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Suspected militant dies from ‘police torture’

Updated July 14, 2013

KARACHI, July 13: A suspected militant, said to be arrested by the Crime Investigation Department only two days ago, died in police custody on Saturday allegedly from police torture, said family and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ).

The anti-extremism cell of the CID on Thursday claimed to have arrested Muhammad Farhan with his five aides — Talha bin Babar, Muhammad Asim, Qazi bin Ali, Obaid-ur-Rehman and Muhammad Shahbaz — after an encounter in Orangi Town.

The investigators alleged that the suspects were associated with the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi’s Naeem Bukhari group and involved in multiple killings, including those of Muttahida Qaumi Movement MPA Sajid Qureshi and his young son and principal of a government college Prof Sibt-i-Jaafar.

CID SP Muhammad Aslam Khan, better known as Chaudhary Aslam, who had announced the arrest of the six men at a press conference and declared it a major success against militants in Karachi, did not respond to multiple calls made to seek reasons behind Farhan’s death.

The ASWJ, however, rejected the CID claim and said the victim and five other arrested youngsters were not LeJ militants but active workers of their party. The party said that Farhan was brutally tortured and the family of the victim was only informed by staff at the Edhi morgue after CID officials shifted his body there.

“He was badly bleeding,” said Maulana Akbar Saeed Farooqi of the ASWJ. “The family and party leaders then took the body to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for medico-legal formalities but the doctors there refused to do an autopsy saying that the body had visible signs which suggested that it had already been forensically examined.”

The same was the response of the doctors at the medico-legal section of the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), he said, adding that the family and party were not informed by the CID of any such formality they had carried out.

Facts shared by Edhi officials at the morgue deepened the mystery.

“The body was handed over to the morgue staff by police officials saying the man was killed in a police encounter,” said an official. “The Edhi morgue also showed that the body was of a man named Muhammad Farhan and it was received from CID garden people, who said the man was killed in a police encounter.”

The CID officials, however, said the dead was a cardiac patient, who in the early hours of Saturday had complained of pain in the chest. He was taken to the CHK, where doctors gave him due treatment.

“But he died during the treatment,” said a spokesman for the CID’s anti-extremism cell. “The CID has all documents of this episode which showed his treatment at the CHK and medication by the doctors of the health facility. His body was shifted to the Edhi morgue only after the doctors confirmed his death. The fact can be confirmed from the doctors at the CHK that there was no torture mark on his body.”

However, multiple photos of the body released by the ASWJ suggested deep wounds on Farhan’s body with his nose bleeding. Multiple wounds were also seen on his both legs while blood stains were quite visible on his face.