KARACHI: A police inquiry into the kidnapping and killing of a Faisalabad-based lawyer in August has come to a conclusion that the Sukkur police, without following proper procedures, arrested/abducted the advocate from Punjab, kept him in illegal custody, tortured him to death and threw his body in Rahim Yar Khan desert.
It found that the crime was committed just to favour a party involved in a property dispute with the deceased and at the behest of a local influential figure.
“The most sorrowful part of this whole incident is that [Advocate] Aijaz Ahmed Arain was kept in illegal custody, he was tortured and subsequently he died while in illegal custody and his dead body was thrown out in a deserted area outside provincial boundary,” said the report of the inquiry conducted by DIG Naeem Ahmed Shaikh on the orders of the Sindh police chief.
Exemplary action recommended
“These acts are not only criminal but also inhuman at the same time. No person of the sane mind can condone these acts. The role of Sukkur police in this regard should not only be condemned but exemplary action is required to be taken against those responsible,” the DIG wrote in the report.
The inquiry came to the conclusion that the FIR registered against the lawyer at Sukkur-Cantt police station in July was with “mala fide intention to pressure Aijaz Ahmed Arain who has property dispute”.
IGP recommends action against Sukkur SSP
It found that senior officers of the Sukkur police were “involved in facilitating the registration of a false case,” allegedly at the behest of a local influential figure.
The inquiry said that after registering a false FIR, subsequent actions such as arrest of the lawyer from Faisalabad, his illegal detention at Sukkur, injuries on his body causing his death and disposing of the body outside the provincial boundary of Sindh was “in knowledge” of senior officers of the Sukkur police, including SSP Irfan Samoo, and “they are directly or indirectly responsible for these acts”.
The inquiry recommended actions against the senior officers of the Sukkur police as they were involved in ‘misusing’ their authority to favour one party in ‘dispute over property’, committed a ‘criminal conspiracy’ and demonstrated ‘poor supervision and inefficiency’.
The inquiry officer also recommended that a DIG-ranked police officer should be appointed as the ‘focal person’ for coordination in the investigation process to collect proper evidence and prosecute the matter in Sindh and Punjab.
In the light of the findings of the inquiry, Inspector General of Sindh Police Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar has written a letter to the home secretary to refer the ‘misconduct report’ against SSP Samoo to the establishment division “for taking further necessary action as per existing rules”, said a senior officer familiar with this development.
The inquiry report said that the Sukkur police had registered an FIR on July 1, 2020 against the said lawyer of Faisalabad on a complaint of a resident of Pano Aqil.
A Sukkur police party “instead of following the procedure” proceeded directly to district Faisalabad and arrested Aijaz Ahmed Arain on Aug 17 and brought him to Sukkur, it said, adding: “They kept him in illegal confinement and tortured him and he ultimately died while in illegal custody of Sukkur district police.”
“The dead body of deceased was then thrown out in the jurisdiction of police station Bhong, district Rahim Yar Khan,” the report said, adding that when the body was recovered on Aug 22 and identified, it came to the notice that a police party of Sukkur district arrested him from Faisalabad “without due process of law, which amounts to abduction”.
The lawyer’s widow had lodged an FIR against the Sukkur police and other private persons at the Madina police station, Faisalabad.
Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2020