An additional district and sessions judge has started proceedings under Section 87 of the Criminal Procedure Code to declare a former MNA a proclaimed offender for not appearing at hearings of a private complaint he filed almost 30 years ago.
The private complaint by Mehdi Hassan, who has served thrice as MPA and twice as MNA, is the oldest such matter pending at the District and Sessions Court and relates to an alleged murder and other illegal activities by the police.
The complainant has not turned up in court for proceedings since October 12, 2011, even though Judge Sadiq Masood has issued notices, bailable arrest warrants and non-bailable arrest warrants for him.
Hassan is also wanted by Sheikhupura police for alleged gas theft at his CNG stations. The Lahore High Court rejected his pre-arrest bail petition in that case around a month ago, but he managed to evade arrest.
The former MNA had filed a private complaint in 1985 against 20 police officials accusing them of torturing a man to death and of humiliating others by forcing them to dance naked in front of women. The 20 police officials include former IG Jahanzeb Burki. Six are no longer alive DSP Shaikh Qurban Ali, Inspectors Rana Muhammad Hussain and Ashraf Bhola, and Sub Inspectors Nazeer, Sadaqat Khan and Salamat Khan and three have applied for exemptions from court appearance because of old age: SP Rai Zameerul Haq, SI Shamshad Ali and Constable Nakeeb Khan. SP Younas Bhatti, DSP Liaqat Ali, Inspectors Ghulam Rasool, Kausar Ali and Mubarik Ali Shah, SI Arif, ASP Yousaf and Constables Muhammad Hussain and Shabbir Sabir have been attending court proceedings.
Hassan had submitted in his complaint that on May 2, 1985, some police officials came to his dera supposedly in a search for an absconder named Muzaffar. He alleged that the policemen extorted money from people at his dera. When he demanded that they return the money, they threatened him, he said.
A case was registered against Hassan and his brothers under Section 216 of the Pakistan Penal Code (harbouring a proclaimed offender). He said he approached then DIG Jahanzeb Burki to complain about victimisation and police heavy-handedness, but the DIG did not help him.
On May 5, 1985, while he was with then chief minister Nawaz Sharif in Lahore, Hassan said, he learnt that a large police contingent had surrounded his village, raided his house and taken the men and women there to his dera. There, he said, the men were forced to disrobe and dance in front of the women. They put a ring through one man’s nose and tied him to a tree. They tortured a man named Ashiq to death and buried him in a plot, he said. A judicial magistrate later ordered the body to be exhumed and an autopsy confirmed that he had been tortured to death, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2013.