JHANG: The district police have long been showing reluctance to register criminal cases resulting in a flood of petitions to district courts seeking case registration in recent months.

Chaudhry Khalid Pervaiz, civil society activist and former member of Punjab Bar Council, Qamar Abbas Zaidi, district coordinator of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission and Liaquat Ali Anjum, president of the press club, told Dawn that one of the reasons for the police’s behaviour was to show that the district was crime free. Public complaints, however, show the other side.

Session courts have been receiving petitions about the non-registration of cases in recent months. There are also numerous instances where police stubbornly turned down court orders to register a case and the complainant was compelled to move a contempt application in the court. Moreover, the police after registering a case on strict court orders did not pursue the case.

Haji Ghulam Ali approached the police to lodge a robbery case. He was returning to Mandi Shah Jewna on his motorcycle when two gunmen held him near the Shah Jewna drain and deprived him of Rs130,000 two weeks ago. He alerted Qadirpur police but the police did not register a case.

Abdul Aziz’s case is not different. Dacoits broke into his house in Mandi Shah Jewna last month, held the family hostage by locking them into a room, and fled after looting cash and jewelry worth 250,000. The police have yet to register the case.

Another example of the police apathy is the case of Syed Azam Shah, of Mandi Shah Jewna. Gunmen struck his jewelry shop, held guard hostage, broke CCTV cameras and took away Rs400,000, four kilo silver and 15 tolas gold. The Qadirpur police instead of registering a dacoity case lodged a theft case.

Similarly, a lawyer approached the police with a complaint that some miscreants demolished a wall at his residential plot one month ago but his case has not been registered. Also, the Kotwali police refused to listen to Rana Ghulam Arif, a journalist, who while covering an incident of hooliganism was thrashed by gunmen, who also deprived him of his mobile phone.

Famous doctor of the city Dr Muhammad Sarwar has been mistreated by the Kotowali police. A few weeks ago, the gunmen entered his house on Gojra Road and looted 50 tolas golden jewellery and Rs7 million.

The Kotwali police initially showed him cold shoulders. Since the complainant is a relative of a highly influential politician, and soon the top political personality was involved in the issue, the police had to register a case but the police have its own way of revenge. In the FIR, the quantity of looted articles both in cash and jewelry was reduced to lessen the intensity of the crime. This time, the police, however, swung into action and arrested almost all the jewelers of the city. Fake recoveries were made to satisfy the influential doctor.

Four days ago, gunmen broke into the house of businessman Chaudhry Shafqat in Satellite Town, and left after looting moveable property worth hundreds of thousands.

The matter was reported to the Satellite Town and was great with usual apathy. The complainant has also met the district police officer to get the case registered but to no avail.

When contacted, the police public relation officer said they were following a policy of verification of facts of a case application so as to avoid registration of fake cases. He chose not to respond, that it is incumbent upon police under section 144 of the CrPC to immediately register a case on receiving an application, contents of which narrate the commission of a cognizable offence.

PTI lawmakers Sahibzada Mahboob Sultan and Amir Sultan have tabled a privileged motion against the DPO for paying no attention to public complaints.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2020

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