The Supreme Court on Thursday reprimanded Rawalpindi police officials and directed the Punjab Police chief to appoint a competent officer to investigate the murder of a woman by an influential person and immediately arrest the proclaimed offenders.
The former city police officer (CPO) of Rawalpindi, Azhar Hamid Khokhar, submitted before a three-member bench of the apex court that police had been unable to arrest the accused because of his family’s connections and influence.
Imtiaz alias Taji Khokhar, younger brother of former National Assembly speaker Nawaz Khokhar, was nominated in Sabira Bibi’s murder case who was gunned down allegedly by his gunmen.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry with Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed its members, gave the order, stating that the former Rawalpindi CPO had been influenced by the financial status of the accused.
“You’re not capable of performing your duty and you have ruined the case of Sabira’s murder. Your admission that the police are influenced by the status of the accused suggests that the law is subordinate to the rich,” remarked the visibly annoyed chief justice in response to the argument by the former CPO.
Deferring the hearing till April 18, the bench directed the provincial police chief to ensure that the accused were arrested.
Two days earlier the official had assured the court that the accused would be arrested till April 11 but during the proceedings on Thursday he informed the bench that he had been transferred from Rawalpindi.
The apex court had taken suo motu notice of the case after the police failed to arrest the accused for killing a 50-year-old woman fighting a legal battle for possession of her land along the Islamabad Expressway which has been allegedly occupied by Taji.
The CJ took notice of news stories that senior police investigators had accused a lawyer acting as a local commissioner for the court of endangering the woman’s life by calling her to the disputed plot where she was allegedly gunned down by Taji’s gunmen.
On August 17, Sabira Bibi, her husband Raja Yaqoob were present at the disputed place in Dhoke Gangal to give their statements to local commissioner Raja Saimul Haq Satti, when Taji’s gunmen shot her, according to the police.
A high-level inquiry by the Punjab Police in December last year held five police officers including Civil Lines DSP, the Airport police station in-charge and his staff responsible for failing to safeguard the woman and arrest the accused including Taji and his two sons.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2013.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