Judicial inquiry into alleged torture of Mohsin Baig begins

Published February 20, 2022
Police officers escort mediaperson Mohsin Baig (C) for his court appearance, in Islamabad on Feb 16, 2022. — AP
Police officers escort mediaperson Mohsin Baig (C) for his court appearance, in Islamabad on Feb 16, 2022. — AP

ISLAMABAD: The district magistrate on Saturday initiated a judicial inquiry into alleged manhandling and torturing of senior mediaperson Mohsin Baig in police custody and refusal to give him access to a lawyer.

Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Athar Minallah on Friday directed the district magistrate to inspect the Margalla police station and probe the allegations of manhandling, torture and refusal to provide Mr Baig access to a lawyer.

The inspector general of police (IGP) was also directed to independently probe the alleged mistreatment of Mr Baig.

“It is reiterated that regardless of the gravity of offence, manhandling and torture of an accused during custody in a police station is intolerable and such acts are likely to espouse the responsible officials to consequences,” the IHC order stated.

IHC had asked district magistrate to probe allegations; IGP also directed to independently investigate Mr Baig’s ‘mistreatment’

Sources in the capital administration and police said in response to the order, District Magistrate Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat sought the record of Rescue 15, Safe City, police wireless communication and record of the police station, including daily diary (Roznamcha).

The district magistrate also recorded the statement of Mr Baig and officials of the police and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Besides, he sought the footage of CCTVs installed at the Margalla police station. The district magistrate along with other relevant officers of the capital administration also visited the police station.

Senior police officers, including the superintendent of police Saddar, were questioned, the sources said, adding that the team of the administration also inspected the police station.

Mr Shafqaat nominated the additional district magistrate for further proceedings, including checking the record and footage of the Safe City and the police station.

The additional district magistrate has been asked to complete the inquiry and prepare a report till Sunday night.

Sources in the police said the IGP appointed Deputy Inspector General of Police Headquarters Sadiq Ali Dogar to inquire the matter. The DIG recorded the statement of the police and FIA officials and sought the record of the police station, Rescue 15 and Safe City.

The reports of the two are likely to be submitted to the IHC on Monday. The additional district magistrate and the DIG will appear before the court on behalf of the district magistrate and the IGP.

According to the sources, the two inquiry teams questioned the station house officer, duty officer and those who were present in the police station when Mr Baig was brought there after his arrest.

The teams also examined the medical report of Mr Baig.

The FIA team was also questioned and its members told the inquiry teams that Mr Baig along with others attacked and manhandled them to avoid arrest.

The police said they reached the house of Mr Baig after getting information about the attack on the FIA team, the sources added.

Mr Baig told the inquiry teams that unidentified persons raided his house in the morning of Feb 16 when he was asleep. He woke up when his family started shouting. On inquiry, the unidentified persons told him that they had come to arrest him.

Mr Baig said he asked for the arrest warrant but they failed to produce any. He then called Rescue 15 and informed it that some robbers had raided his house, adding that he had been receiving threats for a couple of days.

The senior superintendent of police also reached the house and Mr Baig told him that he was ready to surrender if the FIA team showed him the arrest warrant, the sources said. Later, he was taken to the SHO’s room at the Margalla police station where seven FIA officials tortured him, he alleged.

As a result, he suffered injuries to his nose and ribs and also started bleeding, Mr Baig said, adding that the police took him out and roamed around on the pretext of a medical examination till 2am.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2022

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