LAHORE: Another alleged torture cell of the police surfaced in Lahore after a young gardener detained there illegally died in ‘custody.’

The issue surfaced when the policemen brought Amir Masih to the Services Hospital Lahore in a critical condition late on Monday night where he died instantly.

Later, it transpired that the policemen had subjected him to severe torture on a private premises in the Cantonment area where they kept him in illegal detention for five days or so for interrogation.

The relatives of the deceased got infuriated and blocked Jail Road for traffic against the police.

The IGP ordered an inquiry into the matter and directed Lahore DIG Investigation Dr Inam Waheed to reach the police station and submit a detailed report to him.

Six policemen suspended

It was the second incident of torture cell of police detected in Lahore. Earlier, a cell had been unearthed in the building of forest department in the Gujjarpura police area where some nine people were detained illegally.

Of them, one Amjad Ali, who was found with bone fracture and in a critical condition died later at a hospital.

Four police officials, including the Gujjarpura SHO, had been suspended and a murder case was lodged against them.

In the fresh case surfaced late on Monday, the DIG Investigation in his report to the IGP confirmed that Amir Masih (28) was illegally detained in the private cell that was established by the North Cantonment investigation police.

He said sub-inspector Zeshan and four police constables were directly involved in the act which led to the death of Amir.

He said according to the record, Amir was not arrested in any case lodged against him. On the report of Dr Inam Waheed, the IGP ordered suspension of in-charge investigation of North Cantt police Nasir Baigh, Zeshan and all other [four] policemen.

A murder case was also lodged against them at the same police station on the complaint of deceased’s brother Sani Masih.

In a handout issued in this regard on Tuesday, IGP retired Capt Arif Nawaz Khan expressed his displeasure over the illegal detention of citizens and officials abusing their power.

He stated that power abusers would not remain a part of the police force. He directed officers to speed up the process of conducting surprise visits to police stations to curb the menace of illegal detentions and torture.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2019