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Sometimes the mind behind a crime leaves the public befuddled. So also do the police handling of some crimes.

One such case came to light in October when a father and son from Sindh were said to have been abducted in Islamabad. The son was later killed in a police encounter in their home province.

Behind these bare bones of the gruesome case lurks a twisted story of vengeance, the fears of the meek and perceptions and accusations of police transgressing their jurisdiction to serve the powerful of the society.

For the public, there are the FIR at the legal and official level and the version of the grieving parents of the dead Hussain Bakhsh to sift through to make sense of the whole story.

Ramna police, Islamabad claim they registered a murder case under PPC 302, 365 and 34 on a complaint filed by one Khaqil Khatoon, on November 26. According to the FIR, her son and husband were abducted from sector G-12, near Merabadi, by a group of 15 people on October 11 and driven off in a vehicle.

Imam Bakhsh, her husband, was let off some distance away but their son Hussain was taken away.

About a week later, a television news channel reported their son had been killed in an encounter in the limits of Tando Yousaf in district Hyderabad,

“The Sindh police abducted Hussain from Islamabad and later killed him in Hyderabad,” the FIR quotes the mother as reporting to Ramna police.

But the father Imam Bakhsh contests this version. He told Dawn that Ramna police had detained his son Hussain on October 9.

He said his son was involved in a brawl last year in which the relative of a Mangrio tribe “influential” was shot and injured. One citizen belonging to Shikarpur and another to Rawalpindi were witness to his detention.

On October 11, the Ramna police handed over Hussain to the Crime Investigation Agency of Hyderabad which later killed him “in a fake encounter and got a fake FIR registered with Tando Yousuf Police Station on October 17 about the incident, claims the father.

Things started unraveling, he said, when he filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court against the Sindh and Islamabad police. On November 25, the day before the petition was to be heard, he said the Islamabad police called him and his wife to the office of their senior officer.

“They handed me a written complaint to sign for registering a case. After going through the contents, I refused to sign because it did not contain the facts. They offered me blood money if I kept the Islamabad police out of our complaint but I refused,” he said.

“But they got my wife’s thumb impression on it anyway – all to cover up their sins and skin,” he added, noting that the Ramna police SHO was removed from his post as consequence in the last week of November.

Imam Bakhsh alleged that the Hyderabad police did the bidding of “an influential” of Mangrio tribe who wanted to take revenge against his son Hussain who shot and injured his relative in a brawl in 2014.

A case was registered with the Baldia police station Hyderabad about the incident, naming Hussain and his brother Mohammad Bakhsh among the accused.

While Mohammad Bakhsh was still in the custody of the Hyderabad police, he said, Hussain moved to Islamabad some nine months ago to escape victimization at the hands of police and to earn a living.

“A week ago my lawyer conveyed me an offer of blood money from the Islamabad police with the message that by pursuing the case in court would not get me justice,” the father said.

A senior police officer of Islamabad, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, debunked the whole story. Hussain never came to Islamabad, let alone being abducted from the city, he said.

In his opinion the allegations leveled by the family against the Ramna police, and that it had to turn to the Islamabad High Court because the courts in Sindh did not entertain its complaints, were meant to build up pressure on the Hyderabad police to release Mohammad Bakhsh.

“We checked all routes, air, road and rail, but Hyderabad police’s travel to Islamabad was not confirmed,” the officer said. Neither do the call records of Hussain, his family members and those they claim witnessed his dentition show their presence in the city during the time period of the alleged events.

Hussain’s brother had killed two policemen of Hyderabad during a robbery early this year, the officer said. If the Hyderabad police wanted to settle scores they would have gone after the man in their custody, he argued.

A team of Islamabad police sent to Hyderabad to collect evidence found the encounter genuine, he said.

Why then was SHO Ramna removed?

“He was removed to ensure fair investigation into his conduct. After all, there were allegations of abduction, illegal detention and transfer of Hussain to CIA Hyderabad against him,” replied the officer.

A police spokesman said the outlaw killed in the encounter was identified as Hussain Bakhsh, son of Imam Bakhsh, wanted for the killing of policeman Khuda Bakhsh and injuring another Aijaz Chuck in the jurisdiction of the Cantonment Police Station in 2014.

Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2015