Expressing displeasure at the death of a taxi driver at the hands of Rangers in Karachi, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Friday directed police officials to submit a challan of the case within a week.
Heading a three-member bench, comprising justices Jawwad S Khawaja and Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Chaudhry also directed the Sindh prosecutor general to seek out all details of the incident and present them before the court on July 26.
During the hearing, Advocate Shahid Bajwa, appearing on behalf of the director general of Rangers, informed the bench that the four Rangers personnel involved in taxi driver Mureed Ali’s death had been handed over to police for interrogation and a joint investigation team had been constituted to probe the incident.
Rangers personnel opened fire on Mureed on July 16 after he failed to stop at their signal. The driver was killed on the spot, in front of his son who he had reportedly been driving to hospital.
Upon being told that Mureed’s widow Dua Bibi had registered the FIR, Justice Chaudhry questioned why the case had not been registered by the DG Rangers.
“Why is Dua Bibi the complainant in the case? She is not an eyewitness… This case should have been registered by the DG Rangers himself,” he asserted.
“It is most unfortunate that law enforcers kill unarmed civilians with their official weapons only because they fail to stop at their signal… This is not the first time Rangers have acted irresponsibly,” bemoaned the chief justice. He noted that a similar incident took place in Karachi’s Shah Faisal Colony on June 4 this year.
“You should be well aware of the repercussions of such incidents while fighting against an insurgency. Study the case of Ireland and be mindful of the consequences of such incidents,” observed Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed.
Expressing regret over the killing of civilians, Advocate Bajwa assured the bench case that the culprits would be brought to book. He added that compensation would also be given to the wife of the deceased.
The court will resume the hearing of the case on July 26.
In 2011, the paramilitary force came under severe criticism over the conduct of its personnel when local TV channels aired footage of Rangers personnel shooting Sarfaraz Shah, an unarmed civilian, at pointblank range in a public park in Karachi. Shah eventually succumbed to his injuries.
A local court subsequently found one paramilitary soldier guilty of murder and sentenced him to death, and handed life terms to five other soldiers and a civilian for their involvement in Shah’s killing. The case marked the first time that a civilian court in Pakistan sentenced to death a serving member of the paramilitary force.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2013.