KARACHI The Sindh High Court on Wednesday ordered the police to register a case against SSP Chaudhry Aslam and other police personnel for allegedly killing Abdur Rahman Baloch, better known as Rahman 'Dakait', and his three associates in a 'staged' police encounter.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh also directed the SHO of the Steel Town police station to appear along with the FIR book before the registrar of the court where the statements of the widow of Rahman Baloch and the sister of another killed suspect would be incorporated in the counter FIR.
The bench disposed of two identical petitions - filed by Farzana, widow of Rahman 'Dakait', and Farah, sister of Aurangzeb, respectively - who alleged that the four were killed in a fake police encounter.
SSP Mohammed Aslam Khan, who is widely known as Chaudhry Aslam, was earlier acquitted along with seven other police personnel by the SHC in the famous murder case of Rasul Bakhsh Brohi, a labourer who had come from Jamshoro to earn a living in Karachi.
Rahman Baloch's widow submitted that her husband had gone to Turbat, Balochistan, to have a business meeting with his friends - Aurangzeb Baloch, a transporter, Nazeer Baloch, a business partner, and Aqeel Ahmed Baloch, a shoe dealer - and the four were intercepted by the police on Aug 9, 2009 between 5pm and 5.30pm near Zero Point on the Coastal Highway and subsequently “kidnapped and kept somewhere else”.
The petitioner submitted that the four friends were killed on the night of Aug 10, 2009 in a fake encounter at a place near the Steel Town police station.
She stated that her husband enjoyed a reputation of a well-known social worker of Lyari and he was considered a hurdle in their way by some politicians as well as the bureaucracy, who were determined to eliminate him.
Assistant Advocate-General Adnan Karim Memon and Advocate Shaukat Zubedi, counsel for the provincial and city police chiefs, placed on record the report of an inquiry conducted by DIG Ghulam Qadir Thebo, SSP Mohammed Amin Yousufzai and SP Abdullah Shaikh. They also placed on record para-wise comments on the inquiry report.
The inquiry report concluded “From the evidence brought on record during the highly-impartial enquiry, the members of the Enquiry Committee are of the unanimous opinion that the allegation of killing the suspects in the fake encounter is not proved”.
Advocate Mujeeb Pirzada, counsel for the petitioners, strongly controverted the contents of the inquiry report and the para-wise comments on the ground that those were one-sided and the version of the petitioners was never recorded.
He submitted that despite their best efforts at all levels the petitioners' version in the shape of the proposed FIR was never entertained by the authorities.
He prayed to the court that the proposed FIR be incorporated in the FIR book.
He submitted in court that the petitioners could not go to the police station to lodge an FIR as they feared for their lives.
In the proposed FIR, Rahman's widow said “I make a complaint against Mohammed Aslam Khan, commonly known as Chaudhry Aslam, SSP East Zone, Sindh, and his party who due to old enmity and not giving “bhatta” earlier also registered false cases against my husband by showing fake encounters.
It is, therefore, prayed that a case of murder and kidnapping for ransom be registered against Mohammed Aslam (Chaudhry Aslam) and the police party and legal proceedings may be initiated against them”.
While disposing of the two petitions, the bench observed “In our opinion, the law does not countenance the refusal of any police officer to record the FIR vis-Ã -vis a cognizable offence. It is another matter as to what the result of such FIR would eventually be after investigation etc. In the proposed FIR entirely a different version has been given by the complainant, Mst Farzana.
There is no law which prohibits the lodging of a counter FIR and, in fact, in so many cases counter versions of same incident have been recorded”.
Allowing the petition of Rahman's widow to the extent that the SHO would lodge the counter FIR, the bench also granted the request of the petitioner and her counsel for appointing DIG Bashir Memon to conduct an “impartial investigation after the lodging of the FIR”.
The order concluded “Bashir Ahmed Memon, DIG, who is currently posted at police headquarter, Karachi, would carry out impartial investigation after lodging of the FIR.