatitis, from where he managed to escape after dodging three Islamabad police officials immediate after Sehri, raising questions over the laxity of police.
The Gunjmandi police registered an FIR on the complaint of the deputy superintendent of Islamabad police (DSP) and arrested Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Ali Syed, constables Tahir Saeed and Muhammad Yaqub, who were remanded for one day.
The accused was brought to DHQ hospital on July 16 after complaining of liver problem while in jail and was being guarded by three policemen at any given time, an assistant sub inspector and two constables, working on three shifts of eight hours each.
At about 2am, Ruhullah asked the police men to unlock his handcuffs so he could offer Tahajud prayers while they had breakfast (Sehri) outside the room, said a senior police officer privy to the investigations.
Quoting one of the arrested policemen, the senior officer said that while the officials on guard duty were eating outside, the accused locked the door for his room and snuck out the window.
The accused had been deported from Dubai on May 16, 2011 after being charged with Sardar Khan’s murder in Islamabad in February 2010.
While the escape of accused involved in heinous crimes is not uncommon, one factor that stands out in this incident is that under the rules, Ruhullah should have been treated at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad as he was booked by the capital’s Shalimar police.
Further, reports of the accused having left the country on a Dubai-bound flight at 3:30am indicate that the escape was flawlessly planned, a senior official said on condition of anonymity.
A doctor at DHQ told The Express Tribune that Ruhullah did not even have hepatitis and the polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test submitted as proof of hepatitis C infection was in fact a forgery.
Rawalpindi City Police Officer (CPO) Azhar Hameed Khokhar said it was apparently negligence on the part of the policemen on duty that allowed the escape to succeed, but added that investigation findings would help paint a clearer picture.
The CPO could not confirm if the suspect had reached Dubai, but said that if he has managed to flee the country, he could be brought back with Interpol’s help.
According to sources in DHQ, hospital regulations state that no jail inmate may be admitted as a patient without a notification from the medical superintendent MS following a three-member board’s decision.
“On the advice of jail doctors, the MS calls a meeting with another senior professor and the head of the hospital. After examining the prisoner, they decide on whether or not he should be hospitalised.”
In the case of Ruhullah, there was no notification for admission of the accused, the source said.
The Express Tribune was unable to contact DHQ Medical Superintendent Dr Sher Ali Niazi to confirm whether permission for the hospitalisation of the prisoner had been issued.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2012.