Police brutality: Journalists beaten for sipping soft drinks in Ramazan

Published: July 30, 2012
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Policeman told the men that they had committed a serious crime by violating the Ramazan Act. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE.

Policeman told the men that they had committed a serious crime by violating the Ramazan Act. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE.

Frontier Post journalist Anwer Abbas, who was beaten up by Islamabad police along with his friend Malik Saeed Awan for having soft drinks during the daytime in Ramazan, provided a first-hand account of the incident to journalismpakistan.com on Monday.

According to the report, Abbas and his friend – who works for Independent News Pakistan (INP) – went to Daman-i-Koh in Islamabad and were drinking beverages in their car when a police constable saw them.

The policeman accused them of committing a sin by violating the Ramazan Act that prevents people from eating and drinking in public during the Islamic month.

“I told him I was not fasting and was having my drink in an isolated corner. He told me he was going to register a FIR under Ramadan Ordinance against me,” Abbas said.

The victim also revealed that he and his friend were beaten with belts while the police took them to a nearby police post.

“You have never dealt with police, now we will let you know what police can do. Just then Shahzad [a police constable] stood up, abused me and pushed me hard. I slapped his face in anger and thus started the fight,” Abbas narrated.

The police also threatened them of year-long imprisonment.

Abbas said they were then taken to a police station where the officers were polite and asked him what action they wanted to take against their abusive colleagues.

“I could barely open my left eye following the beating I got and my back was red with belt marks yet I decided to spare them,” Abbas said.

According to a Dawn report, the incident was reported to the Kohsar police SHO and then to the capital IG Bani Amin Khan who assured that action would be taken against the police officials involved in the incident.

The same report stated that senior police officials want Abbas and his friend to withdraw their complaint against the officials.

IG Khan said he had ordered inquiry into the incident. “On Saturday I have been informed by the police officers that both complainants are ready to have a patch up. If complainants withdraw their application, case will be closed,” he said.

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Reader Comments (51)

  • Ninja
    Jul 30, 2012 - 7:57PM

    finally our police has done something right

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  • Banaras Khan
    Jul 30, 2012 - 8:02PM

    You should have offered them drinks. Don’t you know its impolite to have treats when you haven’t brought enough for everyone?

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  • Dq
    Jul 30, 2012 - 8:15PM

    “ I decided to spare them,”

    You deserve to be beaten even more for this…

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  • Vikram
    Jul 30, 2012 - 8:16PM

    Police did a great job. Beating journalists is a good way to get the message out. Police should also beat women without Hijab and make Pakistan a truly talibanic country. I feel sorry for Pakistanis.

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  • Truth bites
    Jul 30, 2012 - 8:17PM

    Was not fasting easy comparitivelyRecommend

  • Vikram
    Jul 30, 2012 - 8:17PM

    Can this be considered Blasphemy?

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  • Mj
    Jul 30, 2012 - 8:20PM

    @Ninja:
    Shameful. We pay police to ensure security and peace, not to enforce some morality like religious police (read:thugs) in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

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  • Wajahat
    Jul 30, 2012 - 8:48PM

    @Vikram.
    I do not know if you are in India or some where else. Police is same all around . How about police culture in India , How about that factory owner in india who stripped a women in public then beat her brutally and shameless police and public was just watching and enjoying the retarded show. How about state sponsored Muslim killings in Gugrat. How about 5 pakistani police officers loosing their lives to protect Srilankan team they acted as Human Shield. You can not find one example like this Mr Vikram in your part of world.

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  • Ninja
    Jul 30, 2012 - 8:52PM

    @Mj, but the police was ensuring security and peace for these sinful journalists ;) They’re lucky they weren’t beaten to death by a mob….in case you didn’t realise this is ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan.

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  • Awans
    Jul 30, 2012 - 8:54PM

    These Journalists are master Twisters and we must took every news regarding to Journalists with great care. Recommend

  • hina waheed
    Jul 30, 2012 - 9:08PM

    Insane!!Recommend

  • IH
    Jul 30, 2012 - 9:09PM

    Its amazing that eating or drinking in public is a bad thing during Ramazan, but its ok for the “fasting” police to physically abuse others. Because violence is probably not a sin, hain?

