ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed has observed that society will respect and regard police only if the present constabulary system is done away with and replaced with police officers.

“Police constables follow orders only and are not ashamed or concerned with the image of their department if tarnished due to their actions or excesses,” he observed on Tuesday while hearing the case of 10-year-old Amal Umer, who was shot dead in firing between police and robbers in Karachi in 2018.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench also consisting of Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah had taken up a suo motu case on the tragic incident in September 2018.

While disposing of the case, the SC bench described as paltry the offer made by the Sindh government to grant a compensation of Rs500,000 to the parents of the deceased girl.

10-year-old Amal Umer was shot dead in exchange of fire between police and robbers

“The amount of the compensation money needs to be reasonable,” observed the chief justice while dictating the order. He ordered the provincial government to pay Rs500,000 to the parents of the deceased as compensation and deposit Rs500,000 in Rah-i-Amal Trust, which has been established by the parents.

Additional Advocate General for Sindh Sibtain Mahmood informed the apex court that the Sindh police did not have any legal provision to grant such a huge compensation.

But the chief justice observed that the court was issuing orders to release the compensation of Rs1 million.

“This is the highest-ever compensation money being paid to the victim family on the orders of the apex court,” commented senior counsel Faisal Siddiqui while talking to Dawn. The counsel was representing the parents of the deceased girl.

However the parents will be entitled to seek compensation or remedy for the negligence on the part of police in accordance with the law.

Referring to the recommendations of the Sindh Health Commission, the parents were allowed to utilise the report to seek further relief through any other proceedings under the law through the forums concerned.

The order also noted that the Sindh police have dismissed two officers who were responsible for the shooting of Amal, besides criminal cases were also pending in relevant courts.

The parents of Amal, if wish to, can also join such proceedings so that the officials involved in the heinous crime be dealt with in accordance with the law.

Meanwhile, recommendations of the special committee constituted by the Supreme Court in the Amal killing case would be complied with all relevant authorities, the court said.

During the hearing, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah recalled that compensation was paid to the family of Sarfraz Shah, a young man killed by the personnel of Pakistan Rangers outside a Karachi park on June 9, 2011.

Rah-i-Amal Trust

Rah-i-Amal Trust was established by the parents of Amal Umer in Karachi in December 2019 to provide assistance to those who do not receive cooperation from hospitals in cases of emergency.

The trust will promote collaboration and knowledge sharing among health institutions working in Pakistan and abroad. It will work for the establishment of an integrated emergency service in Sindh.

The trust will also raise funds or receive voluntary contributions, donations, subscriptions, legacies, endowments or grants, to accept and receive any gift or property to be used for activities of the trust.

On Sept 27, 2018, a special committee was constituted on the orders of the Supreme Court to propose legislative changes for private hospitals so that they could not refuse to provide treatment to the injured in emergency cases.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2020