LAHORE: Notorious for encounters and alleged extrajudicial killings during his service in Lahore police until about 15 years back, the former police inspector Abid Boxer’s arrest last Friday has put him in the spotlight once again.
A day after registration of a case under terrorism charges, the police registered on Sunday another case against him on the charges of extortion and kidnap for ransom.
The first information report (FIR) was registered with the Baghbanpura police on the complaint of the owner of a private hotel, Ahmad Ali. He alleged that four to five armed men came to his hotel at the behest of Abid Boxer and demanded Rs2m extortion money from him.
Ali said one of the intruders contacted Boxer on the spot who hurled life threats at him (the complainant) for not giving the demanded money. The suspects went away, giving Ali a deadline for a few days but returned and kidnapped him.
The complainant’s family managed to pay Rs1m to the extortionists and they released him to arrange the rest of the amount. The case has been referred to the newly established Organised Crime Unit (OCU) for investigation.
Earlier, the police inspector was booked for issuing death threats to the police officers that led to a raid at his Model Town residence last Friday.
Extortion, kidnap case registered against ‘encounter specialist’; family rejects escape report, fears for his life
During the raid, Abid Boxer was accused of attacking the OCU team.
The OCU officials said Abid Boxer allegedly attacked and tortured OCU DSP Muhammad Ali Butt who was leading the team that raided his house. They said the former police inspector fled the scene by snatching an official gun from a policeman, prompting the police to register a case against him under terrorism charges.
Shortly after Abid’s arrest, his wife made an appearance on the media and social media, accusing the OCU police of misuse of authority. She alleged that more than 60 armed police personnel entered her home, arrested Abid Boxer, tortured and thrashed him and took him out of his house. She rejected the allegations of the police that Abid had escaped from its custody, expressing fears for his life.
Abid’s wife demanded the higher authorities, including the chief justice of Pakistan and the inspector general of Punjab Police, to take notice of the incident.
She accused DSP Muhammad Ali Butt and inspectors Rashid Butt and Majid Bashir of making a forced entry into her home, overpowering her husband and then torturing him with gun butts. The raiding team also took away jewellery and other valuables besides DVR and CCTV cameras and broke the doors of the house, she alleged.
“My family is paying the heavy cost of old enmities Abid had developed,” she said and accused the raiding police officers of arresting her husband.
Sharing background to Abid
Boxer’s story, a police official said he had got ‘fame’ for his alleged extrajudicial killings some 15 years back.
Gaining notoriety as an encounter specialist, he said, Abid had wielded considerable influence among political and showbiz circles due to his alleged extrajudicial tactics to disposing off hardcore criminals when he was in service and got posted as the SHO at various police stations of the provincial capital. His real name is Abid Hussain Qureshi and he was a boxer by profession. He joined the police force in 1988 on the sports quota after passing out from the Government College Lahore (current GCU)
The official said the ex-police inspector was accused of killing several innocent people in the name of police encounters and became a well-known figure during the tenure of Shehbaz Sharif as the chief minister. Abid’s notoriety graph further increased in 2002 when he allegedly kidnapped and tortured film actor Nargis, tortured her and shaved her hair and eyebrows. Meanwhile, he was accused of developing his strong links with the underworld and gangsters operating in and outside the country.
In 2007, the police official further said, Abid Boxer escaped to the United Arab Emirates when the then CM Punjab issued orders for his arrest, following serious allegations of killing several innocent people in alleged fake encounters.
The police official added that local police authorities had declared him most wanted person and he was also dismissed from service in the wake of the departmental inquiries wherein he was held guilty of fake encounters and corruption.
In 2018, Abid was arrested through the Interpol and brought back to Pakistan. However, Abid managed to get bail from the Lahore High Court in all the cases.
At that time, the official said, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had also announced to move the court against Abid’s confession in which he revealed that he had carried out encounters on the orders of the then chief minister Shehbaz Sharif.
About Abid’s arrest, the official said, one of the instant reasons was that the former police inspector had asked an OCU ASI for reconciliation with the alleged killers of his (OCU official) brother. On refusing to do so, Abid hurled life threats at him and the ASI reported the matter to the OCU high-ups.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2023