ISLAMABAD Horrified by a brutal incident of vigilante justice, the Supreme Court on Friday came down hard on law-enforcement personnel and their superior officers who stood by and watched as two young brothers were tortured and then hanged by a mob in Sialkot.
It ordered Anti-Corruption Director General Justice (retd) Kazim Malik to investigate the matter. No-one would dare to take law into his own hands if police had the courage and command to eradicate such brutal and inhuman practices from the society, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry observed while heading a bench which had taken a suo motu action on the matter.
On Aug 15, dozens of people publicly beat to death two young brothers, Hafiz Mughees, 15, and Hafiz Muneeb, 19, in the presence of Sialkot District Police Officer Waqar Chauhan and eight other police officers who watched the brutal act as silent spectators. The bodies were later hanged upside down on the chowk.
Litigants and counsel were shocked and the atmosphere became tense when the gruesome video footage aired by a private TV channel was shown in the courtroom. And it was too much to bear for the grief-stricken grandfather and father of the deceased who started wailing after watching it.
When DPO Chauhan informed the court that the SHO concerned had been arrested, but culprits were yet to be detained, the chief justice said he (Mr Chauhan) deserved to be suspended and sent to jail straightaway. The negligence shown by police could not be ignored, the CJ observed.
“What message have you given to the world about Pakistan,” he asked the DPO and said “Nowhere in a civilised society such an incident takes place in the presence of police.”
He said the country was already facing disasters and crisis with people dying of hunger, but police were indulging in extra-judicial killings.
The chief justice deplored the apathy of top police officers and senior federal government officials who were aware of the incident.
“Not only it was the duty of police to stop those who were beating the two brothers, but the people in the mob should also have shown moral courage by preventing the beating,” the chief justice said.
Secretary establishment Ismail Qureshi, who had been urgently summoned, informed the court that there was no dearth of good and honest officers who could probe the matter independently.
The court ordered him to ask the Punjab government to take strict disciplinary action against Superintendent Police (investigations) Mohammad Afzal and DPO Chauhan.
The Inspector General of Punjab was directed to take strict action against the police officers who were present at the crime scene but did nothing to stop it. The case will be taken up again on Sept 1.
Our Sialkot Correspondent adds District Police Officer Sialkot Waqar Ahmad Chauhan and SP investigation were made officer on special duty on Friday by the Inspector-General of Police, Punjab.
The police, meanwhile, registered a case against 14 policemen, including the suspended SHO, in the wake of the murder of two brothers on Aug 15.
Inspector Rana Mohammad Ilyas was SHO Sadar when the mob tortured the two brothers to death suspecting them to be robbers.