Tortured to death: Political worker killed in police custody

Published: June 3, 2015
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PHOTO: MQM worker Waseem Dehlavi

PHOTO: MQM worker Waseem Dehlavi

PHOTO: MQM worker Waseem Dehlavi After the MQM announced a day of mourning on Wedesday, petrol pumps saw long queues as residents scrambled to fill up their tanks. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS
KARACHI: 

A worker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Waseem Dehlavi, was tortured to death by police personnel at the Aziz Bhatti police station on Wednesday. The post-mortem report confirmed that Waseem died due to cardiac failure resulting from a head injury.

Meanwhile, a murder case has been registered against the personnel at their own police station on the orders of Sindh IG Ghulam Haider Jamali.

Dehlavi, a father of three and an employee of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, was arrested along with two of his brothers during a raid at his house in Muhajir Camp, Baldia Town, on Tuesday morning. “Police personnel in plain clothes barged into our house and arrested them in front of the entire neighbourhood,” said his teary-eyed widow outside the hospital. “No inquiry committee can return my husband. The perpetrators should be killed in the same manner that they killed my husband.”

Shortly after Dehlavi’s death, the police released his two brothers. The brothers too accused the police of torturing Dehlavi and them too, after they were failed to give them a hefty amount of bribe. “Until Dehlavi  was alive, we were hardened criminals and were accused of being involved in the Baldia factory fire and other crimes,” said Dehlavi’s brother, Adil. “If they were right, why did they release us now?” he questioned.

The body was taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for autopsy, where senior medico-legal officer Dr Aijaz Ahmed carried out his post-mortem. An initial report signed by Sindh Police surgeon Dr Jalil Qadir confirmed that the victim was killed due to torture. A copy of Dehlavi’s autopsy report, available with The Express Tribune, states that his head bore marks of deep cuts and his body bore torture marks. The report also reveals that he died of a heart attack following the torture.

Protests

As news of Dehlavi’s death spread, scores of family members, relatives and neighbours, including women and children, reached the hospital’s mortuary and staged a protest on the main road. The protest turned violent when the family members attacked a police personnel posted at the hospital’s mortuary. The roads leading to the hospital were also blocked while a larger contingent of police personnel was called in to calm the situation.

Case registered

An FIR No. 273/15 was registered against Waseem at the Aziz Bhatti police station on Tuesday night for possessing illegal weapons. In light of the findings of the postmortem report, IGP Sindh Jamali suspended Aziz Bhatti DSP Nasir Lodhi, SHO Maqsood Raza, investigation officer SI Zameer Hussain, head constable Khair Muhammad and constables, Sikandar Ali and Asadullah.

Meanwhile, Specialised Investigation Team incharge inspector Zafar Iqbal, Zameer Hussain and three other constables were also arrested and a case registered against them at their own police station. IG Jamali has also constituted an inquiry team, headed by Zone Central DIG Feroz Shah, to investigate the matter. “We are trying to ascertain where he was arrested and how and why he was actually killed,” Gulshan division SP Abid Qaimkhani told The Express Tribune.

Shutters down

As the MQM announced two days of mourning, calling for a complete shutter down along with the suspension of business activities and public transport, panic gripped most of the parts of the city where routine and commercial activities were suspended. In some areas, Rangers personnel encouraged people to resume commercial activities. A suspect, identified as Danish, was reportedly taken into custody during a raid in Landhi for forcibly closing shops in the area.

Meanwhile, traders and transporters were unsure whether or not they would keep businesses open on Thursday. “We will make this decision today (Thursday),” said All Karachi Tajir Ittehad chairperson, Atiq Mir. “But I would like to suggest all political parties to leave business activities out of their protests because the economic situation is already quite bad.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2015.

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