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  • Jul 30, 2012 - 9:10PM

    I think it was insane of them to beat em up.. why do they care.. I mean you are fasting why their has to stop eating.. isn’t fasting something between one and Allah? why making other compel to respect some thing which has nothing to do with em..
    Sheer act of absurdity i must say!Recommend

  • Jul 30, 2012 - 9:10PM

    What makes for a great police? My new book has both insight and direction. Of course it is a lot easier to talk about improving police than doing it. For the most part, police throughout the world are the same. And the same insights and direction for improving them hold true. To take a look at what I learned about improving police, read my new book and visit my blog, “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police” (Amazon.com)Recommend

  • SalSal
    Jul 30, 2012 - 9:11PM

    @MJ
    They were acting according to a law. We pay police to enforce laws. If that seems like religious police, then please go live somewhere else if u don’t want to accept the law of the land

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  • Hanif Majeed
    Jul 30, 2012 - 9:15PM

    i thought there was no compulsion in islam.then what is this? forcing ppl to fast,whipping ppl with belts to make them fast,what sort of religious service were these policemen performing?

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  • M. Asim
    Jul 30, 2012 - 9:17PM

    Are you kidding me? Prophet (PBUH) himself said that fasting is for Allah and Allah himself will reward for it.

    Who is police to punish someone for not fasting?

    Next thing you know, police starts beating someone who is missing his/her prayer, listening to music, not wearing hijab, shaving his beard and so on. It is his personal matter whether he was fasting or not.

    Can anyone please tell me where in Quran or Hadith there is any punishment mentioned for missing a fast?Recommend

  • sensible
    Jul 30, 2012 - 9:25PM

    man you missed the trick! it would have easily avoided, had you shared your drink with them.

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  • Yusuf
    Jul 30, 2012 - 9:26PM

    IG Police should resign! Spineless officer who cannot even train/discipline his own staff?? Shame!Recommend

  • Farhan
    Jul 30, 2012 - 9:34PM

    What probably happend was, Policeman told them they can’t do this during ramdan and our truly great journalist said something like “Do you know where I work! Blahblah ” and so on ..

    I have friends who are Journalists and they pretty much do the same thing, threaten police all the time etc, they are the new bandmash!

    If you don’t like the law that is “Ramadan Ordinance” then speak against it, but don’t blame the police for doing it’s job.

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  • afzaalkhan
    Jul 30, 2012 - 9:38PM

    Why the journalist felt its ok to slap the police constable?Recommend

  • kanwal
    Jul 30, 2012 - 9:43PM

    There come saudis in the capital of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Umer
    Jul 30, 2012 - 9:59PM

    Zia ul Haq lives on.

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  • Hakim Khan
    Jul 30, 2012 - 10:01PM

    Stunningly marvelous justice delivered to miscreants breaking Islamic Law; finally the police have come of age and delivered justice to acts of severe criminality. This should convey a potent warning to those with the audacity of criticizing the Ramazan Act- underpinned by the Shariah- and transgressing its red-lines in its’ home territory. Absolutely made my day; Bravo to the defenders of faith! Recommend

  • khalid
    Jul 30, 2012 - 10:16PM

    Those journalists got what they truly deservedRecommend

  • shak
    Jul 30, 2012 - 10:45PM

    Police shouldn’t have beat them up BUT the way the journalist is telling his story, it seems like police approached them and asked them not to drink in public and them being the high mighty journalist said some profanities and things got out of hand…….

    if that’s the story then police did what any police would do anywhere, come to NY and try to yell at NYPD, they would beat you down to a pulp, and if you slap an officer that carries a maximum of 3 years in jail.

    I am not saying what the police did is right but that’s just how police behaves everywhere…..

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  • Yoda
    Jul 30, 2012 - 11:09PM

    Blame the law not its enforcers. I frankly didn’t even know the law existed. I do not, however, mean to sugarcoat what is clearly an example of police brutality. While I don’t mind the fact that the police approached those journalists, I highly doubt that violence was needed to stop a non-violent “crime”.

