KARACHI: While throwing out the appeal of SHO Ismail Lashari against the order of the Sindh High Court for registration of a murder case against him for killing a 17-year-old boy in a fake encounter, the Supreme Court on Friday categorically warned Malir SSP Rao Anwar that he would be held responsible if any harm came either to the victim’s father or his family.
SHO Lashari, who along with other police officials was booked for killing Anisur Rahman Soomro on the SHC’s order on the petition of victim’s father, Anwar Soomro, had moved the apex court against the registration of the murder case against him by arguing that he was not heard by the high court.
Know more: SC summons IGP in ‘staged’ encounter case
A two-judge bench comprising Justices Amir Hani Muslim and Maqbool Baqar dismissed the plea of SHO Lashari as it found “no infirmity in the impugned judgment, which could warrant interference”.
The bench also ordered that SHO Lashari and other police officers involved in the Soomro murder case “shall not be given field posting” till the completion of a departmental inquiry against them.
Malir SSP directed to appear in court when summoned
At the outset of the hearing, the judges became irked when they perused the service record of SHO Lashari and two other police officers as it showed that the police officer was dismissed from service at least three times and demoted as many times besides being placed under suspension several times.
Inspector General of Police Ghulam Haider Jamali could not offer any explanation when Justice Hani asked him to justify if the police officer of such a patchy service record could be in uniform.
However, the IGP told the judges that he had formed an inquiry board comprising the city police chief and DIGs of East, South, Administration and Special Branch to investigate the allegation against the police officers.
IGP told to screen out shady cops in three months
He said that the law and order in the city was a serious issue and all-out efforts were being made to control the situation.
The IGP claimed that the situation had improved to a great extent across the province since he was posted as the provincial police chief. “Earlier, eight to 10 people were being targeted and killed daily, but now there is no targeted killing in the city,” he added.
The bench appreciated the IGP, but said that the situation could not be brought under control as long as there was political interference in policing.
The court directed the IGP to screen out all police officials having such patchy record and proceed against them under the police rules. “This exercise shall be completed by him within three months from today,” it further ordered.
Meanwhile, SSP Rao Anwar, represented by Advocate Abid S. Zuberi, filed his reply denying the allegation of the victim’s father that he was putting pressurise on him to withdraw the murder case of his son against the police officials.
However, on the request of the victim’s father the bench directed the Karachi South district and sessions judge, Ahmed Saba, to hold an inquiry into Mr Soomro’s allegation and submit a report within one month.
It ordered that the Malir SSP and any other person to be summoned by the district judge would have to appear before him during the course of the inquiry.
Besides, the bench transferred the investigation of the murder case against police officers to the East-SSP directing him to supervise the investigation and submit a final charge-sheet against the accused in the trial court.
The case had taken an intriguing turn on Thursday when Mr Soormo complained to the court that SSP Anwar was putting pressure on him to withdraw the murder case against policemen, offering him Rs2.5 million.
Earlier on Feb 5, the apex court had ordered the police authorities to suspend two SHOs who were facing an investigation for allegedly killing a man in a fake encounter, and restrain the police from posting them in the province without seeking a prior permission of the court.
The two SHOs along with other police officials were allegedly involved in the killing of 17-year-old Soomro in June 2014.
According to the victim’s father, Anis was a Class X student who was arrested along with his two friends by the Sachal police near Safoora Goth in Gulistan-i-Jauhar on June 12, 2014.
He had informed the judges that he had repeatedly visited the police station to learn reasons for the arrest of his son and his friends. But SHO Lashari demanded Rs500,000 for his son’s release and later killed him in a fake encounter, because he was unable to pay the bribe, he said.
Mr Soomro had also filed a petition in the district and sessions court in Malir on June 20, 2014 against the illegal confinement of his son, informing the judge that the police had threatened to kill his son if he could not pay the bribe that they had demanded.
Following the hearing, an official raided the police station on the order of the district and sessions judge, but the young boy was not found there.
Mr Soomro said his son had been detained for 10 days at the Sachal police station before he was taken to a nearby Afghan refugee camp where he was killed on June 22, 2014.
He said his son had never been associated with any militant group, although the police had initially claimed to have killed four Taliban, including the victim.
Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2015
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