Cadet College Mastung abuse case
Balochistan Chief Justice Mohammad Noor Meskanzai on Wednesday said that punishing the principal of Cadet College, Mastung who is in police custody for allegedly ordering the torture of junior cadets before an investigation team completes its inquiry will have a “negative impact” on the teachers. Justice Meskanzai is heading a two-member high court bench that is hearing a case pertaining to the torture of junior cadets at the school.
A video of the incident, which was circulated widely on social media, showed staff members and senior cadets beating junior students with sticks. After the video emerged, a petition was filed in the Balochistan High Court by Balochistan Bar Association President Shah Mohammad Jatoi. He had alleged that the junior students had been subjected to assault after the son of the college principal was “slapped” by someone.
“Education should not be influenced by politics,” Justice Hashim Kakar, who is a member of the two-member bench, remarked during today’s hearing. The deputy inspector general of the Counter-Terrorism Department, Aitzaz Goraya, who appeared before the court on Wednesday, submitted a copy of the first information report of the incident and said that nine of the perpetrators had been identified from the video and statements of the students.
He told the bench that one senior student, who was allegedly involved in the incident, had been arrested from Mastung, while police are searching for others. “Punishment should not be inflicted upon an innocent person,” Justice Meskanzai said, adding that the police must take action against those involved in accordance with the law. Balochistan Secretary of Higher Education Abdullah Jan, who was also present in court, said that a three-member investigation committee had been sent to Mastung and a probe had been launched. The committee was formed by Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo on Tuesday.
Advocate Naseebullah, one of the petitioners, insisted that an independent commission should hold the investigation so that such incidents can be prevented in future. Principal Secretary to the Balochistan Governor Sajjad Bhutta, who had also appeared before the court, told the bench that an “emergency meeting” of the Cadet College’s board of directors had been called to discuss the incident.
Justice Kakar termed the incident an “ugly stain on the face of society” and ordered authorities to inform the court of their findings within 10 days. He also ordered Bhutta and Goraya to visit the college “to dispel students’ fear”. The case was adjourned until May 28.