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  • DevilHunterX
    Jul 30, 2012 - 11:14PM

    Jeay Bhutto! Thanks for teaching us Pakistanis intolerance!

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  • gp65
    Jul 30, 2012 - 11:36PM

    @SalSal: “They were acting according to a law. We pay police to enforce laws. If that seems like religious police, then please go live somewhere else if u don’t want to accept the law of the land”

    The law says that during Ramazan people cannot eat in public places. These people were not in a public place, so no law was violated. Secondly even if they had been eating in a public place (which was not the case) , they could have been arrested and an FIR lodged, there is no law that says that police should thrash people with their belts.

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  • AFGHAN
    Jul 30, 2012 - 11:40PM

    The journalist started it at the first place by slapping the man in uniform. You won’t go unbeaten in any part of the world if you raised your hand at the policeman.

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  • gp65
    Jul 30, 2012 - 11:42PM

    @Yoda: “Blame the law not its enforcers.”

    In this case there are 2 issues. The law itself maybe flawed and should be addressed separately. It however is against eating/drinking in public. Since these journalists were not drinking in public they did not violate the law. Secondly, enforcement of the law does not require belting the people who break the law.

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  • Umer
    Jul 31, 2012 - 12:07AM

    @SalSal:

    They were acting according to a law.

    I doubt beating with belts is in any law, the police took the law into their own hands for which they need to be prosecuted and punished. However the relevant law is a bad law by za ul haq so condemn it and change it. Why complain about the new contempt of court law if a law should not be condemned.

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  • Umer
    Jul 31, 2012 - 12:51AM

    @AFGHAN:

    You won’t go unbeaten in any part of the world if you raised your hand at the policeman.

    Well Lal Masjid guys got away with a lot more than that.

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  • PakistaniCanadian
    Jul 31, 2012 - 1:27AM

    @gp65:

    You are right that there are two separate issues here. The first is the law itself, and second is its implementation. However, you are not correct in asserting they were not drinking in public. They might have been in their car, but that is not private space as long as it is parked on public, or someone else’s, property. It isn’t even considered private space in the western world. People in the US have been charged for indecent exposure for having sex in their cars for instance.

    So, firstly, this ridiculous law needs to be repealed. If those who are fasting are so weak that they cannot tolerate watching others eat, perhaps they should stay at home. Having said that, if we were a civilized society, we wouldn’t eat outside during Ramzan to begin with, out of respect for those fasting. Unfortunately, we are not a tolerant society; either of those who practice religion, or those who choose not to.

    Now having said that, as long as we have the law, the police are in their right to take action against those found in violation. They of course cannot resort to unnecessary force or brutality, as was the case here. So, strangely enough, the correct thing from a legal perspective in this case would’ve been to charge the two journalists for disobeying the Ramzan Ordinance, and for assualting an officer, instead of letting them off. At the same time, the policemen involved in the beatings should be charged/disciplined with use of unnecessary force (or whatever relevant laws apply). That would be the correct execution of existing laws.

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  • Osman
    Jul 31, 2012 - 2:13AM

    The police absolutely did the right thing by physically hurting the offenders; the law applies to everyone, no exceptions! Shariah is the only Law acceptable in our Islamic State, man-made laws do not carry any weight, simply because man did not have any right, role or choice in the his own creation and the world! If you do not like the Law, why you do not dare to blaspheme and speak against the Law of God in a public chowk in Pakistan? We will then see how brave are the Islam bashers! The audacity of the Liberals have never manifested itself, simple because they dont have any! They are gutless chickens!

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  • kanwal
    Jul 31, 2012 - 3:06AM

    Oh plz… Religion is so so far from this story.. u hav no idea. Neither party did anything in the name of Allah. Islam doesnt preach such enforcements..all those 2 non fasting guys did was make policemen feel helpless fr not being able to drink n thus infuriated them to the point ehr they lost it. Absence of faith. Those fasting police ppl r no diff then non fasting journ.

