A three-judge bench of the apex court directed Attorney General Muneer A Malik on Friday to personally supervise investigations into the shooting deaths of two civilians by Rangers personnel in Karachi.
Taxi driver Murid Abbas was gunned down on July 16 while Ghulam Haider shot on June 4.
“Prime facie, we are of the opinion that the culprits are not being treated strictly as per law because of some of the already committed lapses,” noted the bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. “Our apprehension is that justice shall not be done with the families of the deceased. We, therefore, direct the AG to take personal interest in the cases after consultation with the prosecutor general and advocate general of Sindh.”
The bench directed the police and the Rangers to complete their investigation into the murder of Murid Abbas within 30 days, and disposed of the suo motu case proceedings.
Regarding the eerily similar case of Ghulam Haider, the chief justice asked why the case had been registered under normal laws and why pertinent sections of the anti-terrorism acts had not been invoked against the accused.
The judges urged the attorney general to ensure completion of the trial in the time given under the anti-terrorism acts. According to the law, the trial court should complete proceedings within seven days of hearing the case on a daily basis.
The bench observed that law enforcement agencies were in need of proper training on how to deal with unarmed civilians.
“I have learnt that, among other trainings, there is a three-month course, undertaken by the personnel of law enforcment agencies, that teaches them how to salute their seniors,” said Justice Jawwad S Khawaja. “There should be a course teaching those personnel how to deal with unarmed civilians.”
Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said that that the court was well aware of the fact that the country is currently passing through turbulent times, and that law enforcers often pay the price. However, the killing of an innocent, unarmed cab driver by a man in uniform is a serious matter, he added.
AG Malik informed the court that the Rangers had offered a job to Dua Bibi, widow of the deceased Abbas, along with Rs1.8 million in compensation. Additionally, law enforcers had also paid her Rs200,000 as she was observing idat (40 days spent in mourning).
According to Rangers representatives, a challan had already been drawn up against four personnel of the Sindh Rangers.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2013.