The robber, Salahuddin, died in police custody last week
The Punjab inspector general removed on Thursday Rahim Yar Khan district police officer over the custodial death of an ATM robber, whose video had gone viral on social media a few days ago.
The robber, Salahuddin, was seen in the viral footage making strange faces at the camera while robbing an ATM in Faisalabad last month. He was arrested for a robbery in Rahim Yar Khan last week.
A day after being arrested, the police announced that he had died in their custody. However, pictures of his body circulated widely on social media, narrating a harrowing tale of torture during his detention.
In a notification issued from the IG’s office Thursday, DPO Umar Farooq Salamat was directed to immediately report to the Central Police Office.
SSP Investigation Habibullah Khan was given the additional charge as DPO Rahim Yar Khan. On Wednesday, DSP City Rahim Yar Khan Abbas Akhtar was also suspended for “misconduct/inefficiency”.
Salahuddin’s father, Muhammad Afzaal, had lodged a case on Monday against three police officials over his son’s custodial death. The FIR was registered under sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The suspects included City A-Division’s SHO Mehmoodul Hassan and investigation officers Sub-Inspector Shafaat Ali and Assistant Sub-Inspector Matloob Hussain. Other policemen who were on duty when Salahuddin died were also named.
The deceased father also appeared on SAMAA TV show Awaz on Wednesday, alleging that his son had been brutally tortured.
“I bathed his body with my own hands and saw his bruises with my own eyes,” Afzaal said on the show.
“The skin inside his right arm was burnt, either with electrocution or an iron and there were big wounds on his left arm, which had been stitched up.
“One of his eyes was black and swollen, his hands and fingers were discoloured, like they have been tied with ropes,” he said. “My son had been suffering from a mental illness since childhood.”
He said Salahuddin was admitted to a mental institute in Chaman for a year and a half but there was no improvement in his health. “We had written [tattooed] our house address on his arm, because his mind didn’t work properly,” he said.
According to the deceased’s father, this was not the first time Salahuddin had been arrested or was involved in a robbery.
“I received many complaints earlier and he was arrested many times. My son even went to Adiala Jail twice,” he said. “However, most of the times people brought him back home after seeing the address on his arm.
“He was presented before a judge earlier, who sent him back after seeing that he suffered from a cognitive impairment,” Afzaal said.