LAHORE: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Tuesday indicted former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Mushtaq Sukhera in Model Town case.
Earlier, Mushtaq Sukhera appeared before ATC-II Judge Ejaz Awan and requested to adjourn the indictment proceedings for a week.
However, the court rejected the request and indicted him in the case. But, Sukhera pleaded not guilty and contended to contest the charges.
At this, the court, adjourning the matter till Oct 10, summoned the prosecution witnesses for recording their statements.
The court had already indicted 115 police officials on a private complaint filed by Idara Minhajul Quran, a sister organization of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), for their trial on charges of killing its workers during the 2014 Model Town incident.
In 2017, the court partially admitted the complaint against 125 officials of police and the district government while rejecting it to the extent of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and 10 others including the then federal and provincial ministers.
Consequently, Jawad Hamid, an official of Minhajul Quran International, filed the appeal challenging the ATC decision for not summoning the said 12 people whereas former IGP Mushtaq Sukhera challenged summons by the trial court before the high court.
In April, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took a Suo Motu notice of the unnecessary delay in the proceedings of the trial court and the high court related the Model Town incident cases. The CJP had ordered the trial court and high court for early disposal of the cases.
On Sept 26, a Lahore High Court full bench dismissed a petition against non-summoning of former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, former chief minister Punjab Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and 10 others, by a two-one majority vote.
The bench also dismissed a petition filed by former inspector general of police (IGP) Mushtaq Sukhera against ATC’s order of summoning him. After the decision, Sukhera had approached the ATC.
NAB files reference against couple for blackmailing
ISLAMABAD: NAB prosecutor has filed a reference here on Saturday (25th May 2019) against a couple for attempting to blackmail its chairman and defrauding six others.
Recently some footage surfaced showing a man in conversation with a woman. It was insinuated that voice was that of NAB chairman. But according to the Bureau, it was the blackmailers’ propaganda.
The couple (husband in jail and female out on bail), allegedly linked with blackmailing group will appear before the court on 17th of June after Eid-ul-Fitr.
It is pertinent to mention here that 36 witnesses recorded their statements with the bureau against the two suspects.
Increasing rape cases manifest failure of our social system: Zia Awan
KARACHI: Renowned social worker Zia Ahmed Awan Advocate* noted that increasing crimes of rape and underage marriage manifested failure of social and justice systems.
Addressing a Presser here today Zia Awan lamented: “Nothing has changed since yesterday’s Zainab and Teressa till today’s Khadija and Jessica. A few days of noise, government’s announcements and then silence. Implementation of the laws and protection of children are not high up in priorities of the government officials otherwise after such horrific and heinous crimes what not could be changed we weren’t even able to set up a DNA lab, upscale the numbers of MLOs so that evidence of such crimes can be properly analyzed nor there is any change in system and response of Police that would help to protect and prevent these girls from such acts.” He further added that medico-legal should be completely computerized.
Grieving parents of the two girls were also present at the press conference who spoke to journalists about details of their cases and difficulties in their pursuit to justice.
While speaking about the case of 9-year-old Khadija (Railway Colony, Bin Qasim Town), Advocate Zia Ahmed Awan appealed to Chief Minister Sindh and Inspector General Police Sindh to take notice of this horrific incident and bound the Police to make sure to complete due process and bring the criminals to justice.
Advocate Zia Ahmed Awan further said that due to incompetence and sluggishness of Police, the third criminal could not be apprehended and this is a huge failure. He informed that Madadgaar has appealed to the Prosecutor General to appoint a Special Prosecutor to this case, in fact, there should be Special Prosecutors for all such cases. He said that Minister Women Development Syed Shehla Raza also had a meeting regarding this case but the fact of the matter is that the government should ensure swift justice.
He spoke about 16 years old Jessica (Lines Area, Saddar Town) who was kidnapped, trafficked and victim of child marriage. He said that Police is doing nothing even a complaint is registered with them and they know the situation and location of the girl instead they told girl’s parents to go and get her themselves. He said that this is a routine behavior of Police as this is how they extort money from the parents.
