My husband was wrongfully arrested and tortured to death, while his killer roams free in Islamabad, said 32-year old Sumera Ali.
Sumera’s husband Saadat Ali was arrested on charges of kidnapping a 15-year old boy by Industrial Area Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Dr Khalil Bhutta on the morning of September 28.
By the end of the day, he was dead — allegedly tortured to death by the police in an effort to coerce a confession.
ASP Khalil Bhutta was found responsible for the death by an investigation team, and soon began a province-wide race to secure bail. The accused ASP first got bail-before-arrest from a court in Multan. Just before it expired, he got bail from the Lahore High Court, and later from a court in Islamabad.
Since then, the trial court has declared him a proclaimed offender. But Bhutta seems unworried, because, as the victim’s family claim, he is living in the H-11 Police Lines area under the protection of the Islamabad police.
“Why won’t the police take action against him,” asks a desperate Sumera. “The courts are a beacon of hope for us, but the prolonged litigation and police protection of the killer are forcing us to change our opinion,” she told The Express Tribune. Wiping her tears, she said her husband was killed for a crime he did not commit.
“[ASP Bhutta] is living in Police Lines without any fear of arrest. I met Inspector General of the Islamabad Police (IG) Bani Amin, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Tahir Alam Khan and other police officers, but all of them expressed unwillingness to arrest the ASP,” claims Masha Sahi, a relative of the deceased.
Blood money and blackmail
The ASP’s family has been trying to ‘convince’ Ali’s family to reach a settlement by offering to pay blood money. When that failed, they threatened to embroil them in fake cases.
“We are poor people. How long can we resist this pressure? We appeal to the Chief Justice of Pakistan for help,” said Sajid, brother of the deceased.
Pension, benevolent fund yet to be issued
Saadat Ali was the sole breadwinner for his family. The carpenter — a father of four — was a scale-5 employee at the Public Works Department (PWD), where he had served for 24 years. The family has been struggling financially since his demise as even his pension and benevolent funds have not been paid out yet, owing to some documentation issues. Fortunately, PWD officials said the matter was recently resolved on their end, and Ali’s family will soon be paid the amount due.
None of the capital’s top cops, including the IG and DIG, could be reached for comment, despite several attempts.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2013.
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