PAKISTAN: Killing of a 14 year old boy by the police in Lahore
July 17, 2006
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ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
18 July 2006
UA-237-2006: PAKISTAN: Killing of a 14 year old boy by the police in Lahore
PAKISTAN: Extrajudicial killing; Delay of justice; fabrication of charges against the victim; ineffective investigation; impunity; un-rule of law
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information about a killing of a 14-year-old boy named Salman and the serious injuries of a 15-year-old boy named Asqhar by the Muslim Town police and the Sepoy [ordinary policemen ] of elite force stationing near the police picket at Wahdat road, Lahore City, Punjab, Pakistan on 8 July 2006. The police fired randomly at the boys and later allegedly concocted a story about the police encounter. They claim that the boys were armed and shot at the police. The officers then claim that they responded by firing back at the boys. However, according to eye-witnesses, the boys were not armed. Meanwhile, an inquiry has begun looking into the incident and a murder case was registered against the Sepoy of elite force. However, no charges have been filed against the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Muslim Town police station, who ordered the shooting, or any other Muslim Town police officers responsible for the incident. Salman is the latest victim of extrajudicial killings in Lahore. According to a local report, during the first half of 2006, more than thirty persons alone in Lahore have been allegedly killed by the police.
On 8 July 2006, Mr. Salman who is the son of a tailor master in Muslim Town, Lahore, Punjab, his cousin Fraz and his friend Asghar were returning home from their workplace by motorcycle when they were signaled to stop by the policemen of the Muslim Town police station and the elite force at a police picket at Wahdat road, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. The boys tried to stop the motorcycle some distance earlier; however, the SHO of the Muslim Town Station ordered his fellow policemen to shoot at the boys when he saw that they did not follow his orders. The policemen then fired their AK-47 rifles and hit Salman and his friend Asghar in the back. Both Salman and Asghar fell on the road and the policemen surrounded them. However, they did not attempt to send them to the hospital despite their serious injures.
At this moment, a Superintendent of Police (SP) of Angerwal was passing through Wahdat road in his vehicle and saw the policemen, including the SHO of Muslim Town police station, encircling three boys who were lying on the road. When he inquired about the boys, the police told him that they were dacoits and had been encountered by the police. The SP took the boys in his vehicle to a hospital where Salman was pronounced dead. Asghar was also admitted in hospital with injuries. Fortunately, Fraz who was driving the motorcycle was not injured.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Town police allegedly concocted a story of a police encounter and implicated the three boys in a first investigation report (FIR) registered under sections 324, 353, 148 and 149 on the complaint of a sub inspector. Interestingly, the Muslim Town police mentioned in its FIR that when the two policemen named Mohamad Sarwar and Aasique ordered the three young motorcycle riders to stop, they were fired upon by the boys. The FIR further mentioned that the three boys rode away from the scene, but did not mention that two of them were injured by the police shooting. However, the SP, who took the boys to the hospital, reportedly contested the police claim and said that the boys were not armed and were not dacoits. High ranking police officials have asked the SP to clarify his statement. Meanwhile, it is alleged that the said SP was asked by the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), his superior officer, that why he did not support the police version but disclosed the truth.
A police officer commented in a daily local newspaper TheNews that since they cannot tell who are criminals by looking at them, the three boys' fleeing indicted as criminals. However, according to Fraz and an eyewitness, the boys were not signaled by the police to stop and only heard a loud voice calling them from behind. He further said that when they turned their head to see who was calling them to slow down, bullets suddenly hit Salman and Asghar, causing them to fall to the ground.
The police registered a murder case against the Sepoy of elite force after continuous protests by the local people. However, no case has yet been registered against the SHO of the Muslim Town police station (SHO), who ordered to shoot the boys, or any other Muslim Town police officers responsible for the incident. The deceased Salman worked as an assistant tailor at his father's shop.
In Pakistan, crimes committed by the police or army personnel have reached an alarming rate. During the first half of 2006, it is reported that more than thirty persons alone in Lahore, the capital city of Punjab province, have been killed by the police. Most of them were killed in the name of 'police encounters' or while in police custody. In many cases in Pakistan, the police or army allegedly manufacture extrajudicial killings as deaths during 'encounters'.
According to a July 7 report published in local newspaper The Nation Lahore, this year has seen at least thirty persons, including two women, killed at the hands of the police. The killings continue even after the Punjab provincial government introduced police reforms.
Details of some of these cases are as follows.
1. On 28 May 2006, the two officials of Faisal Town police of Lahore gunned down a 17-year-old student identified as Zeeshan of nearby city Okara, when he was on his way back home from a library with his friend on a motorcycle. Police first claimed that they fired at him because he did not stop the motorcycle despite the police's order but later insisted that he was killed during the 'encounter'.
2. In the same jurisdiction, the police fired at unarmed people who resisted the arrest of a local person that resulted in the death of 65-year-old Anwer Said and the injuries of a woman. The police later fabricated that Anwer Said was a notorious man and was killed during an 'encounter'. When the local community and civic organizations challenged the claim, the police allegedly tried to forcibly take away the victim's body from the hospital but failed as the hospital staff and people resisted. None of the police officers responsible have yet been arrested.
3. In Ichhra, the police shot and killed at a woman suspected to be a thief, and injured her five companions.
4. The Kot Lakhpat police arrested a 40-year-old man named Asif on the charge of gambling. He later died in police custody.
