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Monday May 20, 2024

Misuse of authority: LHC orders criminal case against SP, two SHOs, other cops

By Arshad Dogar
May 12, 2024
The outer view of the Lahore high Court building. — LHC Website/File
The outer view of the Lahore high Court building. — LHC Website/File

LAHORE : A division bench comprising Justice Amjad Rafiq and Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry of Lahore High Court has issued orders for registration of a criminal case against SP Hafeez ul Rehman Bugti, two SHOs and other policemen for misusing authority by illegally abducting, torturing, conducting raids, registration of fake cases to settle personal vendetta.

The Lahore High Court has issued orders of registration of a case against the SP facing allegation of misusing his authority by ordering police officials to harass a citizen for personal vendetta. Last year Justice of Peace and a single bench of Lahore High Court had issued orders of the case on complaint of a citizen, Sajjad Hashmi, in February and May 2023, respectively. Hashmi had alleged that SP Hafeez ul Rehman Bugti while posted in Karachi had misused police officers and officials of two divisions of Lahore to conduct illegal raids on the house of his sister, from office of his friend illegal abducting, detaining and registration of a fake FIR. He had also accused Bugti and other policemen of snatching cash, laptop and other valuables from him, his friend and brother in law. He alleges that SP Bugti had illegally grabbed his house. He along with his former wife had visited his office in 2020 when he was SP Sadar Lahore to settle a car ownership matter with a company he worked for. After the meeting, he went to his workplace in Islamabad, but in his absence, the officer took over his house in connivance with his wife. Both men had a scuffle at the residence in 2021, following which he lodged a police complaint. The complainant’s wife filed a case for dissolution of marriage and he moved a court for the possession of the house.

He alleged that the SP had been threatening him over the issue. He filed a complaint with higher police authorities after receiving a threatening phone call on April 9 2022, On April 18, 2022, police raided his office in the Defence area and the home of his brother-in-law in Johar Town. They allegedly tortured and humiliated him, his relative and a friend.

A case was registered against the complainant in the South Cantonment police station, which was discharged later. He filed a complaint of misuse of authority by Inspector Wajihul Hassan and other officials. Then Lahore SSP Operations Mustansir Feroz conducted the inquiry and found guilty at least 12 officials. The officials who had conducted the raids conceded that they had acted upon the orders of the SP who was their former boss. On the recommendations of the inquiry officer, the DIG Operations dismissed four officials from service and handed down punishment of forfeiture of service to eight others, including SHO Wajih and Imran.

Another inquiry by AIG Discipline and Inspection Shoib Khuram on orders of the IG also found Bugti and other officials guilty. Hashmi said that as the conduct of criminal actions had been established in two departmental inquiries one conducted by DIG Operations Lahore office and the other by IG Office, he lodged a complaint for registration of a criminal case.

However, when police station concerned did not listen to his grievances, he approached Justice of Peace that issued orders of registration of the case against police officers. But the accused policemen approached Lahore High Court that in May also issued orders of registration of an FIR and asked CCPO Lahore to himself supervise the investigations as the matter was related to the on duty police officers. The accused persons filed and Intra court appeal on which the division bench also disposed off their petition and asked the SHO concerned to register an FIR.

The order passed by the division bench reads, "An inquiry with regard to the above said accusation was initiated on the application of respondent no 4 and as per inquiry report dated 1.11.2022, the appellant and other police officials were held guilty by the authority concerned and they were awarded punishment.

From the contents of the application moved by the respondent no 4, a cognizable offence has been made out. Under the law, when any information regarding the commission of a cognizable offence is provided to a station house officer, he is under legal obligation to proceed under section 154 CrPC".

Sajjad Hashmi has appealed to higher authorities for justice by registration of his case and conducting investigations on merit.