Police constable accused of murder still at large after seven months

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CHAKWAL: On Feb 2 this year, Ghulam Shabir was gunned down in front of the court room of the Chakwal additional district and session judge allegedly by a police constable, Zain Abbas, who was in uniform and used his official Kalashnikov.

The accused was assigned to escort another man to the court of the additional district and sessions judge in Talagang from Chakwal that day.

However, he did not turn up for his duty and decided to settle his enmity with Ghulam Shabir, whose son had allegedly shot and killed the constable’s younger brother on Oct 2016.

50 people were killed in Chakwal this year so far in 42 incidents, of which only 28 cases have been solved: DPO office

Ghulam Shabbir’s son, who is accused of killing Zain’s younger brother, was charged and is currently facing trial.

On Feb 2, Ghulam Shabir came to the district courts to attend a hearing of his son’s case when he was killed. The police included sections from the Anti Terrorism Act (ATA) when registering a murder case against the police constable.

Seven months later, the accused is yet to be arrested.

“He visits his home in the village time and again. Six weeks ago, we told the police that he had come [home] but the police did not do anything,” said Alamdar Sadial, the son of Ghulam Shabir. Alamdar is the complainant in his father’s murder case.

“It seems as if the police is not arresting him deliberately,” Alamdar said. In a separate incident on July 20, four people from the Maira village were gunned down near Kallar Kahar.

The police registered a murder case against 17 people and also booked them under the ATA. Of these, 13 of the accused secured bail from the courts and the rest have not yet been arrested.

Two of the 13 who secured bail did not show up in court and their bail was cancelled. On Sept 13, the court also excluded section 7 of the ATA and transferred the case to the district and session judge Chakwal.

“Six of the main accused are at large now,” said the complainant in the case, Mohammad Aslam.

According to data from the office of the district police officer (DPO), 50 people were killed in the district between Jan 1 and Sept 14 in 42 incidents. Of these, only 28 have been solved and one was discharged.

The police’s image was also tainted due to incidents of suspects in their custody being killed.

One suspect died in the city police station on Sept 5 under mysterious circumstances and two accused in police custody were gunned down and stabbed by three men at the gate of the court of the additional district and session judge in Talagang while the police did nothing. Four police officials were booked for the incident.

During a press conference on Tuesday, DPO Mohammad Haroon Joiya applauded police performance and congratulated them for arresting members of three gangs involved in car theft.

Asked about the death of an accused in police custody under unexplained circumstances he said: “The accused was not well and died of natural causes”.

A forensic report is yet to be issued and the family of the man allege he was tortured.

DPO Joiya said the police was doing its best to arrest those wanted for various crimes.

“We cannot prevent murders but it is our duty to arrest killers and we are trying our best to do so,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2017

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