Kharotabad tribunal head decries police torture

QUETTA: The head of the judicial tribunal investigating the Kharotabad killings expressed his serious concern over the harassment and torture against the police surgeon Dr Baqar Shah and photojournalist Jamal Tarakai by the police in two separate incidents of violence.Justice Hashim Kakar strongly resented the police action against the two key witnesses, saying what is the need of forming a judicial tribunal of a high court judge to probe into the incident when the police was settling accounts with key witnesses. Dr Baqar Shah, a police surgeon, was grabbed and dragged out of his car outside a hotel and thrashed by policemen.Justice Kakar said; “If police have already taken the decision about the case then why had the tribunal been constituted and why was the police making fun of this issue.” Justice Kakar said if police cannot spare its own surgeon then how would other witnesses feel secure. However, he said that chief justice of Balochistan had taken suo motu notice and issued notices to Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) of Quetta and other concerned officials.“It seems police have been given free hand to insult, beat up and terrify the citizens, including doctors, journalists and other prominent personality at public places,” Justice Kakar remarked during the tribunal proceedings. He told the Deputy Inspector General (Operations) Hamid Shakil to conduct a fair inquiry into the incident and do not spare any police official who was responsible for beating up the police surgeon and the photojournalist.

Shakil told the tribunal that he had suspended the City Police Station SHO Niamatullah and Ghawalmandi police station SHO Nasirul Hassan as Dr Shah was mercilessly beaten up by the police personnel in their jurisdiction. He said two police constables, Muhammad Aslam and Rajab Ali, of Kharotabad incident had been suspended.Tarakai, who submitted videos and photographs of the incident in court, was arrested and tortured by police personnel at Kharotabad police station on Tuesday, whereas Dr Shah had conducted the postmortem on the dead bodies of foreigners and he had helped the tribunal by providing the facts.

He was admitted to Sandeman Hospital as he received severe wounds in his head after the police torture. Despite the strike by doctors in the entire province, Dr Shah was given emergency treatment on a priority basis. His condition was stated to be stable. Meanwhile, Tarakai told the tribunal that Kharotabad police arrested him because he gave a statement against the police. “I was detained for an hour at police station during which the police personnel beat me up and severely tortured me,” he said.Tarakai said he had received a threat from an unknown man who called at the Quetta Press Club and told the club’s Vice President Yaqoob Shahwani that Tarakai had made a big mistake by handing over the films and photographs to the tribunal. While talking to media Dr Shah said he was inside his car on the Prince Road in front of a restaurant when armed men tried to drag him to a police vehicle. Upon resistance, the men beat him up. “I was attacked because I narrated the truth before the tribunal that all the victims had died of bullet wounds,” he told the reporters. – Dailytimes