Zia Awan said that since the role of Police was of utmost importance in these cases, the government should establish task forces of senior Police officers at provincial and district level who would act as watchdogs for such cases and respond to them immediately. He further added that the government is bringing a new Police Order and this has been done before but the Police institutions were not strengthened properly. The need is to strengthen the internal structure of the Police, implement the new Police Order fully, in letter and in spirit, especially ensuring the allocation of resources.
While speaking about government’s initiatives he said that there is no role of Sindh Child Protection Authority evident anywhere which is the principal government institution for child protection in Sindh. It is an utmost need that this authority should be made active and in coordination with other government departments. Similarly, Chief Minister Sindh Mr. Murad Ali Shah established a child protection committee in Sindh after the murder of Zainab and promised that this committee will meet every month.
“The level of interest and priority in child protection is such that till date only one meeting of this committee was convened that was the first meeting. After our reminders, Minister Social Welfare and Advisor Law called us and had a meeting with us but nothing else happened. He further said that there is no provision for any compensation for the girls and boys victims of violence and their parents whereas our justice system and the pursuit to justice leave the parents financially crippled.
“Pakistan is a signatory to United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and such incidents and Federal, Provincial Governments’ disinterest in the protection of girls is a question mark on our implementation progress on these conventions,” Zia Awan concluded.
Study Case I:
Parveen is a residence of Lines Area Karachi and works as a maid in Army Public School Saddar branch. Her husband Tariq works as a street hawker. They have 3 daughters and 1 son. Parveen’s younger brother Michael and his wife Mariam have been living with them for 3 years. Parveen used to leave her children and house in Mariam’s charge while going to work.
Mariam was friends with unknown males and regularly communicated with them on mobile behind the family’s back. In Parveen’s absence, Mariam forced 16-year-old Jessica, Parveen’s eldest daughter, to talk to a male on phone. Upon Jessica’s refusal, Mariam threatened her but Jessica never told this to her parents.
On April 16, 2019, when Parveen left for work. At 8 am, Tariq asked his younger daughter to wake Jessica up for school. They found that Jessica was not at home. Tariq called and asked Parveen that if she saw Jessica leaving for school in her presence. Parveen denied. They started searching for her.
When Parveen inquired her other children, she found out that Mariam used to force Jessica to talk to some unknown guy. Mariam denied this accusation. Parveen went to the police station to launch an FIR. Mariam begged Parveen not to register an FIR and told that she’ll help her in finding her daughter.
Mariam took Parveen and her two brothers, 1 sister and sister’s husband, and 1 neighbor to Cantt Station. The entire time, Mariam was trying to call someone but her calls were never picked. This made Parveen certain that her sister-in-law is behind her daughter’s disappearance. Parveen mentioned this in FIR which compelled Mariam in speaking.
She told that a man named Maqsood has taken Jessica away somewhere and Mariam’s brother Sammy is involved in this entire matter. Parveen faced many difficulties in getting her FIR registered. Police didn’t support her from day 01. They told her not to mention multiple names in the FIR as it will complicate the case. When they went to check Mariam’s house, they asked Parveen to pay the fuel cost for the police van.
Police arrested Sammy but he was released immediately on bail. Maqsood was never found. From a relative, Parveen received some pictures of Jessica. The relative told Parveen that Jessica is somewhere in Punjab province and she has been married. Police verified this and told that Parveen is in Nankana Sahib.
Police told Parveen to go and search for Jessica herself. Parveen doesn’t have the resources to go all the way to Punjab to pursue this case. She wants prompt and safe return of her daughter and the marriage which is illegal by Pakistan law to be dissolved as well.
Study Case II:
Khadija Batool Khokhar was a residence of Railway Colony Marshalling Yard Bin Qasim Malir. Her father Manzoor Ahmed Khokhar works as a clerk in Pakistan Railways. Khadija was a student of 3rd grade in The Citizen Foundation – TCF School. She commuted with her two sisters and her brother on auto-rickshaw.
