‘Staged’ encounter: Malir police putting pressure on man to withdraw son’s murder case, SC told

Published February 27, 2015
Policemen and Rangers’ personnel stand alert outside Supreme Court’s Karachi registry. — Online /File
Policemen and Rangers’ personnel stand alert outside Supreme Court’s Karachi registry. — Online /File

KARACHI: The Malir district police was on Thursday warned by the Supreme Court that they would be held responsible if any harm came to Anwar Ali Soomro, the father of a 17-year-old boy dubbed as a Taliban militant and killed in a fake encounter, or his family after the apex court was informed that the victim’s family was being pressurised into withdrawing the murder case against SHO Ismail Lashari and other policemen.

Headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim, a two-judge bench of the apex court was hearing the appeal of SHO Lashari, assailing the judgement of the Sindh High Court that had ordered the registration of an FIR against the policemen for killing Anisur Rahman Soomro in a fake encounter on the petition of the victim’s father.

Know more: SC orders suspension of two SHOs in fake encounter case

The case took an intriguing turn on Thursday when Mr Soormo complained to the SC bench that Malir SSP Rao Anwar Ahmed was putting pressure on him to withdraw the murder case against SHO Lashari and other policemen, offering him Rs2.5 million.

The bench that also comprised Justice Maqbool Baqar directed the Malir SSP to file his reply on Mr Soomro’s complaint by Friday (today).

“We are putting to notice that if any harm is caused to Anwar Ali [Soomro] or his family, we will hold police of District Malir responsible,” it warned.

At the outset of the hearing, Karachi police chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo requested on behalf of the inspector general of police for time to appear in court telling the judges that the IGP was unable to attend the court due to the visit of the prime minister to the city.

The provincial police chief was on Wednesday directed to appear in court on Thursday.

The bench expressed extreme displeasure over the absence of the investigation officer of the murder case against police officials as he did not appear despite being put on notice by the court.

The bench issued a bailable warrant for the arrest of the IO in the sum of Rs50,000 for procuring his attendance on Friday. “The bailable warrants shall be executed through concerned SSP,” the court ordered and directed the IO to be in attendance with the investigation/police file of the case.

On a petition of Mr Soomro, the SHC had ordered the registration of an FIR against SHO Lashari and other police officials.

SHO Lashari assailed the SHC judgement through an appeal before the apex court submitting that he was not given a fair hearing by the high court.

Earlier on Feb 5, the apex court had ordered the police authorities to suspend two SHOs who were facing an investigation for allegedly killing a man in a fake encounter, and restrain the police from posting them in the province without seeking a prior permission of the court.

The two SHOs along with other police officials were allegedly involved in the killing of 17-year-old Soomro in June 2014.

According to the victim’s father, Anis was a Class X student who was arrested along with his two friends by the Sachal police near Safoora Goth in Gulistan-i-Jauhar on June 12, 2014.

He informed the judges that he had repeatedly visited the police station to learn reasons for the arrest of his son and his friends. But SHO Lashari demanded Rs500,000 for his son’s release and later killed him in a fake encounter, because he was unable to pay the bribe, he said.

Mr Soomro had also filed a petition in the district and sessions court in Malir on June 20, 2014 against the illegal confinement of his son, informing the judge that the police had threatened to kill his son if he could not pay the bribe that they had demanded.

Following the hearing, an official raided the police station on the order of the district and sessions judge, but the young boy was not found there.

Mr Soomro said his son had been detained for 10 days at the Sachal police station before he was taken to a nearby Afghan refugee camp where he was killed on June 22, 2014.

He said his son had never been associated with any militant group, although the police had initially claimed to have killed four Taliban, including the victim.

The victim’s father also told the judges that the police officers booked in the murder case of his son were forcing him to withdraw the case.

According to Mr Soomro, his son worked at an electronics shop in Sachal Goth. Appellant SHO Lashari was represented by Advocates Moharram G. Baloch and Mazhar Ali B. Chohan, while Advocates Abid S. Zuberi and K. A Wahab appeared for SSP Rao Anwar.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2015

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