Protesters gathered around the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly for the second day on Friday demanding justice for a Peshawar man who was beaten and paraded naked for criticising the provincial police department in a social media post.
Four policemen, identified as Tehkal SHO Shehryar Khan, Phandi IHS Zairullah, Tehkal FC Naeem and Tauseef, have been suspended over the alleged torture.
The protesters were staging a demonstration when an extra contingent of law enforcing officers arrived at the site. The men chanted slogans asking for a fair and transparent trial of the case and some pelted stones at the assembly building. In response, the police shelled them and attacked them with batons to disperse them in a repeat of Thursday’s protest.
The KP home department has written a letter to the chief justice of the Peshawar High Court asking him to form a one-member committee comprising a judge to look into the matter, said Adviser to KP CM Ajmal Wazir in a press briefing.
“We have decided that the actual culprit will be sentenced and report will be made public,” he said. “I understand that people are angry and this is the first time such strict action has been taken against the police.”
The KP govt will not tolerate such behaviour from the policemen, he warned. “The KP IG, chief secretary and chief minister have all decided to launch a judicial inquiry into the matter.”
He, however, claimed that some people are using the case to pursue their own political agenda. It would make sense to protest if the government was not doing anything but why are demonstrations still being held, he asked. “I request people not to forget the sacrifices made by 1,500 KP police personnel in the war against terrorism just because of a few men.”
Rafiullah alias Amir, a resident of Tehkal, was arrested and assaulted after a video of him mocking the KP went viral. In a similar case, a 14-year-old boy was picked up by the police in Dera Ismail Khan and detained overnight for posting a cartoon he drew of a check post.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has recorded 20 cases of custodial torture in the last year – these are only those cases that gain public attention through the media. Numerous other cases still go unreported, the commission said in a joint statement with Justice Project Pakistan. “Torture is criminal, make it a crime.”