KARACHI: Personnel in plain clothes raided the house of a medico-legal officer, kidnapped him and his brother at gunpoint and tortured him to get deleted important files pertaining to autopsies of suspects killed in ‘encounters’ with police from his laptop and mobile phone on Sunday.
Special secretary for health Dr Khalid Sheikh told Dawn that about seven or eight armed men in plain clothes stormed the residence of Dr Shahzad Butt, an MLO at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, and started beating him. As his brother, Fawad, tried to rescue his brother, they beat him up also.
He said that the armed men blindfolded the two brothers, grabbed the MLO’s laptop and mobile phone and drove him off to an unknown location in their “police mobile”. When they reached their destination, they asked the MLO to give them his laptop’s passwords.
The victim MLO told a press conference at the Karachi Press Club that the personnel forced him to delete data from his laptop and cellphone relating to reports of autopsies of the suspects killed in several police encounters. Later, they left them abandoned at the railway crossing near Mai Kolachi Road in the small hours of Sunday.
The health secretary said that the MLO along with his brother visited the Mithadar police station from where he phoned the duty MLO at the JPMC. The duty MLO relayed a message about his abduction on the police control. In the meantime, Dr Shahzad saw a police mobile passing through the area and told the police that this was the same vehicle in which he was abducted, he added.
City SSP Fida Hussain said that the police received a message on police control at 7:55am that Dr Shahzad and his brother were injured and brought at the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) and they wanted to record their statement.
He added that when the Napier SHO along with a police team visited the hospital, Dr Shahzad expressed his reluctance to record his statement.
Napier SHO Azam Khan said that the MLO also refused the police to visit his house in the Lea Market area.
Karachi police chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo denied the involvement of any policemen in the incident and said that there was no evidence on record.
However, senor CHK MLO Dr Nisar Shah, who is also an office-bearer of the Sindh Doctors Welfare Association, claimed that Dr Shahzad had conducted the autopsy on a suspect killed in an alleged encounter “two or three days ago”.
In his report, Dr Shahzad wrote that the death was caused by gunshot wounds fired from a very close range, Dr Shah said, adding that the policemen insisted him to change his report and that resulted in a heated argument between the police and the doctor.
The senior MLO believed that Dr Shahzad’s kidnapping and torture was linked to this incident.
CM orders inquiry
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has taken notice of the incident and ordered an inquiry into it.
A spokesperson for the Sindh home department said that Home Secretary Abdul Kabir Kazi appointed Karachi-West DIG Capt Tahir Naveed for holding a probe into the allegations of kidnapping, torture and deletion of important files.
The DIG was asked to submit a report within 24 hours, said the spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the medico-legal sections of all government hospitals were shut in protest on Sunday.
However, the health secretary claimed that the work was suspended only for a few hours and resumed after he assured the MLOs of a fair probe.
Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2015