–Committee will identify people responsible for tragedy
–It will also make amendments required for police training, regulations, treatment of injured people
–Police arrests man accused of robbing the family
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered for the formation of a committee that will determine the necessary amendments required for police training, regulations and treatment of injured people in hospitals.
This decision came during the hearing a case pertaining to the death of 10-year-old Amal Umer, a minor who lost her life after being hit by a stray bullet during a police encounter in Karachi’s Akhtar Colony.
The 10-year-old girl was killed when a policeman opened fire at a robber, who had robbed her family a few minutes earlier.
As per the apex court’s orders, the committee will identify people responsible for the tragedy. The committee will include Advocate General Sindh, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, Lateef Khosa and Advocate Umaima.
During the hearing, Amal’s mother Beenish recalled the night saying, “We were travelling from Korangi Road towards FTC when a man approached us at the signal and asked us to hand over everything.”
“There was a lot of traffic at the signal at the time. The man took my phone and bag and then told us to roll up the windows and left,” she continued. “As soon as my husband started the car, we heard a gunshot and a bullet suddenly hit our windshield.”
“When I turned, I saw Amal lying in a pool of blood and my other daughter clutching my husband’s seat,” Beenish recalled.
The mother further said that after she and her husband rushed Amal to the National Medical Centre (NMC), the hospital staff did not provide immediate treatment and instead intubated the injured child and attached an ambu bag.
“The hospital staff told us that she [Amal] did not have much time and it was a medico-legal case so we should take her to Jinnah hospital,” Beenish told the court.
“The hospital initially did not even help them arrange an ambulance,” Amal’s mother said. After much insistence, someone from the hospital called the Aman Foundation, who refused to send an ambulance till “arrangements were made” at Jinnah Hospital, she further apprised the court. “When we asked if we could take the ambu bag along, the NMC staff refused.”
By the time an ambulance reached them and they took their daughter to Jinnah Hospital it was too late. Amal had lost the battle for her life by then.
“We are not living in Kabul, Syria, Kashmir, Lebanon or Palestine…we live in Karachi,” Beenish said. The chief justice remarked that no amount of sympathy could help the grieving parents.
Further, court adviser in the case Latif Khosa remarked that the use of firearms by police should be reviewed immediately.
Speaking to the media after the decision was announced, Amal’s father thanked the apex court and CJP Nisar for taking notice of the case.
“We want to thank the Supreme Court and CJP Nisar for taking notice of the incident and ordering an inquiry into the matter,” he said.
“Our daughter will not come back to life but we want the problems [that led to her death] to be eradicated,” Umer stated, adding that “we want laws to be passed to solve the issues, be them at the police’s end or the hospitals”.
“We shouldn’t address things when a tragedy occurs, even though we have already faced this tragedy,” Amal’s father said.
The deceased child’s mother, Beenish, said we are raising the question that there should be police training and assessment.
Meanwhile, the accused that robbed Amal’s family and fled from the scene on the day she was shot dead was arrested by the police on Tuesday.
Karachi Police chief Dr Amir Ahmed Sheikh said that the accused, identified as Khalid was arrested during an encounter near Artillery Maidan Police Station.
The Karachi police chief further said that Khalid was involved in three theft incidents on August 14.
“Weapons, mobile phones and a rickshaw were seized from his possession,” the police chief added.
Earlier, CJP Mian Saqib Nisar had taken suo motu notice of the matter days after Amal’s mother Beenish Umer’s account of the incident appeared in media. The suo motu notice concerns the “irresponsible firing” by the police as well as the “failure of [a] well-known medical hospital to provide emergency medical aid as required by the law”.
Notices were sent to the advocate-general, health secretary, inspector-general of police and NMC administrator in this regard.