PAKISTAN: Call for removal of DIG Manzoor Mughal from the investigation into the murder case of Faraz Ahmed Naveed
In the light of the decision by the Pakistan government to remove one of its leading investigators from the well known Karachi bomb blast case, the Asian Human Rights Commission also urges that the investigation into the murder of Mr. Faraz Ahmed Naveed should also be removed from this officer for the same reasons of partiality and ineffectiveness. Mr. Farraz, 21, the son of a well known journalist and human rights defender, was assassinated for the purpose of taking revenge on and intimidating his father for engaging in human rights work.
The government of Pakistan has removed the Investigation officer, Mr. Manzoor Mughal, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Sindh police, from the investigations of the bomb blasts of October 18. 2007, during the welcoming procession of Ms. Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, in which more than 140 people died and several hundred were injured.
This decision of removing him from the investigation is generally welcomed by the people of Pakistan as Mr. Mughal is commonly known as a person who, rather than conduct a serious investigation in cases of blasts and killings of people, will just put the blame on suicide attacks thereby helping the actual perpetrators to escape the clutches of the law. The high profile cases which were investigated under his office were all proved unsuccessful due to incompetent and insufficient investigations. Lately, Mr. Gul Hassan, who was declared by the DIGs office after investigations as a wanted and dangerous terrorist received 23 death sentences by the Anti- Terrorist court, was acquitted by Sindh high court. The court also released one Akram Lahori, who was charged as a terrorist and the murderer of the chairman of a state corporation, after an investigation by Manzoor Mughal.
Mr. Mughal has been the in-charge of Investigations of crimes throughout the province for several years. According to Ms. Benazir Bhutto, Mr. Mughal was involved in cutting the tongue of Mr. Asif Ali Zadari, her spouse, in the course of an investigation. He is also publicly accused of stopping the process of the investigation into the murder case of Mir Murtaza Bhutto, the son of the late Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The case of the murder of Mir Murtaza Bhutto is still pending in the lower court since 1997.
In another high profile case of Nishter Park in April, 2006, more than 60 persons were killed during bomb blasts. The investigations of Mr. Mughal revealed the attack to be the result of a suicide bomber. To prove his investigations several youth were interrogated and tortured and more than 20 persons from one sect of Islam were disappeared after these investigations. The case is still unsolved, but is still blamed on suicide attacks.
The case of the kidnapping and murder of Faraz Ahmed Naveed, who was murdered on November 8, 2004, is still not solved after the passing of three years. The Governor of Sindh and Inspector General of Police Sindh have handed over this case for further investigation to Mr. Mughal, who up to the present day has not progressed at all in the investigation. After taking over the case, Mr. Mughal transferred three investigation officers and two Deputy Superintendent Officers, who were making some progress in the case. His investigation team has still not returned the belongings of Mr. Faraz, which include his diary, an amount of money for his university fee, his ID cards and university books. (Please see our Urgent Appeal of November 2006, in which the AHRC has already criticized the failure of Mr. Mughal in the conduct of this investigation). http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2006/2048/. It is very unlikely that this investigation will make any progress as long as Mr. Mughal remains in charge.
The Asian Human Rights Commission is of the view that having Mr. Mughal removed from investigating the bomb blasts case of October 18, the government of Pakistan should now further proceed to conduct an inquiry into the culpability on his part in the conduct of these investigations. A new DIG for investigations should be appointed for speedy and credible investigations into these cases.
The investigation into the murder case of Mr. Faraz Ahmed Naveed should also be taken away from Mr. Mughal and this investigation should be handed over to a team of credible investigators. The silence of the Karachi police regarding the murder of Mr. Farraz is quite disturbing. There seems to be a conspiracy to not investigate the killing of this young man which effectively grants impunity to the murderers. We urge the local and international human rights community as well as all the political leaders of Pakistan, including Ms. Benazir Bhutto, to demand a credible investigation into the case of Mr. Faraz.