Extra judicial killings

Arsalan Raja

ON January 13, Naqib was killed in a police encounter in Karachi by declaring him to be a terrorist who belonged to a banned organisation which is now termed as suspicious encounter. In Pakistan, extra-judicial killing carried out by the Police on a daily basis is not only illegal, unlawful, inhuman but also highly condemnable. It is negatively affecting the faith in our legal system and courts. It is not only violative of law but also a brutal and inhuman act on the part of the police officials which shakes the legal framework of society and which in turn loses its trust in our judicial system.
It is worth mentioning that under the Police Ordinance and police rules. police is to arrest the criminals and to investigate the crime but they cannot exceed their limits, they can use reasonable force to arrest a criminal but killing of a person in the form of fake encounters, before arresting him, is a sheer illegal act. It is the collective responsibility of the police and the judicial magistrates of the area to have effective control over the local Police so that they perform their duties within their powers. Magistrates are empowered by the law, to direct the Superintendent of Police to take suitable measures for the protection and detection of crime they are also empowered to inspect Police Stations in their jurisdictions however it is correct to suggest that majority of Magistrates prefer continuing to maintain harmonious relations with the senior police officials instead of urging them to impress upon their subordinates to attend to their duties effectively.
It is a duty of the Inspector-General of Police of each province to check and control crime and to see that all the officers subordinate to him perform their duties in accordance with law and that the gazetted officer personally supervise the investigations to ensure that it is faithfully carried out and whether or not they check the case diaries and make inspections of the police station and post falling under their jurisdiction. The Police rules specifically require that every police officer shall keep his temper thoroughly under control, and shall act with courtesy on all occasions and shall not allow his composure to be disturbed by the behaviour of others towards him and while defending himself or lawfully enforcing his authority, and shall act with calmness and shall use as little violence as possible. Police should be used strictly for the purpose for which it is established and law should be enforced in its real spirit.
Section 29 of the Police Act says that a police officer, who is guilty of any violation of any duty of wilful breach or neglect of any rule or regulation or lawful order made by competent authority or offers any unwarrantable violence to any person in his custody, shall be liable to 3-month imprisonment besides being proceeded against departmentally. Under Article 9 of the Constitution of Pakistan, no person shall be deprived of life or liberty but in accordance with law. Article 10 of the Constitution provides safeguards against arrest and detention. It provides that no person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest and every person who is arrested and detained, shall be produced before a Magistrate within 24 hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for journey from the place of arrest to the court of nearest Magistrate and that he shall not be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a Magistrate. If any Police official is involved in extra-judicial killing, he must be punished under the strict clauses of Police Rules 1934, Police Order 2002 and Pakistan Penal Code 1860.
Extra-judicial killing are a disgrace of law and cannot be condoned. If the police itself violate the law, they have no right to be described as custodian of law. It is alleged that whenever any complaint is made to the higher police authorities about excessive use of force by it they try to shield and protect their subordinates with the result that people lose all confidence in the departmental enquiries. Hardly any serious inquiry appears to be conducted by the police to find out the truth behind the extra judicial killings.
Recent killing of a 27-year old Naqib in an {alleged} fake encounter with a police team headed by SSP Rao Anwar needs to be inquired in detail. The investigation of this encounter should be explored so that the status of Naqib and the police could be clarified. It is important that if the relevant Police officials found guilty, they must be punished and FIR should be lodged against the Police officials involved under Anti-Terrorism Act and their illegal, unlawful and inhumane acts must not be ignored and brushed. It is obligatory on the Police officials to respect law and rights guaranteed to citizens under the Constitution of Pakistan and must not take law into his own hands and take away the precious life of citizens of the country without due process of law. It is incumbent upon government officials to ensure that they facilitate the public instead of themselves. After all, public officers are nothing but the servants of the citizens of Pakistan.
—The writer is Advocate High Court and practices law in Karachi.

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