ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the federal government to remove Director General Sindh Rangers and the Inspector General of Police, Sindh, within three days. The apex court also directed DIG Karachi (West) to conduct a detailed enquiry into the killing of an unarmed youth by the Rangers and submit a report within seven days.
A five-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was hearing the suo moto case of the cold-blooded murder of an unarmed youth by the Sindh Rangers in Karachi. Other members of the bench are Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice Tariq Pervez and Justice Amir Hani Muslim.
The chief justice directed the trial court to hear the case on a daily basis and give its verdict within 30 days. The CJ observed that the entire nation was grieving the incident, the second in a month where law-enforcing agencies had killed innocent people.
The CJ said it was the duty of the government to protect the life and property of the masses. He pointed out that under the Anti Terrorism Act (section 5 (2) 1), law-enforcing agencies had no right to shoot at unarmed civilians. He said the IGP Sindh and DG Rangers Sindh should have resigned and if the government did not take action in this regard, the court would issue orders to remove them immediately.
Chief Secretary Sindh Subhan Memon admitted that it was a brutal and cold-blooded murder; that the Rangers did not open fire in self-defence; and that the law did not allow them to shoot at unarmed civilians.
Justice Javed Iqbal said the Rangers must know the difference between civilians and terrorists. DG Rangers Ijaz Chaudhry submitted that it was an individual act; otherwise, he claimed, the Rangers did control the situation at the PNS Mehran.
IGP Sindh Fiaz Leghari submitted that a civilian had caught the youth by his hair and handed him over to the Rangers. “But instead of handing over the youth to the police, the Rangers killed him. If there were any charges against him, he should have been given to the police in accordance with the law,” the CJ observed.
Chief Secretary Sindh Subhan Memon submitted that he wanted to surrender himself before the court. The CJ said he need not surrender but the IGP Sindh and DG Rangers Sindh should surrender because a transparent enquiry was not possible in their charge. He directed the interior secretary Sindh Qamar Zaman Chaudhry to take instructions from the relevant authorities to change both the DG Rangers and IGP Sindh, otherwise, the court would issue directions in this regard. He further asked the interior secretary to produce the notification on the presence of Rangers in Karachi. He said it was time to restore the trust of the masses in state institutions.
Video footage of the horrifying incident was shown on the occasion, which greatly upset everyone. “Who gave them the right to shoot innocent people?” a visibly disturbed CJ asked. He said that there were 5-6 security men in the footage while only two had been named. He also observed that the cameraman, who made the footage, was still receiving threats. Chief secretary Sindh submitted that he would ensure the journalist’s protection.
The CJ asked the IGP when the accused were handed over to police. The IGP submitted that two Rangers’ men, Muhammad Afzal and Shahid Zaffar, were handed over to the police Thursday night while the weapons used in the incident were given up Friday morning. Chief secretary Sindh submitted that the Rangers’ stay in Karachi was extended for another three months in April. The CJ directed the Attorney General to review the presence of Rangers in Karachi. He termed the incident a classic example of the brutality of law-enforcing agencies and ordered that IGP, Sindh, and DG Rangers must be removed within three days or their salaries would be stopped.