11 Nov 2022
By Rehan Piracha
LAHORE: According to fact-finding reports released by the Sindh Human Rights Defenders Network (SHRDN), it was concluded that the Hyderabad police were involved in the torture and killing of two persons.
According to the fact-finding mission the police shot and killed a man accused in the case of a minor girl’s murder, while it illegally detained and tortured an ailing man, the brother of an alleged pickpocket, who died a week after his release.
Both families of the deceased men had held demonstrations, accusing police of staged encounters and custodial deaths. Ali Palh, convenor of the SHRDN, shared findings of fact-finding into the incidents in a joint press conference at Hyderabad Press Club on November 10.
Usama, son of Din Qureshi, was shot dead in a police encounter on November 2. Usama was a suspect in the rape-murder case of a seven-year-old girl, the daughter of a neighbour on October 30.
According to the fact-finding report, Usama’s family claimed that he was arrested at the girl’s funeral and was shot dead while in police custody. The fact-finding report stated that Usama’s arrest was confirmed by the family, and neighbours but the police denied it. The police claimed that Usama’s DNA sample matched with skin taken from the nails and hands of the deceased girl but no DNA report was found in the police case.
“Police is unable to share any trustworthy scene of the police encounter,” the fact-finding report said, adding that police failed to show any criminal record of the accused who was carrying a non-licensed weapon and who dared to encounter the police. The report said police did not hand over the body of the accused to the family for rituals and funeral.
The report concluded that Usama was killed in a fake police encounter. He was in police custody and unarmed, it added. “SIP Thanka Market Mujahid Hussain Mangi, HC Zulfiqar Ali, HC Muzafar Ali, Rana Nauman, Mehboob Ali DHC all market are directly responsible,” the report said.
The fact-finding report recommended that a judicial inquiry should be conducted into Usama’s case assisted by FIA or as per the Supreme Court decision which held that if police are involved in any abuse, the crime should be investigated by another agency. While Judicial inquiry is conducted FIR of EJM should be lodged against SIP HCs and others involved in the crime, the report added.
The SHRDN also conducted a fact-finding mission into the death of Danish Sheikh, brother of an alleged pickpocket, Danyal Shaikh. Barrister Ali Palh said he was picked up on October 21 from his house by Bhitai Nagar police station as a proxy for Danyal in Juryal Shah locality in Tando Mir Mehmood. Likewise, one Saud was picked up in lieu of his brother Noman. Two suspects, Abid and Sherry were also detained. Their illegal detention by police was well established.
Palh said that one Noman got Saud and Danish released for Rs50,000 and Rs45,000, respectively on October 23. Rs50,000 were arranged by Saud`s wife Ms Sana and Danish`s family paid Rs45,000 to Noman. Noman demanded another Rs30,000 from Danish`s family, he added. Danish passed away a week after being released by the police.
Members of the Talpur and Bhurgeri families told the fact-finding delegation that the local police were supporting criminals but senior officials were not taking any action against them.
In its recommendations, the fact-finding report stated that the delegation could not find any evidence of apparent torture in the form of pictures taken by the family. “As the family said there were no torture marks on the body of Danish but the fact that he was already suffering from tuberculosis, was weak, illegally detained, and beaten might have led to his death after release.
The fact-finding report recommended that an FIR should be registered against the involved police officers who arrested, detained, and tortured them. The report also recommended that the three-member police committee should also investigate the illegal police detention centre located near the Indus River on Jamshoro Road.
The report findings revealed an `illegal economy is being run in the area of Phulelli police station where policemen are grooming juvenile offenders and using them for their own motives. They said that those juvenile offenders were trained in pickpocketing and minor offences, and then used as informers to lay hands on others.