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Where is justice for Constable Khalil, my lord? – by Abdul Nishapuri

I am writing this post in support of an unsung hero, Constable Khalil, a 26-year-old police constable who was abducted by the Punjab Rangers personnel on Wednesday (24 March 2010), while he was on duty at Lahore’s Liberty Market.

Khaleel was publicly thrashed and abducted by Rangers after he stopped a young man who was entering the parking from the wrong end, and parked his car in a no-parking zone.

Police personnel have confirmed that the young man, who was later identified as Imran Ali, the son of Pakistan Rangers Punjab Director General Yaqoob Ali Khan, summoned 10 Rangers personnel to the spot, who proceeded to publicly assault the constable and ‘kidnapped’ him in a white Rangers van.

It was reported that Imran, along with another youth, came to the Liberty Market and parked his vehicle bearing number (ADS-707) in the no-parking zone. Khalil, a Gulberg police constable deployed there, requested Imran to park his vehicle in the parking lot.

Imran considered the constable’s request an insult. He abused the constable and also summoned Rangers Jawans. The youth told the constable that he was the son of the DG Punjab Rangers and that Jawans were on their way to teach him a lesson.

Later, Rangers Jawans arrived at the scene in a vehicle (LZZ-5000), and started thrashing the constable. The Jawans tortured the constable up to the satisfaction of the youth, who stood close to his vehicle. The Jawans then bundled the constable into the vehicle and drove away.

A traffic warden standing a few yards away alerted the police. He informed the police that some armed men belonging to the Punjab Rangers had thrashed the constable and kidnapped him.

Gulberg Police investigators said they had arrested two Rangers officials, including a driver and a sub-inspector. “They have confessed that the Rangers deputy superintendent had ordered them to pick up the constable ‘who dared to stop the son of the Pakistan Rangers Punjab DG’,” the investigators said, adding that according to Rangers officers, the constable had been shifted to the Rangers Headquarters and was locked up there.

Meanwhile, the Gulberg police have registered a case against 10 unidentified men under Sections 365, 186, 353, 148, 149 PPC on the complaint of Gulberg SHO Ahsan Ashraf. Khalil was however kept in illegal detention for almost 48 hours.

Update: Police constable held by rangers released
The News, 2035 PST, Friday, March 26, 2010

LAHORE: Police constable Khalil, who was abducted by the rangers, was brought before media here on Friday, 26 March. SSP Model Town Rana Hayat told media that Rangers Officials gave the custody (??) of Khalil to police in the Cantonment area.

On this occasion, SSP Model Town said that the police was yet to receive his (Khalil) official uniform.

To a question, he said the press release issued by the Punjab Government was the stance of provincial government. The SSP said that statements of Constable Khalil and other concerned people would be made public soon.

Will the Chief Justice of Pakistan consider spending some time on the accountability of army officers once he gets a free moment from bad mouthing against politicians and elected members of the parliament.

The following are some of the laws which My Lord may consider implementing in order to protect the honour and job of our unsung hero, Constable Khalil, and to punish the culprits in Pakistan Army starting from the Director General of Punjab Rangers in this instance. Of course the following list is in addition to the charges filed against the culprits under Sections 365, 186, 353, 148, 149 PPC.

1. Obstructing a law enforcement officer

A person is guilty of obstructing a law enforcement officer if the person willfully hinders, delays, or obstructs any law enforcement officer in the discharge of his or her official powers or duties. Obstructing a law enforcement officer is a gross misdemeanor.

2. Habeas Corpus rights

Issuance of a writ is an exercise of an extraordinary jurisdiction of the superior courts in Pakistan. A writ of habeas corpus may be issued by any High Court of a province in Pakistan. Article 99 of the 1973 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, specifically provides for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, empowering the courts to exercise this prerogative:

Article 199. Jurisdiction of High Court.—Subject to the Constitution, a High Court may, if it is satisfied that no other adequate remedy is provided by law:

….on the application of any person, make an order – that a person in custody within the territorial jurisdiction of the Court be brought before it so that the Court may satisfy itself that he is not being held in custody without lawful authority or in an unlawful manner;…

The hallmark of extraordinary constitutional jurisdiction is to keep various functionaries of State within the ambit of their authority. Once a High Court has assumed jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter before it, justiciability of the issue raised before it is beyond question.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has stated clearly that the use of words “in an unlawful manner” implies that the court may examine, if a statute has allowed such detention, whether it was a colorable exercise of the power of authority.[1] Thus, the court can examine the mala fides of the action taken.