On February 28, 2019, Khadija asked her father to give her some money to buy treats from the nearby shop. Manzoor gave her the cash and took his other children to market. 1 hour later when Manzoor returned home he found out that Khadija hasn’t returned yet. Khadija’s family started searching for her and even asked the nearby mosque to announce her disappearance.
However, the search didn’t result in any success. Around 10 pm at night, in charge of Railway check post along with his staff, and residents of the area went to search vacant flat # 11 block Q. At that time the flat was locked from outside. Upon searching, Khadija’s body was found floating in the water tank. She had expired.
Khadija’s hands and feet were tied and a piece of cloth was stuffed in her mouth to stop her from breathing. It was evident that she had been choked with the same cloth. Her body was covered in bruises and beating marks. Manzoor fainted after seeing her corpse of his daughter.
The police came on the scene and sent the body to Jinnah Hospital for examination. Doctors told that Khadija had been raped by multiple men. Detailed examination and DNA report revealed that 3 men were involved in the act.
Manzoor’s neighbor Farhan Panwar s/o Abdul Sattar Panwar and rickshaw driver Ayaz Jokio s/o Riaz Ali Jokio were identified and arrested by the police. The 3rd person was not revealed. Manzoor told that biting marks were found on Khadija’s face and during the postmortem report the MLO saved those marks but in the police report, it was never mentioned which culprit did that act.
Manzoor further revealed that despite 3 people mentioned in the DNA report, police never revealed the name of the 3rd person or made any attempt to catch him. The case has been ongoing for 2 months in ATC Court but the challan hasn’t been submitted yet.
This raises a mark on police performance and makes the case process dubious. Manzoor pleads the civil society, media and the general public to raise voice against this injustice and asked the government to ensure that such heinous crimes are never committed again.
*Zia Ahmed Awan Advocate is President Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid.
War Crimes: Trump considering pardons
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump confirmed Friday he is considering pardons for several military servicemen accused or convicted of war crimes, in what critics say would be an abuse of the powers afforded him under the US Constitution.
The New York Times reported, quoting administration officials, that Trump envisaged making the controversial pardons during the Memorial Day weekend when Americans honor those who died while serving in the military.
Reportedly among those being considered is Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL accused of shooting unarmed civilians and stabbing a teenage captive to death, who is due to stand trial starting next week.
Trump is also said to be eyeing a pardon for Matt Golsteyn, an ex-member of the elite US Army Green Berets, charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of an alleged Taliban bomb-maker in 2010.
Three Marines, arrested after video footage showed them urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in 2011, are also reportedly under consideration for a pardon, as well as a former Blackwater employee convicted of killing a teenaged Iraqi civilian in 2007.
“We’re looking at a lot of different pardons for a lot of different people,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Friday when asking why he was considering pardoning war criminals.
“Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard, long, you know. We teach them how to be great fighters and when they fight sometimes they get really treated very unfairly. So we’re going to take a look at it,” Trump added.
Trump confirmed he was considering two or three cases that were “a little bit controversial,” adding that he may let trials of these people proceed and then decide afterward.
“I haven’t done anything yet. I haven’t made any decisions,” he said.
Retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis was among those who came out strongly against Trump’s reported plans.
“I commanded several of the servicemen Trump may pardon,” the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander wrote Wednesday in Time magazine. “Letting them off will undermine the military.”
This type of pardon, he argued, “strengthens enemy propaganda, as they will correctly say that we do not hold ourselves accountable for our own standards,” and “spurs our enemies on to even more barbaric behavior.”
Such pardons would be “disgusting,” warned Democratic presidential hopeful and Navy veteran Pete Buttigieg.
It would be “an affront to the idea of good order and discipline and to the idea of the rule of law, the very thing we believe we’re putting our lives on the line to defend,” said Buttigieg, who served as a naval intelligence officer in Afghanistan in 2014.