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  • Ahmed Hajeer
    Jul 31, 2012 - 3:44AM

    “Just then Shahzad [a police constable] stood up, abused me and pushed me hard. I slapped his face in anger and thus started the fight,” Abbas narrated.” … Now seriously ? … Had i Been The Police Constable, i would have got MAD on someone who Slaps me for doing my duty. The Funny part is that then i would have been fasting! I would have made an EXAMPLE out of you for slapping me while I am fasting… These Journo’s, god show them the right path.

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  • Ali Memon
    Jul 31, 2012 - 4:31AM

    good job cops!! .. these bugs deserve it

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  • Tiger
    Jul 31, 2012 - 4:34AM

    @Dq: Well said.

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  • Tiger
    Jul 31, 2012 - 4:35AM

    @Banaras Khan: LOL.

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  • Tiger
    Jul 31, 2012 - 4:35AM

    @Hanif Majeed: No one is forced to fast. The law is only against eating/drinking in public.

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  • Babar
    Jul 31, 2012 - 5:38AM

    “I slapped his face in anger and thus started the fight,” Abbas narrated.”

    You should be thankful to be in Pakistan. Try doing this in some other country, specially in US, and see what happens to you. You can count on about a year or more in jail and few broken bones.

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  • Vikram
    Jul 31, 2012 - 7:06AM

    @Osman: “The police absolutely did the right thing by physically hurting the offenders; the law applies to everyone, no exceptions! Shariah is the only Law acceptable in our Islamic State”

    If I am not wrong Saudis and Talibans follow true Sharia. Do you think Pakistan needs taliban type of rule? Talibans also do quick justice.

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  • Saqib
    Jul 31, 2012 - 10:37AM

    Ohh my God, how down and sick our nation can go who are praising this incident, I wish and pray next time when policemen abuse them or swear at them or look at their ladies with filthy eyes they praise them as well, This nation really in need of surgery I think cancer has to be removed, I wonder what type of Islam they know and preach, This will not happen even in so called Shariah compliance country Saudi Arabia or Iran. Shame on us.

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  • Afzaal Khan
    Jul 31, 2012 - 3:18PM

    once again everyone crying on journos getting a beating, no one asking what gave journos right to slap the constable? If journos disagree with law they can argue that in the court of law when police tells u they are booking you on crime cooperate.

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  • Tariq
    Jul 31, 2012 - 7:59PM

    They were drinking in private inside a vehicle, the police should not have noticed.
    At this time it is hard to fast and many people suffer medical ailments or are physically weak.
    You might fast one day on 40+ centrigrade but the next dayyou will be ill. Islam is about compassion and looking after the week and poor, the police were wrong, & this Pakistani law is wrong. Following Islam is your personal journey and other people views should not be enforced on others.

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  • PakShock
    Jul 31, 2012 - 11:51PM

    I don’t condone police brutality but being a journalist he should know better. With power & position comes more responsibility.

    First, we all know.... "Do in Rome as Romans do".

    Second, thousands don’t fast including ones with legitimate reasons but never spotted by cops, how careful were you?

    Third, slapping a cop on duty and then bragging about it just shows how careless and clueless this sorry News-Agent is?

    Simply, unforgivable mistake…Sir!

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  • Hassan
    Aug 1, 2012 - 1:03AM

    Well done Islamabad police! I dare these “journalists” to come here in Dubai and try to have a soft drink in an isolated corner and then see what happens. But they will never do it here, because we enjoy breaking the law in our own country because we know that we are more possible than the police.

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  • Muhammad
    Aug 1, 2012 - 2:38AM

    @Wajahat:
    The article and discussion is not about india so please dont try to divert the topic. We must admit that religion has become a negative influence in our society.

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  • SayWhat!
    Aug 1, 2012 - 8:12AM

    @Muhammad: Well, one of your Indian native started it!

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  • paki christian
    Aug 1, 2012 - 1:26PM

    no doubt we are living in Islamic Republic of Pakistan, but the Shariah law is not applyed here!! every one is free!

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