In another leading case,[2] the Supreme Court stated that in exercising constitutional jurisdiction relating to a detention, the court was under an unconditional duty to satisfy itself with regard to the lawfulness of authority of detention and the manner of detention. The scope of the inquiry is not in any way fettered by any rules of procedure of the write of habeas corpus. Once the attention of the court is properly drawn to a case of detention, the onus immediately shifts to the detaining authority to show the lawfulness of its authority in detaining the detainee. The duties, therefore, are specifically that of the court and the detaining authority. The applicant may come to the forefront in such situations incidentally.

3. Nepotism, corruption and abuse of authority

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance 1999:

Sec 3 Application Whole of Pakistan / all persons in Pakistan including FATA/ PATA.

Sec 9 Corruption and Corrupt Practices Committed by holder of public office or any other person is cognizable under NAB Ordinance,1999

Sec 10 Punishment for corruption and corrupt practices Punishment upto 14 years imprisonment or fine or both

About the author

Abdul Nishapuri

9 Comments

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  • I definitely agree with the author here… such incidents must be taken into consideration by the Chief Justice and an exemplary punishment should be imposed on the culprits misusing authority. People like this should be put in their place so that they understand no one is above the law!

  • Good effort to expose the culprits misusing/abusing their authority. I astonish to learn how Mr. Imran (Son of DG, Rangers, Lahore) manage to escape from the scene. It holds good that should also be arrested shortly and copy of FIR should be made public. Punjab Police together with parents of Constable Khalil may start campaign in media to gain the public sympathy.
    Rule of law should be established.
    Copy of FIR should be sent to employer of Mr. Imran if he is working some where or head of education if he is a student. It will result exemplary stern action against him to teach him a lesson for future life and NISHAN E EBRAT for others.
    whole nation is ashamed of such type of stupidness.

  • Culture of impunity

    Pakistan faces a lot of problems but the latest power struggle between the Rangers and police of Punjab reiterates how ‘almost’ absolute power corrupts absolutely. The actions of the Rangers to beat up a police official for carrying out his duties should be condemned in the sternest terms. And to do so at the behest of their Director General’s son is simply unacceptable. The police constable has now been freed and the two arrested Rangers granted bail in a seeming exchange of ‘prisoners’.

    The fundamental question is: are people in a position of power above the law? The answer is unequivocally no, but alas this is often not the case in Pakistan. This is not the first case of different security agencies turning on each other. The Musharraf era is littered with such instances, especially those involving Moonis Elahi, son of the then chief minister Punjab, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. The trend of security agencies misusing their power has continued into the tenure of the present democratically elected government. A prominent example is Captain Nauman beating police officials on a picket situated on M M Alam Road after the latter had found alcohol in the army officers’ car on the eve of Eid. The similarities between that incident and the present one are staggering; in both situations army/ranger personnel had kidnapped police officials only for them to be released later on the intervention of higher authorities. Legally, this comes under the purview of kidnapping. In Pakistan, the penalty for kidnapping is anything from 10 years imprisonment to capital punishment, depending on the type of kidnapping.

    With security agencies being stretched in the war against terrorism and terrorists capable of striking with impunity, the security apparatus needs to get its respective houses in order. The above mentioned situations breed mistrust in the general populace and persuade them to be uncooperative with the law enforcement agencies. The government might have a lot on its plate, but revamping the Pakistani security organisations should be a priority, if not on top of the list. All that the people of Pakistan want is for some accountability. The rule of law must be enforced since no one is above the law. There is no point in having laws that cannot dissuade powerful people from throwing their weight around at the drop of a hat.

    http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\03\28\story_28-3-2010_pg3_1

  • just like advocate Naeem who was granted bail in february in Shazia Masih murder case never to be heard of again, the rangers in this shameful episode have also now been granted bail.

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20103\27\story_27-3-2010_pg7_23

    Court grants bail to Rangers personnel who scuffled with police constable

    LAHORE: Rangers personnel who scuffled with police at Liberty Market a couple of days ago were granted bail by a court on Friday.

    The personnel were also handed over to the Rangers while the police constable in Rangers custody has already been handed over to the Punjab Police.

    Separately, the Punjab Home Department has established a joint inquiry committee consisting of officials of the Pakistan Rangers, Punjab Police and Punjab Home Department to look into the matter and submit a detailed report.

    Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said no institution was above the law and strict legal action would be taken against those who abducted the police cop. But after an hour, the abducted Constable Khalil was handed over to police by the Rangers and no action was taken against them.

    Model Town Superindentdent of Police (SP) Rana Ayaz, talking to the media, said the Rangers authorities did not return Khalil’s uniform and cellular phone. Ayaz failed to answer the question that on which deal the constable was handed over to the police. Khalil was also not allowed to speak to the media and the SP said he would record his statement to the joint inquiry committee. Both the law enforcement agencies accused each other of torturing their personnel but the very next day this smooth exchange of abducted inviduals took place. staff report

  • It is a shame that Constable Khalil’s case has been in the large ignored by our saviours, TV anchors, and other journalists.

    A tiny piece, however, appeared in The News today:

    Rising scum

    Monday, March 29, 2010
    Muck floats on the top of the water, making it easy to see but spoiling the refreshing drink below. We have a fine example of this in a recent incident in Lahore where a son of the DG Punjab Rangers ordered the thrashing of a police constable after he told him to move his vehicle as it was illegally parked in a no-parking zone. The DG’s son called over some rangers and ‘ordered’ them to thrash the constable in order to better instruct him on how to treat the children of senior officials. Six or seven rangers then beat the constable. Beating over, the constable was thrown into a Rangers vehicle, carted off and ‘disappeared’ for several days.

    Predictably very little has happened since beyond the ritual appointment of an inquiry to look into the matter. The inquiry is tasked to find responsibility – but almost certainly will not and the matter will be forgotten within days. Subsequent events have probably rendered any inquiry irrelevant. Constable Khalil (but not his mobile phone or uniform) was released on Friday and he appeared at a press conference to the obvious relief of his family. Two rangers who had been detained have now also been released on bail. Case closed. This is not the first time that the children of the said DG have behaved thus. In May 2009 a car bearing a fake number plate was stopped by police in Islamabad. It was being driven by a friend of another son of the DG. This son too threatened the police with dire consequences if they did not let his friend go.

    He eventually called Rangers who surrounded the Tarnol police station until his friend – and the car – was released. Such highhandedness is endemic to our culture, and the system that supports it is going to do nothing to see it eradicated. The scum that floats on top poisons the water for all of us. Perhaps it is time to form a new taskforce, one with real teeth and real power to fight grime rather than crime. Time, perhaps, for scumbusters.

    http://thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=231367

  • Will it go anywhere?

    Court summons Rangers DG’s son on April 3

    Staff Report

    LAHORE: Special Judicial Magistrate Kunwar Ali Kunwar summoned the son of Punjab Rangers director general along with two other officials on April 3, during the hearing of a case of torturing and kidnapping of a police constable.

    Police presented Constable Khalil in the court on Monday, who was kidnapped by Rangers officials following a clash with the Rangers DG’s son Imran on March 24.

    The court summoned all accused in the case and will record the statement of the constable during the April 3 hearing.

    On March 24, 26-year-old Khaleel had been ‘kidnapped’ after he stopped Imran from entering the parking at Liberty Market from the wrong end. After an exchange of harsh words between the two, Imran called Rangers officials at the spot who publicly roughed up the constable and kidnapped him.

    Gulberg police registered a case against unidentified assailants. However, three days later the Rangers officials released Constable Khalil after negotiations with senior police officials.

    Police personnel confirmed that the man, later identified as Imran Ali, the son of Rangers Punjab DG Yaqoob Ali Khan, summoned 10 Rangers personnel to the spot, who proceeded to publicly assault the constable and ‘kidnapped’ him in a white Rangers vehicle.

    http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\03\30\story_30-3-2010_pg13_5

  • SHO, 3 juniors suspended for pulling over PML-N MNA

    LAHORE: The Lower Mall station house officer (SHO) was suspended along with three of his subordinates for stopping the car of a member of the National Assembly (MNA) and detaining him for 20 minutes. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Malik Riaz was stopped at a police picket on Outfall Road and was not waved through by the policemen even after he identified himself. The policemen reportedly began arguing with the MNA for 20 minutes, which irritated Riaz and he complained to police high-ups about the irrational behaviour of the policemen. Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Shafiq Ahmed took notice of the incident and suspended the SHO and the policemen deputed at the picket. staff report

    http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20103\31\story_31-3-2010_pg13_8