A TWO-MEMBER bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday came hard on City Police Officer Faisalabad Bilal Siddique Kamyana for showing laxity in the investigation of a gang-rape case and failure to arrest the prime suspect.
A two-member bench of the SC, comprising Justice Jawad S. Khawaja and Justice Amir Muslim Hani, was hearing a suo motu notice taken on the application of a victim girl “S” allegedly raped by five persons.
D-Type colony Police Station had registered a case of the gang-rap on the application of victim girl against five accused Asghar Ali, Ansar Ali, Muhammad Ihsan, Tariq Ali and Karam Hussain under Section 365-B and 376 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
Asghar Ali had called her in his office for giving her a job and later he and his four accomplices allegedly raped her. Lahore High Court Justice Mazhar Iqbal Sidhu had granted bails to all accused seven months ago and the girl submitted an application in the apex court, seeking cancellation of their bails. The SC Lahore Registry branch had on March 06 converted her application into a suo motu notice and sent two accused Ansar Ali and Muhammad Ihsan to jail and ordered the police to produce remaining three accused including ringleader Asghar Ali.
As the apex court resumed hearing of the case on Thursday, the investigation police produced Tariq Ali and Karam Hussain before the court and informed the judge that the main accused had not been arrested so far.
This statement irked the court and the bench ordered Faisalabad City Police Officer (CPO) Bilal Siddique Kamyana to appear before the court within two hours. The CPO appeared on a short notice and tried to convince the judges that the police were trying their level best to arrest Asghar Ali but failed.
Upon this, poor girl who herself was arguing her case stunned the court room by revealing that Asghar Ali was a friend of Provincial Law Minister Rana Sana Ulllah, therefore, police were not showing courage to arrest him.
The CPO gave oath to the apex court by recording his statement that Asghar Ali was not a friend of provincial law minister and also assured the court that he would be arrested soon. “Yes, this is the main reason owing to which police are not arresting Asghar Ali. You (CPO) have not raided the 27 places where the accused may be available,” Justice Khawaj observed after CPO told the court that police had raided 26 different places for the arrest of the accused.
The girl also informed the court that the police had detained Mushtaq, a sole witness of the rape incident, and tortured him severely for three days on a fake application of Uzma Bibi, wife of Asghar Ali.
She further told the court that after getting bails from the LHC, accused Asghar Ali and Karam Hussain had tried to kill her by shooting fires on her. She also pointed out that she received bullet injuries on her shoulder in that incident. Batala Colony Police Station had registered a case against both accused under Section 324 of PPC, she further informed the court.
“What is this Mr CPO? Why your subordinates are harassing the witness? She had lost her respect in the society and now police are trying to create hurdles in the way of justice. Why police want to pressurise her? Who are behind and trying to let down the case?”Justice Hani put series of questions before the CPO but he stood silent, as he had nothing to reply to the court’s queries.
“The girl and her heirs are not your employees. You (CPO) have to go to record their statements,” Justice Khawaja remarked and directed the CPO to record personally their statements. The CPO told the court that the police official involved in harassing incident had been punished by deducting their two-month salaries.
“The police detectives have damaged the case by poor investigations and you (CPO) are saying that their salaries have been deducted. Is this enough punishment over the poor investigation in any case?” the court continued to pose questions and remained unsatisfied over the answers of the CPO.
Upon this, father of CPO and senior lawyer Saddique Kamyana, present in the court room, came forward to rescue his son and told the bench that his son Bilal was an L.L.M degree holder and an honest officer of the Police Department.
“We are not here to listen to the stories about your honesty but to serve for the masses who pay taxes just for our salaries,” Justice Khawaja admonished the father of CPO and asked him to have his seat, as he has no issue with the case. CPO Bilal told the court that he was unaware about the detention of Mushtaq, witness.
“Is this your honesty and performance that you are unaware about the illegalities of your subordinates?” Justice Khawaj put another question in front of the CPO which also remained unanswered by him. “How dare your DSP and other police officials to harass the witness of the case even when the apex court was conducting a suo motu hearing,” Justice Hani remarked and warned the CPO that if any harassing incident would happen again, the court would not tolerate it.
The CPO assured the court that the action would be taken against the police officers involved in harassing witnesses. The court will protect every oppressed citizen who will knock at the doors of the court for justice; the bench concluded their observations and sent co-accused Tariq Ali and Karam Hussain into the custody of police till the final decision of the court. The apex court ordered the CPO to arrest and produced main accused Asghar Ali till March 15.