An inquiry committee has concluded the daughter-in-law of former Islamabad inspector general police Bani Amin did not commit suicide but died of suffocation, The Express Tribune learnt on Wednesday.
The committee had been formed on the instructions of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Secretary Muhammad Shehzad Arbab. Officials privy to the matter said the inquiry has almost reached its final stages and a report will soon be forwarded to the authorities for further action.
“We have recorded the statement of 12 individuals and also have the medical report. It is evident this was not a suicide, however, the victim died of suffocation,” said one of the officials, requesting anonymity.
The officials also revealed the inquiry committee has identified police personnel who were behind the delay in registering the FIR. However, they were still to be cross-examined.
The committee report was on hold pending the Supreme Court’s decision on the suo motu case, which was announced on Wednesday as well.
The court, in its decision, ordered the federal and K-P governments to ensure a transparent and independent inquiry is carried out into the murder of Wahida Palwasha, and no influence on the case is exerted by any police official.
The judgment, authored by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, directed the interior secretary and K-P chief secretary to constitute a team of independent police officers to probe the murder and asked them to submit a charge-sheet before the court accordingly.
The bench also directed two secretaries to submit a report on compliance of the court order within two weeks, noting that any more delays in concluding the investigation would cause further grievance to the petitioner, Wahida’s mother Zahida Bibi.
Zahida, in her application, stated that although she tried to register an FIR in Peshawar, police officers in the city refused to do so. The bench observed that this was either a case of inefficiency or criminal negligence on part of Peshawar police officials. It noted that no police official, including the K-P inspector general, had any authority to deny a petitioner access to justice.
The bench also expressed displeasure with Islamabad police, observing that it acted with sheer favouritism by registering an FIR and posting armed guards at Wahida’s grave under the orders of her father-in-law, the former Islamabad IG Bani Amin. It questioned why the FIR for an incident that took place in the jurisdiction of University Town police station, Peshawar, was registered at Shalimar police station, Islamabad.
Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti concurred with the bench’s observation in this regard. Later, during the hearing, the bench was told that an FIR had been registered at the University Town police station following its observations
Wahida Palwasha was found dead on May 19 from her brother’s house in University Town, Peshawar. The body was later shifted for autopsy which reported cause of death to be suffocation.
The victim’s mother accused her husband and son of killing Wahida and nominated Wahida’s father, brother and sister-in-law in the FIR. Following the FIR, police arrested Wahida’s brother Khalid Rehman and his wife Fauzia. On July 11, Judicial Magistrate Nasrullah sentenced the couple to a two-day physical remand in police custody.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan later took suo motu notice of the case and observed investigations were not being carried out in a transparent manner and evidence had been also removed from the crime scene.
On July 15, Bani Amin was transferred from his post as IG Islamabad to DIG Secretariat.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.