Third degree: Two employees tortured over theft allegations

Chief minister takes notice of incidents, seeks report.

Owais Jafri May 28, 2014
Iqbal Shah, 18, a servant at Muhammad Imran’s house, was accused of stealing a pigeon owned by Imran’s neighbour Muhammad Ahmed. PHOTO: FILE


Two boys were badly injured in separate incidents on Tuesday. One was allegedly tortured by the police and the other by the owner of the shop where he worked. Both were hospitalised in critical condition at Nishtar Hospital in Multan. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the incidents and has summoned a report.

Iqbal Shah, 18, a servant at Muhammad Imran’s house, was accused of stealing a pigeon owned by Imran’s neighbour Muhammad Ahmed. Ahmed, a resident of Suraj Miani Colony, filed a complaint against Imran with Nawabpur police accusing him of stealing a rare pigeon. Police, however, took Shah into custody and tortured him during interrogation. Shah sustained serious injuries and was taken to Nishtar Hospital.

Doctors there told The Express Tribune that Shah’s body bore torture marks and he was in a critical condition in the emergency ward.

Shah’s family staged a demonstration against the police in front of Nishtar Hospital on Tuesday night. They asked the Multan city police officer to suspend the policemen who had tortured Shah. They said instead of looking for the culprit, the police had falsely implicated Shah in the case and had tortured him.

Investigation Officer Muhammad Mushtaq told The Express Tribune that they had not tortured Shah. “He was in police custody on remand and had food poisoning after eating substandard food...that is why he is in the hospital,” he said.

In a separate incident, a shop owner chained and beat his employee over suspicion that the latter had stolen bathroom fittings.

Ali Baqar, 15, was in-charge of the storehouse at Muhammad Hashim’s hardware store. Three weeks ago, Hashim accused Baqar of stealing bathroom fitting worth Rs400 from the storehouse. Hashim called up Baqar’s parents and asked then to pay up for the missing fitting or he would not pay Baqar his Rs4,000 monthly salary. Baqar denied the charge.

On Tuesday morning, Hashim called Baqar to his house where he kept him in chains and accused him of stealing various items from his shop. He told Mustafa, one of his other employees, to “teach Baqar a lesson”.

Mustafa then badly thrashed Baqar and pulled out his fingernails. Several people were present on the occasion but no one tried to stop Mustafa. Baqar was allegedly electrocuted as well.

Hearing his screams, some neighbours called the police. Police found the boy unconscious and took him to the emergency ward at Nishtar Hospital.

Police said they had arrested three people including the shop owner. A case was to be filed after the medico-legal report, police said.

Hashim, the main accused, told The Express Tribune that he had given Baqar sufficient time to own up to the theft and pay back but he did not do that.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2014.


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