Probe holds two policemen responsible for student’s murder in Peshawar

Published November 19, 2021
A judicial commission has held two police constables responsible for killing a college student in Faqirabad area in March this year. — AFP/File
A judicial commission has held two police constables responsible for killing a college student in Faqirabad area in March this year. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: A judicial commission has held two police constables responsible for killing a college student in Faqirabad area here in March this year and declared the use of force by them against him a reckless disregard for the law.

Student Mubashir Ahmad, a resident of Bannu, was shot dead in the limits of Faqirabad police station in the early hours of March 8.

He along with his friends was travelling in a car late night to eat snacks when police personnel opened fire on it. The bullet wounds killed Mubashir in hospital.

Following widespread social media outrage, the Peshawar High Court had constituted one-member judicial commission led by Mardan district session judge Dr Khurshid Iqbal to determine ‘causes and facts’ of the incident.

According to the commission’s 18-page report, a copy of which is available with Dawn, weighing the respective contentions of the both parties, the commission has reached the conclusion that certain key circumstances, discussed in detail, preponderantly support a proposition that the accused, including constables Rohullah and Rustam, have fired at the car of the complainant party that resulted in the death of Mubashir.

Peshawar constables behind bars, being tried by ATC

“The accused constables have neglected their duty of care as per law they were bound to obey in attending circumstances of the unfortunate incident by using the lethal arms,” the report said.

The commission said the probe failed to find any justification at all for use of force that led to the killing of young boy.

“An element of reckless disregard could be seen in this unlawful act,” it declared.

The report noted that on the fateful night Mubashir Ahmad along with friends Ziaullah and Mohammad Haris left a Khyber Super Market to have tea and some outing. “Around 2:20am near city railway station, the slain student got out of car to relieve himself. He returned to the car within moment and then gunshots were heard the Mubashir fell inside the car saying he has been hurt.”

According to the report, two policemen with arms and riding a motorbike reached the car and upon being told a person has been hit, the cops directed them to rush to the hospital. Mubashir later died of wounds at hospital.

Regarding the analysis of the evidence and witness statements, the commission noted that Ziaullah, the complainant in the case, who had earlier told police that he had not seen anyone firing at the car; however, later disputed his own version and said that SHO Faqirabad Hassan Khan had pressurised him to saying so. However, the report said that officer denied coercing the witnesses into changing his statement.

The report said accused constables Rohullah and Rustam though denied opening fire at the vehicle; however, Rustam returned seven rounds less than 30 given to him. However, no one asked to explain the cop to missing rounds. “The number of less live rounds suggests that constable Rustam did make the firing,” it said.

It said that police personnel also told the commission there was no general information of security threats including the presence of certain criminal people such as thieves, drugs addicts, smugglers or even terrorists.

The commission noted that a relative of the slain produced before it a medical report of constable Rustam showing him test positive for the use of the tetrahydrocannabinol drug. The constable denied taking any drug on the night the incident took place.

The commission recommended the responsible commanding officers shall ensure that the lower ranks, at least while on duty, are not under the influence of any drug or psychotropic substance and its violation leads to strict disciplining.

It has also recommended that the personnel performing duties of the station house officers shall be trained and counseled to act more responsibly and efficiently in a serious situation like the one in question.

“At police stations, proper well-defined record of issuance, return and change of arms and ammunition may be introduced with a clear and predictable accountability mechanism,” it said.

The commission also called for augmenting training on use of force and arms and the existing regime may be revised with more nuanced one.

A spokesman for police told Dawn that both constables were behind bars on the charge of killing the youth and that Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act had been added to the FIR.

He said the accused were being tried by an anti-terrorism court.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2021

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