The Asian Human Rights Commission has received information that a young man, fatally injured, has gone missing in Sargodha while being transferred between hospitals by police. The man and his father were facing false charges for a highway theft after they tried to help the victims; his resulting death would have shed light on police misconduct and possible criminal activity. Although the victims of the robbery identified the real culprits who are known to police their statements were not taken and they were warned not to come forward by officers. The family of the young man has found some help through the courts, but while the father spent four months in remand jail, his son remains missing and police officers have willfully rejected court orders to investigate. The suspected officers are still at their posts. The case suggests that a criminal connection between local thieves and low level police officers is being deliberately overlooked, and that the judiciary is rapidly losing its authority in the area.
According to information provided by the victims and by the Star Welfare Organisation (SWO) in Sargodha, Mohammad Amir, 24 (pictured left), and his father Ahmed Khan (pictured below) interrupted a highway robbery on Shahpur Pucca Road on the evening of 7 March, after hearing gun shots. They took licensed guns with them but were badly injured by the robbers in the scuffle. Khan is physically disabled, with only one hand. But when Shiwal station police arrived, they reportedly greeted the bandits (listed in the letter below) and took their help in loading the father and son into the police van; the two were then taken to hospital. The victims of the robbery had identified the real bandits to police but their statements were not taken and they were warned by officers to not get involved. The police officers (also listed in the letter below) were Sub-Inspector Mohammad Arif, Constable Mohammad Ameer, Constable Mazhar Hussain and Constable Mohammad Sajjad.
At the Civil Hospital in Sahiwal it was found that Amir suffered from serious head injuries, including fractures to his skull (medical report here). A First Information Report (FIR) was then filed by police, which took the statement of one of the men who had committed the robbery (as identified by the victims) and implicated Khan and his son. Most of the details in the report (seen here) were false, including the times. According to it, both the incident and filing of the case took place 11:30pm, which is impossible.
After seven days the father and son were arrested, and Ahmed Khan was sent into police custody, then to Sargodha Central Prison. Doctors referred an unconscious Amir to the Allied Hospital in Faisalabad, 30km away, for more intensive treatment. On 22 April he was taken from Sargodha by a police escort, in the custody of Sub-Inspector Arif (the man who arranged his false arrest). He has not been seen or heard from since.
The missing boy’s mother, Mrs. Asalat Bibi (pictured), started to plead her case with high officials, including the Regional Police Officer and the District Police Officer, but says that they turned down her requests to look into his disappearance. She approached the Sargodha courts with the help of a lawyer, where the additional session judge told the DPO to look into the matter. He appointed the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mr. Muzzamal, to conduct an inquiry. The DSP questioned the original robbery victims and quickly reported, on June 23, that Amir and his father had a case against the real culprits, and should lodge a new FIR against them. Amir’s parents report that Sahiwal police station refused to file the FIR and warned them not to return to the station.
Ahmed Khan was released on bail in July and approached Additional and Session Judge (also Justice of the Peace) Mr. Tamar Hayat Gondal to request that a case be filed against officers and the bandits for the abduction and possible extrajudicial murder of their son. The judge ordered an FIR to be lodged on August 10.
However Sahiwal police again failed to register the case. Instead they filed an application for its dismissal with the High Court on 26 September, which was rejected on 2 November. Police were ordered to file a disappearance case.
Months later, according to our sources, no such cases have been filed.
Since then officers have continued to intimidate the couple. Ahmad Khan is worried for his safety and no protection has been arranged for him or his family. His concern was justified further when, in October the Khan’s house was raided under the direction of a new Station Head Officer, and Khan and another of his sons were arrested and accused of robbery. The Star Welfare Organisation had to take their case history to the SHO to secure their release, but the connivance of the police officers involved has been clearly established.
Police in this district continue to be exposed for human rights violations–particularly for illegal arresta and the torture of detainees–as you will find by typing ‘Sargodha’ in our UA search box. Even the founder of the NGO helping the Khans, the Star Welfare Organisation, was brutally tortured by Sarghoda police (UAC-051-2009) and continues to fear further torture or assassination. Orders from the Lahore High Court to investigate his case have been ignored and the alleged perpetrators of his torture continue to serve as police officers.
Please write letters to the authorities calling for investigations to start into the disappearance of Mohammad Amir, the fabricated charges against his father and the obstruction of justice taking place at Sahiwal Police Station. Officers shown to be involved must be removed from their posts and must face legal charges.
The Asian Human Rights Commission has written to the Chairperson of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers calling for their intervention into this case.
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PAKISTAN: Police block investigations into the disappearance of an injured, falsely accused young man in custody
1) Mr. Aamir Khan, 24; son of Ahmed Khan; resident of, Dera Lamba Khooh, Dakhli Mochiwal,
Tehseel Shahpur, Sargodha district, Punjab province.
