Another fake encounter?


A 16-year-old student was killed and a friend of his injured in an alleged police encounter in Karachi on Monday night. The father of the deceased boy, Arsalan, has lodged an FIR with the police in which he has claimed that a police constable, in civilian clothes, and a friend of his murdered his son in a fake encounter. The post-mortem of the body confirmed that the adolescent received one single fatal bullet in the back. The two boys were returning from their tuition centre at 8.30pm when the incident occurred. The cop and his friend involved in the incident have been arrested. The police have registered a case under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, including section 302 that applies in murder cases, and one section of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The accused maintains that he opened fire in self-defence after he saw the youngster take out a pistol. It is well-established that cops in civvies are not allowed to open fire on anyone unless warranted by any extraordinary situation. However, the fact that the youngster had suffered a single bullet wound in the back makes the accused policeman’s claim about firing in self-defence doubtful, since in several such cases investigations have established that the police did not exercise restraint and opened fire resulting in death.

Our Constitution guarantees the right of life and property to all citizens. These are recognised as fundamental rights. In the light of the constitutional guarantee, killing people on mere suspicion is a clear violation of basic rights. The Supreme Court too has set guidelines for the police to follow in their conduct, how investigations into alleged extrajudicial killings and how court proceedings are to be carried out. With so many legal provisions in place, we hope that the victims’ families will get justice. No one can be allowed to violate fundamental rights.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2021.

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