Accusations have arisen against the Lahore police, claiming that they had framed a minor boy in connection with a case related to the May 9 riots and had been subjecting his family to harassment. These alleged actions led to the demise of the boy’s father, according to the family’s legal representative.
The Lahore deputy inspector general, in a press conference later in the day, refuted the allegations, which were trending on social media and highlighted by human rights campaigners like lawyer Jibran Nasir.
He also maintained that the police investigation “contests” that the boy is a minor.
Meanwhile, lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir called for the National Commission of Human Rights and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan to visit the family of the boy and investigate the facts about the incident themselves since the Punjab police “can hardly be trusted with any clarification”.
Nasir said the “freehand” given to the police “seems to have completely erased any sense of accountability towards public in the police”.
According to the lawyer of the boy’s family, he was wrongly booked in a case pertaining to May 9.
The PTI chairman’s arrest on May 9 had resulted in widespread violence and saw important military installations come under attack, on the basis of which the state had launched a severe crackdown against his party. While Imran Khan was released the next day, thousands of PTI workers and almost the entire top-tier leadership was rounded up.
Lahore Bar Association (LBA) President Rana Intezar released a video message today to tell the “real story” about the case of his client, who he said was 14 years old. Intezar said he had secured bail for the minor and was handling the matter on a pro bono basis.
“He has five sisters who took him to the Ghalib Market police station [saying] that ‘he annoys [us] at home so scare him a bit’ but the police instead implicated him [on a case] around the May 9 events just to show their efficiency,” he said, alleging that the police had also “sexually harassed” the boy’s sisters.
Intezar said the boy secured bail after 50 days from an anti-terrorism court on Aug 9. “The police raided his house that very night and his mother and father begged them to not bother them since their son had secured bail,” he added. “They are very poor people and live in a one marla house.”
The LBA president said the police launched another raid on the night of Aug 10 at 2am and kept bothering the minor’s sisters as well, adding that there was a third raid at 4am.
“Four police vehicles went and [the police officers] made a mess of their house. His mother kept telling the police that the father “is a heart patient and he will die”.
Intezar said the father then died after going to a hospital, adding that the police even arrived at his funeral prayers, because of which the heirs could not attend their father’s rites due to the alleged harassment and threats.
“This cruelty does not end here. The family is living in different places having left their home despite the [father’s] death,” he said.
Intezar also questioned why there was a need for the house raid despite the bail for the minor.
The LBA president said he had repeatedly contacted senior police officials about the matter to no avail and the police agencies only sprung into action when the incident started trending on social media.
“This is highhandedness on the police’s behalf and it seemed like the Israeli police committing injustice against the Palestinians. These were the real facts of the case,” Intezar said and called for an end to harassment, action against police officials involved and the minor to be discharged from the case against him.
A day ago, the Lahore police termed insinuations that the father died from police violence as “propaganda, fabricated story, untrue and baseless”.
Lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir posed questions for the Lahore police to answer regarding the minor’s age, his arrest in connection to May 9 events, his release after prolonged detention and his re-arrest.
“If the answer to these questions is yes, then who is responsible for causing torture and trauma to the boy’s family, especially his father, and damaging their health to such an extent, if not the Punjab police and Lahore capital city police officer?”
Meanwhile, Barrister Taimur Malik said information circulating online about the minor showed he was actually 13. “Therefore, independent fact-finding must also be done by National Commission on The Rights of Child as this is as much a child rights issue as a human rights issue,” he added.
Addressing a press conference on the matter, Lahore Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) (operations) Syed Ali Nasir Rizvi termed the father’s passing a “medical death” and said there was no police involvement in it.
“We never coerced anyone at any level or psychologically pressured them or did any highhandedness.”
He also equated sensationalising such incidents and inciting people as “nothing less than terrorism”. DIG Rizvi said the matter was raised with the Federal Investigation Agency and its cybercrime wing as well, adding that the police had material evidence present as well.
Reacting to the press conference, Intezar told Dawn.com that the police were “distorting” the facts. He said the police were conducting raids at the boy’s house either to harass his family or in relation to an undisclosed first information report.
“We have tried to get details of the other case, but they are not sharing [them] with us,” he said and called on senior police and government officials to take departmental action against the police personnel involved.
Separately, releasing details of the cases against the minor, the Lahore police said he was arrested in a case registered at the Gulberg police station, sent on judicial remand and released on bail by an anti-terrorism court on Aug 9.
It added that he was also wanted in another case registered on May 10 at the Racecourse police station and failed to respond to two summon notices.
“For the purpose of compliance, the police party went to the house of the accused on the night of August 10/11, but the house was locked so the police party returned.
“Let it be known that bail in one case is not legally admissible in another case. No incident of violence took place during the raid and the father of the accused died of natural causes,” the police said.