PESHAWAR, June 20: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has repatriated Superintendent of Police (campus), Peshawar, Dr Zeeshan Raza to Islamabad and suspended staff of the campus police station for allegedly torturing the members of Awami National Party legislator’s family on Tuesday night.
The incident caused uproar in the provincial assembly on Wednesday, as treasury and opposition benches criticised police for poor performance and rough attitude, and asked the government to take action against “black sheep” in the police department. “No doubt our police force has rendered great sacrifices in the war against terrorism, but it doesn’t mean that the government gives free hand to the police to humiliate law-abiding citizens,” said opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani, who termed the incumbent capital city police officer the most inefficient officer in the department.
“This is government’s responsibility to remove corrupt and inefficient officers from the police department and appoint officers on merit,” he said.
The assembly was informed that the university campus police on Tuesday night severely beat up son of ANP MPA Yasmeen Zia and her husband and also put the lawmaker in the lockup.
Ministers were trying to pacify the angry lawmakers who were demanding immediate action against the police officials for insulting the MPA and thrashing her family members when the ill-informed senior minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour announced to conduct judicial inquiry into the incident.
His announcement irritated the lawmakers. Opposition members and female MPAs of the ruling coalition staged a walkout and accused the senior minister of protecting police. Speaker Kiramatullah Chagharmatti has to adjourn the proceedings.
Mr Chagharmatti ordered that the house special committee would conduct inquiry into the incident and would submit its report within a week. He directed the government to take serious action against the officers involved in the incident.
“I am custodian of this assembly and this is my responsibility to protect self-respect and honour of every member,” he said in his ruling.
The affected MPA on a point of order narrated the incident, saying that her son, a student of the engineering university, was stopped by the campus police at the main gate and asked to switch off CD player of his car.
She said that on refusal police constables dragged him out of the car and severely beat him. The student was then put in the lockup. Later, his father Sadruddin reached the police station where the police also tortured him after exchange of harsh words. Mr Sadruddin was hit with the rifle butt and he received severe cut on his head. Ms Zia said that she introduced herself and sought pardon for her husband and son, but the police officials also used derogatory words for her. “I am telling members of this august house that your sister and daughter (Ms Zia) was verbally insulted at the police station. Now I seek justice from this house,” she lamented, adding that she was shifted to another police station in the midnight.
Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain seconded her remarks and said that he along with three other ministers rushed to the police station to resolve the matter. Mr Hussain said that he saw the MPA’s husband bleeding there.
He said that he directed the police officer not to speak to the media, but he did not obey the orders. He said that the city police chief started one-sided action and appointed Superintendent of Police (campus) Dr Zeeshan Raza to hold an inquiry, but in fact the SP himself was responsible for the ugly incident.
Despite directives, the CCTV footage of the incident only showing the lawmaker’s son scuffling with the police was released to media. He said that the government would take legal action against the police officials if they were found guilty. Mr Hussain said that the SHO and other staff of the campus police station would remain suspended, while services of Dr Raza were surrendered to the federal government. He assured the house that Dr Raza would appear before the inquiry committee.
Minister for excise and taxation Liaquat Shabab demanded to put responsible police officials in quarter guard for insulting the lawmaker otherwise they (MPAs) should resign.