Dumped bodies: PHC orders formation of JIT to investigate killings

Bench distrusts investigations, questions autopsy reports.

Umer Farooq September 27, 2012


The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has ordered the inspector general of police to constitute a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the recovery of tortured bodies from gunny bags.

A division bench headed by PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, who had taken a suo motu notice of the incidents, heard the case.

More than 26 bodies have been found dumped in different parts of the province since August, particularly in the surrounding areas of Peshawar.

The JIT is to be headed by an assistant superintendent and should consist of specialists from the police’s investigation wing, including two deputy superintendents. Intelligence agencies can be asked for assistance, if required.

The bench warned federal secretaries of the interior and defence ministries that warrants without bail would be issued to them if they do not take the matter seriously and attend meetings of the JIT.

“We don’t believe it,” said the CJ, while interrupting the additional advocate general, Naveed Akhtar, when he told the bench that the local police have compiled a detailed report on the matter.

Senior superintendent of police (Investigation) Sajid Khan Mohmand informed the bench that most deaths were personal feuds or kidnapping, in which families of the abducted failed to pay ransom.

The provincial advocate general, Khalid Khan, told the bench that the home secretary held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the issue and form strategies to tackle it. The standing counsel told the governor that he had submitted his reply and the interior ministry have sought more time to send their response.

Mohmand said that postmortems of all bodies recovered have been conducted, which suggests that most victims starved to death. CJ Khan said the postmortem reports were baseless, alleging that the doctors could have been put into pressure. “If it is a case of starvation, who packed the bodies in gunny bags and for what reason?”

Doctors who conducted and signed the autopsy reports should also be produced before the court at the next hearing, the CJ ordered. He also told the director general of health to question the doctors.

The legal heirs of all victims should be traced and their statements recorded before a magistrate under section 174 of the Criminal Code Procedure, the court ordered.

The case was adjourned till November 6.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2012. 


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