Mechanism of action: Police establish special cells to address complaints of missing persons

The Rangers and police are conducting all raids and investigations legally, SHC told.

Our Correspondent July 22, 2014

KARACHI: The Additional Inspector-General of Karachi police has ordered to establish cells in each police zone and a specialised investigation unit to check the growing number of complaints of unlawful detentions during the ongoing targeted operations in the city.

Karachi AIG Ghulam Qadir Thebo disclosed this in a report submitted to the Sindh High Court (SHC), which had earlier taken cognisance of the growing number of disappearances of innocent persons during the targeted operation.

On June 4, the court, taking notice of petitions against the alleged illegal detentions of citizens by the Rangers and police, had directed the heads of both law enforcement agencies to explain the mechanism of such operations and their legality. The bench had also ordered them to ensure no violation of law was committed during the raids. Filing his report, the city's police chief had assured that all possible efforts were being made to trace the missing persons, who would be produced before the courts of relevant jurisdiction.

He said that directions have also been issued to the DIGs of each zone and the Crime Investigation Agency to establish an individual cell for missing persons and depute an officer of SP rank to head the cell with immediate effect.

The cells would collect data of the abducted or missing persons on a daily basis from the relevant police stations. Later, the data would be forwarded to the specialised units of the Sindh police, including the Crime Branch, the Crime Investigation Agency, the Special Investigation Unit and the Anti-Violent Crime Cell, to investigate the cases of missing persons and facilitate their recovery. The newly established cells will deal with the cases on their own if there is no need for the services of specialised units in the matter.

It has been ordered that the investigation reports should be maintained on daily basis and submitted to the Sindh High Court through the Member Inspection Team along with the progress report. Meanwhile, the law enforcers must obtain permission from the respective magistrates to conduct raids in different parts of the city.  These directives would be implemented with immediate effect.

South Zone DIG has nominated City Division SP Aftab Nizamani as the focal person for the missing persons' cases, to perform the aforementioned functions and duties. West Zone DIG has nominated Investigation-II SSP Zahid Hussain Shah, while East Zone DIG has nominated Shah Faisal Division SP.

Karachi CIA has also been directed to establish a missing persons' cell to implement the court's directives. Crime Branch Additional IG will also look after the matters of missing persons. All DIGs have been directed to comply with every directive of the Crime Branch AIG in the subject matter of Karachi and the rest of the province.

AIG Thebo hoped that the establishment of a cell for missing persons in each zone would bear fruitful results in the future.  He assured the court that every directive, registration of FIR and search operation will be conducted without violating the law.

The mechanism

In his comments, the City SP explained that raids were conducted by police on the basis of information about the presence of suspects. Such raids were also conducted to seize illicit weapons when such information was received, he added.

The officer said that in certain cases, where incidents of terrorism or serious crimes have occurred, follow up raids are conducted to apprehend suspects involved in the offence. However, all such raids are conducted in accordance with relevant provisions of Criminal Procedure Code, 1898, or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997. The suspects are produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, if already not arrested, he said.

The SP further told the court that the Sindh Rangers were operating in accordance with the notification, dated March 11. Joint raids are conducted by the Rangers and the police, adding that the offenders are arrested and handed over to the police for investigation, except those detained for 90 days under the ATA, 1997. The police officers subsequently investigate the cases in accordance with the provisions of the criminal procedure code.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2014.


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