ISLAMABAD: Five people, including two women, were arrested on the charge of trespassing on the farmhouse of Minister for Science and Technology Senator Azam Swati and beating his guards.
The arrested slum dwellers were produced in a court on Monday from where they were sent to jail on a judicial remand, the police said.
The relatives and neighbours of the arrested people staged a protest at the National Press Club on Monday.
They were carrying placards and chanting slogans against the minister and demanding his removal. They regretted that the slum dwellers, including teenagers, were put behind bars after one of their animals entered the land of the minister.
They alleged that the guards of the senators confiscated a buffalo and later beat up a boy when he came to take it back. The guards also attacked the boy’s house and beat his family members. The police said that on Oct 26 animals of people from Bajaur, who have established slums on government land by encroaching it, damaged Mr Swati’s farmhouse. The police said the guards deployed at the farmhouse asked the slum dwellers to remove the animals but the latter who were armed with axes and batons beat them and snatched their weapons.
The police registered the case against the slum dwellers on the complaint of Mr Swati’s son Usman Mr Ali and arrested three of the nominated people on Oct 26 and two on Oct 27.
The FIR said earlier complaints had been lodged against the slum dwellers with the inspector general of the police (IGP) for allegedly threatening the family of Mr Swati.
When contacted, Mr Swati told Dawn that the transfer of IGP Jan Mohammad had nothing to do with the case. He said Jan Mohammad was appointed as the IGP Islamabad by the caretaker government before the July 25 general election and a decision had already been made to transfer him.
There were already a number of complaints against the IGP which were also in the knowledge of the prime minister, he said.
“People from Afghanistan and tribal areas are residing on encroached land and they brought their animals for grazing in my farmhouse on Oct 26. When the guards asked them to remove the animals they attacked and injured them,” he added.
The issue was shortly brought under the knowledge of the deputy superintendent of police and the SSP Islamabad and later a complaint was faxed to the IGP as asked by the SSP.
Mr Swati said the IGP was contacted on his mobile phone after making 38 calls and he promised action on his complaint. The next day, he added, the IGP was approached again to get a follow-up and in response he replied: “No one has talked to you yet?”
On his attitude, “I lodged complaints with the prime minister, the Senate chairman, leader of the house and the state minister for interior,” the minister added.
The IGP could not be contacted for comments as his mobile was switched off.
A senior police officer told Dawn that the family of Mr Swati had produced evidence showing the dwellers of slum attacking and beating the guards after bringing their animals to the farmhouse.
A medical examination of the guards was conducted and later the FIR was registered, the officer said.
He said the slum dwellers did not lodge a counter-complaint though they claimed that the guards had beaten them. Besides, no injured person was produced in support of their claim.
Officials in the police, capital administration and the interior ministry said the decision to transfer the IGP was made weeks ago.
They said the IGPs Punjab and Sindh appointed before the election had also been removed.
Published in Dawn, October 30th , 2018