Muzaffargarh self-immolation: 10 days for police to submit report

Updated March 17, 2014

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— File photo
— File photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Monday directed a three-member investigating team to conduct the probe of the self-immolation of an alleged rape victim in Muzaffargarh and ordered it to submit a report before it within 10 days, DawnNews reported.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, heard the hearing of the suo motu case relating to the self-immolation of a rape victim in Muzaffargarh.

During the hearing, the court ordered a three-member team, headed by Additional Inspector General Khalid Dad, to submit a report of the incident before it within 10 days.

The court said the girl committed self-immolation due to the local police’s behavior and lack of justice on the judiciary’s part.

It also said the incident reflected police’s carelessness and negligence, adding that if timely measures had been taken, the incident could have been prevented.

Meanwhile, Inspector General (IG) Punjab Khan Beg, District Police Officer (DPO) Muzaffargarh and the Advocate General appeared in the court.

IG Punjab submitted a preliminary report of the self-immolation incident in the court.

The report said there was a financial dispute between the victim’s father and the main accused in the rape and added that the suspect had earlier contracted a ‘love marriage’ with the victim’s elder sister.

According to the victim’s elder sister, the dispute between her parents and the suspect arose over the issue of sale of livestock.

The report quoted her as saying that the parents had filed a false case against the suspect.

Chief Justice Jillani asked IG Punjab whether a separate case was filed over the self-immolation incident.

He said any policeman could have stopped the girl from committing self-immolation outside the station.

Another judge present on the bench, Justice Khilji Arif, remarked as to how long it would have taken a policeman to stop a young girl from committing self-immolation.

He added that people were protesting outside the police station for long and questioned the police’s lack of knowledge regarding the can of petrol and kerosene.

Justice Khilji said the lack of awareness reflected police’s incompetence.

IG Punjab said two cases had been registered over the incident. He said one was registered on March 13 and the other one on March 17, respectively.

He said the Station House Officer of the relevant police station had also been nominated in the second case.

Chief Justice Jillani replied that the police had taken action only after a suo moto notice was taken by the court.

Justice Khilji said all police stations are meant to have firefighting equipment and the lack of it in the particular police station was another act of incompetence on the police’s part.

The court was also informed that the report of the Investigating Officer had been verified by the relevant Deputy Superintendent of Police.

The court subsequently adjourned the hearing of the case until 10 days.

Earlier last week on Thursday, a local court had granted bail to the main accused in the alleged rape, following which the girl went to the Bet Mir Hazar police station and lodged a protest with an investigation officer for favouring the accused in his report.

She had later doused her clothes with petrol and set herself on fire outside the police station in the presence of her younger brother. Some passers-by and policemen had taken her to Jatoi Civil Hospital. She had been later shifted to Nishtar Hospital in Multan because of her critical condition. She had succumbed to her injuries on Friday morning.