PAKISTAN: Police forced to release eight women and four children after holding them as hostages for 16 days — arrestees allegedly manhandled by officers in captivity

The Sindh police have at last early this morning released the eight women and four children whom they took hostage in order to secure the surrender of a suspected bandit. The illegal arrest and detention of the women and children were apparently ordered by top ranking officials of the Sindh police. The victims were held incommunicado, allegedly manhandled during custody and were moved constantly. Only one meal a day was provided and the children are unwell with fevers and dehydration. 

The Asian Human Rights Commission closely followed the case which exposed the criminal acts and working of the police and constantly urged the police to release the arrestees. Yesterday, December 10, the AHRC sent an application to the chief justice of Sindh high court asking for a sou moto action to ask police to release the hostages and also take action against the police for keeping them in illegal detention. However, before the honourable chief justice of Sindh could take action the police has released them. 

The police officers allegedly involved in the heinous crimes of arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and physical abuse of the arrestees are: Mr. Sana Ullah Abbasi, Deputy Inspector, Hyderabad region, Mr. Ghulam Nabi Memon, District Police Officer, Hyderabad District, Mr. Rukhsar Khawarh, District Police Officer, Nawab Shah, Mr. Azeem Tunio, District Police Officer of Tando Allahyar, Mr. Hussain Bux Dal, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Tando Allahyar, Mr. Jam Qurban Mallah, Station House Officer (SHO) Tando Jam and Mr. Usman Laghari, ex- SHO of Tando Allahyar along with other officials of the Sindh police. 

The AHRC condemns the action of the Sindh police in keeping innocent women and children in illegal detention for 16 days and making them hostage in return for the surrender of a suspected bandit. The act of the Sindh police is no better than the behaviour of the bandits, or dacoits that take people hostages for ransom. The police are duty bound to implement the law, not to violate the law or take it into their own hands. How can the criminals be expected to mend their ways when they see the police acting in contradiction of the law they have sworn to protect. 

The Sindh government must share the responsibility for this same crime which was carried out by their own police officers as they took no notice of the abduction of 12 innocent persons. The question that arises now is to how the provincial government can keep or maintain the rule of law and order when it allows powerful people to break it with seeming impunity. The fact that the real criminals in this case are high ranking police and government officers makes it very much worse. 

The AHRC urges President Mr. Asif Zardari to take strong action against the police officers responsible for this act and bring them before the law. Immediate inquiries must be made as to, not only how this was allowed to happen, but why little or no action was taken to rectify the situation. The victims should be offered medical assistance and compensated for their ordeal.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-316-2008
Countries : Pakistan,