KARACHI: Former LTF chief, aides released on bail

December 25, 2007

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KARACHI, Dec 24: After spending over 16 months in prison, the former chief of the now defunct Lyari Task Force (LTF), SP Muhammad Aslam Khan, and two other officials were released on Monday evening after they succeeded in getting bail from the Sindh High Court.

SP Khan, DSP Irfan Bahadur and Inspector Safdar Shah were granted bail by a bench of the Sindh High Court comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Afzal Soomro on Monday in the famous Rasool Bux Brohi murder case.

Brohi was killed in a fake encounter in July 2006, although the police at that time claimed to have killed notorious dacoit Mashooq Brohi. Later, an inquiry was conducted and it came out that the police had killed an innocent man and described him as a most wanted criminal just to claim the reward money and get promotions.

A case was registered on the complaint of the widow of Rasool Bux Brohi at the Sakrand police station and a number of policemen including, SP Khan, were arrested.

The accused filed their bail applications through counsel Aamir Mansoob who took the plea that his clients were falsely implicated in the killing case and the star witness, Siddiqui Brohi alias Pandha, at the time of an examination before the court did not corroborate the case of complainant Lal Bibi and retracted his earlier statement made under Section 164 of the criminal procedure code.

He submitted that a charge-sheet was filed before the Malir District and Sessions judge on December 3, 2007 and it has been proved that the police encounter was genuine.

“The deceased had used different names and Mashooq Brohi was one of his names,” he said, adding that the deceased’s real name was, however, Rasool Bux Brohi.

Mr Mansoob referred to three instances in which Mashooq Brohi was killed. He submitted that in 1992 an FIR was lodged whereby eight dacoits were killed in an encounter. The gang leader, who was also killed, was known as Mashooq Brohi. Later, he submitted, in July 2006 another encounter took place and Mashooq Brohi was again killed. Finally on December 12, 2007 another encounter was held in which police claimed to have killed Mashooq Brohi.

He argued that of all the three cases, a DNA test was carried out in only one case. The DNA test of the man killed in the July 2006 encounter was conducted from a biological laboratory in Lahore and according to the finding the deceased Mashooq Brohi was the son of Ismail and Pathani.

He also submitted that the case was being tried before a court in Sakrand for the last 18 months and the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence against his clients. He prayed the court to grant bail as the matter needs further inquiry.

Additional advocate-general Arshad Lodhi, however, opposed the bail application and submitted that the trial court was recording the statements of witnesses and there was no delay.

For reasons to be recorded later, the court, through a brief order, granted bail to SP Khan, DSP Bahadur and Inspector Shah in the sum of Rs500,000 each.

Meanwhile, the release orders of the accused police officials took extra time to reach the Karachi Central Prison. Sources said that the release order was faxed from the Nawabshah sessions court to the Landhi jail, as the fax machine of the central prison was out of order. Later, an official of the Landhi jail brought the faxed order to the central prison and the jail authorities released the three officials.

City police chief Azhar Ali Farooqi told Dawn that the three police officials, including SP Khan, were still suspended.

However, he maintained that the government had the authority to reinstate any suspended police official regardless of a case or an inquiry pending against him at any forum.

He said that the report of a re-inquiry into the killing of Rasool Bux Brohi has been completed and sent to the Inspector-General Police (IGP) Sindh. He refused to divulge findings of the inquiry saying it was a confidential report.