Salahuddin's death: LHC to decide on Punjab govt request for judicial inquiry by high court judge

September 16, 2019

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Salahuddin Ayubi, a resident of Gujranwala, was arrested in Rahim Yar Khan when he was allegedly caught stealing from an ATM machine on Aug 31. Two days later, he was reported dead. — YouTube screengrab
Salahuddin Ayubi, a resident of Gujranwala, was arrested in Rahim Yar Khan when he was allegedly caught stealing from an ATM machine on Aug 31. Two days later, he was reported dead. — YouTube screengrab

The registrar of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday said that a decision on the Punjab government's letter requesting that a high court judge be nominated to conduct a judicial inquiry over the custodial death of an alleged ATM robber Salahuddin Ayubi will be taken after the LHC chief justice returns to the country.

In a letter written to the LHC registrar on September 11, the Punjab government asked that a judge of the high court be nominated to constitute a one-man tribunal to hold a judicial inquiry to ascertain the facts and circumstances for Ayubi's death in police custody and to suggest measures to prevent any such incident in the future.

In a separate letter written on Sept 5, the provincial government had asked for a judicial officer to be appointed to hold a judicial inquiry into the matter. The high court's registrar today disposed of this request saying that a senior civil judge was already conducting an inquiry into Salahuddin's death.

In the wake of Ayubi's death, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had ordered a judicial inquiry into the matter.

Ayubi, a resident of Gujranwala, was arrested in Rahim Yar Khan when he was allegedly caught stealing from an ATM machine on Aug 31. Two days later, he was reported dead. According to the district police officer's spokesperson Zeeshan Randhawa, Ayubi was behaving like a "mad man" in lockup when he "suddenly became unwell". He had said that the man was unconscious when he was shifted to the emergency ward of Sheikh Zayed Medical College Hospital, where doctors confirmed his death.

Following Ayubi's death, RY Khan city Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Abbas Akhtar was suspended from service for alleged misconduct/inefficiency in handling the case and Rahim Yar Khan DPO Umar Farooq Salamat was also removed from his post. Investigation Superintendent of Police Habibullah Khan was given additional charge of the DPO office, however, he was also transferred from the post for allegedly influencing the case probe after the victim’s father complained to the Punjab chief minister on the matter.