Police have been unable to track down the whereabouts of a teenaged student who has been missing for the last three months, and a court has declined to quash an FIR of his alleged abduction for want of evidence.
Seventeen-year-old Shehbaz Akhtar, a resident of the Burnes Road area, went missing on May 17. An FIR was lodged on his father’s complaint at the Aram Bagh police station under Section 364 (kidnapping with the intent to murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). He alleged that his son’s acquaintance, named Tariq Ahmed, abducted him.
The investigating officer, DSP Jahanzaib, filed a report under Section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before Judicial Magistrate (South) Saeed Ahmed, recommending the court to dispose of the kidnap case under “A-class”, which means he could not find any evidence to justify putting the accused on trial for the alleged offence.
On perusal of the record, the magistrate said it was evident that the IO just wrote letters to the authorities concerned but did not bother to look himself for the alleged abductee, nor did he visit the school of the victim to find out whether or not the accused used to meet him as stated by the counsel for the complainant. The IO has not also provided information about the place of the business of the accused, his co-workers and residents of the area, he remarked, adding the officer has not even recorded statements of witnesses who had seen the teenager at the accused’s office on the day he went missing as per the submission of the counsel.
Magistrate Khan, therefore, declined to accept the IO’s report, observing that a youth has been missing for the last three months and the accused person is the one he would remain in touch with before his disappearance.
He directed the SSP Investigation (South) to assign the investigation of the case to the agency of the police that deals with such matters with intimation to the court.
Advocate Bahzad Akbar, the complainant’s counsel, argued that the IO had not conducted a proper investigation into the case as the accused was the one the victim had been hanging out with and he was also spotted outside his school. He claimed the officer didn’t bother to dig deep into the details and collect evidence from the office of the accused where the two would often catch up. Moreover, he said the IO had not recorded the statement of any of the witnesses who had seen both of them together and that he only recorded statements of the witnesses of his choice just to close the case and relieve himself of the burden of the investigation.
On the other hand, the lawyer of accused Tariq contended that the case had been investigated in a proper manner by a team of senior officers who concluded that there was no need for further probe, after which the IO filed the report under “A-class”.
According to the content of the FIR, the complainant, a labourer, stated that Tariq Ahmed was in contact with his son. He maintained his son had informed him about his contact with the accused introducing him as a driver and a good person, who offered to help him learn driving but he forbade it.
He said that when he woke up on the morning of May 17, his son was missing and alleged that he had been kidnapped by the accused.