Death of man in police custody: ‘Police pressuring victim’s family to withdraw case’
LAHORE: The suspended policemen accused of killing a man in a police station are pressuring the relatives of the deceased not to pursue the case, the brother-in-law of Abdul Basit, the deceased, told Daily Times on Thursday.
Sub-Inspector (SI) Iqbal, and constables Ali Raza and Shehzad Hussain are accused of killing Basit in the Baghbanpura police station after they arrested him for allegedly possessing drugs on Monday. Mughalpura police have arrested the SI while the other two accused are still at large. On Tuesday, the Baghbanpura police registered a case under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) against the three accused policemen for killing Basit.
Talking to Daily Times, Wasim, Basit’s brother-in-law, said the capital city police officer (CCPO) had promised the family that the police would arrest the accused policemen by 9am on Thursday. However, they have arrested only one. He alleged that the Baghbanpura Police station house officer (SHO) – who was suspended on Wednesday on charges of “gross misconduct, sheer negligence, and lack of supervision” – visited Basit’s family late on Wednesday night along with several policemen and pressured the family to withdraw their case. Wasim added that the police officials had told them not to speak to the media about the case.
He said that several politicians of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) visited the family and assured them of their support. He said the family was also told to expect a visit from Chief Minister Dost Muhammad Khosa. Wasim said his sister, Basit’s 30-year-old widow, was not well because of her husband’s death.
Several relatives and friends of the deceased protested against Basit’s killing on Thursday and blocked a road for almost half an hour. They shouted slogans against the police and demanded the immediate arrest of the other two accused policemen. They had also protested on Wednesday after Basit’s funeral in which they had burned two police–owned motorcycles and thrashed three undercover constables.
Autopsy Report Sources in the Police Department told Daily Times on Thursday that Basit’s autopsy report confirmed the family’s accusation that the deceased had been brutally tortured. They said the report stated the cause of death as a serious blow to the chest, which caused cardiac arrest. The report, according to the sources, stated that bruises were visible on the body and that it seemed as if the victim had been tied with ropes.
Other police sources said that the brother-in-law of the deceased, along with a local member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) had visited Cantonment Division Superintendent of Police (SP) Babar Bakht Qureshi to discuss the case. The CCPO and Cantonment SP (Investigations) could not be contacted.