2) Mr. Ahmed Khan; son of Sardar Bux, Maikin caste; resident of Dera Lamba Khooh, Dakhli Mochiwal, Tehseel Shahpur, Sargodha district, Punjab province.
Alleged perpetrating officers:
1) Mohammad Arif, Sub-inspector of Police, Sahiwal police station; Sargodha district, Punjab province.
2) Mohammad Ameer, police constable; belt number C 713; Sahiwal police station, Sargodha district, Punjab province.
3) Mazhar Hussain, police constable; belt number C1417; Sahiwal police station, Sargodha district,, Punjab province.
4) Mohammad Sajjad, police constable belt number C 1454, Sahiwal police station, Sargodha district, Punjab province.
1) Rab Nawaz; son of Mohammad Qasim; Gondal caste; resident of Pucca Dera, Jeewan Gondal, Sahiwal police station, Sargodha, Punjab province.
2) Mohammad Iftekhar; son of Mohammad Afzal; Maikin caste; resident of Pucca Dera, Jeewan Gondal, Sahiwal police station, Sargodha, Punjab province.
3) Mohammad Nawz; son of Mohammad Hayat; Jhumat case; resident of Pucca Dera, Jeewan Gondal, Sahiwal police station, Sargodha, Punjab province.
Date of incident: 7 March 2009
Place of incident: Shahpur Pucca Road, Sargodha district
I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding a case in which a young man, who was fatally injured, went missing in Sargodha while being transferred between hospitals by police. The man and his father were facing false charges for a highway theft in which they had tried to help the victims, and it appears that his death would have shed unwanted light on police misconduct and possible criminal activity.
I am told that although the victims of the robbery identified the real culprits who are known to police their statements were not taken and they were warned by officers not to come forward. Instead an FIR was filed by the police officers above on behalf of one of the identified bandits, implicating Khan and his son who at that point was unconscious in hospital due to a fractured skull. Most of the details in the report appear to be false.
Ahmed Khan was sent into police custody, then to Sargodha Central Prison, and doctors referred an unconscious Amir to the Allied Hospital in Faisalabad. However after leaving the hospital on 22 April in the custody of Sub-Inspector Arif and others, Amir disappeared. He has not been seen or heard from since.
I hear that the missing boy’s mother, Mrs. Asalat Bibi, received no initial requested help from the Regional Police Officer and the District Police Officer, until she had secured an order from an additional session judge through a lawyer. A report from the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mr. Muzzamal, then noted (on June 23) that Amir and his father had a case against the real culprits and that they should lodge a new FIR against them. Yet I hear that Sahiwal police station refused to file the FIR and warned them not to return to the station.
The police have continued to refuse to lodge any further complaints, despite orders from Additional and Session Judge Mr. Tamar Hayat Gondal on August 10 and orders from the High Court on 2 November.
Additionally I hear that Sahiwal officers have continued to intimidate the family, and that their house was raided under the direction of a new Station Head Officer, with Khan arrested again with another of his sons and falsely accused of robbery. The Star Welfare Organisation had to take their case history to the SHO to secure their release.
I am concerned to see how little authority the judiciary appears to have over the police. Access to redress continues to be arbitrarily denied civilians, and many investigations which are carried out are shown to be swayed by corruption. It is not surprising that people in Pakistan are reluctant to use the law, when it is so regularly and effectively denied them.
I take this opportunity to remind you one of the founders of the Star Welfare Organisation, Mr. Sahfiq Dogar, who was extensively tortured by Sarghoda police, continues to fear for his life while engaging in his human rights work. Orders from the Lahore High Court have been ignored and the alleged perpetrators of his torture continue to serve as police officers; he is regularly threatened.
Please take serious note of these cases and the suspect role of the law enforcement officers involved. Thorough investigations must be launched into the disappearance of Mohammad Amir and, if he cannot be recovered then a murder case needs to be filed. Investigations are also needed into the fabrication of charges by officers against his father, and the systematic obstruction of justice by Sahiwal Police. Those shown to be involved must be removed from their posts and must face legal sanctions.
Please be aware that the Chairperson of the UN Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances and the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers have been informed of this case.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1.Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister House
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Tel: +92 51 920 6111
2. Minister for Interior
R Block Pak Secretariat
Tel: +92 51 9212026
Fax: +92 51 9202624
E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Mr. Mian Shahbaz Sharif
Chief Minister of Punjab
H-180 Model Town
Fax: +92 42 5881383
4. Mr.Syed Mumtaz Alam Gillani
Federal Minister for Human Rights
Ministry of Human Rights
Old US Aid building
Ata Turk Avenue
5. Minister of Law
Government of Punjab
6. Chief Secretary of Government of Punjab
Fax: +92 42 7324489
7. Mr. Salman Taseer
Governor of Punjab
8. Dr. Faqir Hussain
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Fax: + 92 51 9213452
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (email@example.com)