5. Accused Hamid, alias Kala, died in police custody in a Badami Bagh Investigation Cell.
6. The Badami Bagh police kept a young man named Hamid in their custody for three days and then allegedly killed him.
7. In the Faisal Town area, a man named Zeeshan was killed by the police who shot at him for not stopping at Naka.
8. In Liaquatabad, a constable of the Elite Force in the presence of a DIG shot and killed a suspected murderer who allegedly killed his three children.
Please write to the relevant authorities listed below and express your concern about this serious case.
PAKISTAN: Killing of a 14 years old boy and serious injuries of another 15-year-old boy by the Muslim Town police and elite forces in Lahore
Name of the victim:
1. Mr. Salman, aged 14, a son of a tailor master (killed), resided in Muslim Town, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
2. Mr. Asghar, aged 15, Mr. Salman's friend (severely injured)
1. Station House Officer of the Muslim Town police station
2. Mohamad Sarwar, a policeman attached to the Muslim Town police sation
3. Aasique, a policeman attached to the Muslim Town police station
2. Some other officers attached to the Muslim Town police station and Elite Force
Witness of the incident:
1. Mr. Fraz, aged 15, Mr. Salman's cousin
2. The Superintendent of Police (SP) of Angerwal
Place of the incident: near the police picket at Wahdat road, Lahore City, Punjab province, Pakistan
Date of the incident: 8 July 2006
Case status: The Muslim Town police allegedly filed false charges against the victims to cover up their crimes after the incident. A murder case was registered against the Sepoy of elite force but no charges have been filed against the SHO or other officers of the Muslim Town police station
I am deeply concerned by an alleged extrajudicial killing of a 14-year-old boy named Salman and the severe injuries inflicted upon a 15-year-old boy named Aasique who are mentioned above. This was allegedly carried out by the Muslim Town police and elite forces near the police picket at Wahdat road, Lahore City, Punjab province, Pakistan on 8 July 2006.
It is alleged that the police fired at the boys because they delayed to stop their motorcycle after the police's order. However, Fraz, Salman's cousin who was present with the two victims during the incident, reportedly told the investigating officer that they were not signaled by the police to stop but only heard a loud voice calling them from behind. According to Fraz, when they slowed their motorcycle down so that they could turn and see who was calling them, bullets were fired and shot Salman and Asghar in the back.
I was also informed that the Muslim Town police later allegedly filed false FIR against the three boys under sections 324, 353, 148 and 149 on the complaint of a sub inspector. The police claim that the boys were armed and shot at the police, causing them to respond by firing back at the motorcycle. Interestingly, the police also did not mention at all in the FIR that two of the boys were injured by the police shooting but simply stated that the three boys rode away from the scene. However, according to Fraz and a Superintendent of Police (SP) of Angerwal, who accidentally was passing by the scene claim that the boys were not armed and that there was no 'encounter'. The SP also took the boys to a hospital. Meanwhile, an inquiry began into the incident and a murder case was registered against the Sepoy of elite force but no charges have been filed against the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Muslim Town police station, who ordered the shooting, or any other Muslim Town police officers responsible for the incident.
I am very disturbed by the escalating number of alleged extrajudicial killings in Pakistan. According to a report published on July 7 in local newspaper The Nation Lahore, the first half of 2006 saw more than thirty people killed by police in Lahore. I am sorry to notice that the killings continue even after the Punjab provincial government introduced police reforms. Most of them allegedly were killed in the name of 'encounters' or while in police custody. I am aware that in many cases in Pakistan, the police or army personnel allegedly manufacture extrajudicial killings as deaths caused during 'encounters'.
I therefore strongly urge you to order an impartial and thorough investigation into the case by an independent agency (not by the local police). The statements should be taken from the two eye-witnesses mentioned above to reveal the actual circumstances of the incident and an effective witness protection should also be provided to them while the investigation is on-going. Those responsible for the killing of a boy, including the SHO of the Muslim Town police station, should be prosecuted and punished under the criminal laws of the country. I also urge you to take proper action to withdraw the alleged false charges against the three boys as soon as possible. Those responsible for the fabrication of the charges should be investigated as well. I also urge you to ensure that adequate medical treatment is provided to Asghar. The victims should also be adequately compensated. Lastly, I again urge the Government of Pakistan to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) and implement it in the country without further delay in order to stop such crimes committed by the law enforcement officers.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Lt. General Khalid Maqbool
Governor of Punjab
Mall Road, Lahore
Fax: +92 42 9200023
2. Chief Secretary of Government of Punjab
Fax: +92 42 7324489
E mail firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Mr. Khusro Pervez Khan
E mail: email@example.com
4. Choudhry Pervez Ihhahi
Chief Minister Punjab
Chief Minister House
5. Secretary of Law and Parliamentary Government of Punjab
6. General Pervez Musharraf
Fax: +92 51 922 1422, 4768/ 920 1893 or 1835
Email: (please see - http://www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk/WTPresidentMessage.aspx)
7. Mr. Muhammad Wasi Zafar
Minister of Law, Justice and Human Rights
Fax: +92 51 920 2628
8. Prof. Philip Alston
Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions
Attn: Lydie Ventre
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9155
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (ATTN: SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR EXECUTIONS)
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)