LAHORE: Despite government claims of police reforms and changing Thana culture, citizens are running from pillar to post to get justice.
A group of villagers on Friday lodged a protest against Jaranwala police outside the Central Police Office (CPO) for keeping a young boy in illegal custody and torturing him.
Protesters, including men, women and children, chanted slogans against the police and government authorities.
“Jaranwala police Nausar bazun ki sarparast” (Jaranwala police—supporter of plunderers) read one of the placards held by protesters who also demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan to take swift action in the matter.
Last week, a new move of police reforms was initiated which was met with strong resistance from senior police officials who termed it an attempt to strip police’s power and place it under the bureaucracy.
Taking the police department’s reservations into account the prime minister had ordered the Punjab government to prepare a new draft for police reforms and also sought the Inspector General Police of Punjab’s (IGP) input, which according to sources will be presented next week.
Protesters claimed that police picked up a boy, Iftikhar Siddique, from outside a KFC restaurant in Thokar Niaz Baig after which they took him to PTI MNA Malik Nawab Sher Waseer’s office from where he was taken to Jaranwala police station and subjected to severe torture and illegal detention.
Iftikhar’s parents claimed that the Lahore High Court appointed a bailiff for their son’s recovery who managed to have Iftikhar released from police custody on August 29. In his report, the bailiff pointed out the misstatements of police officials in the case and also stated that Iftikhar had been unlawfully detained by Jaranwala police.
Iftikhar’s brother Imtiaz Saleem said, “The police were not very cooperative and finally it was the high court bailiff through whom we were able to recover Iftikhar,” adding that the police unlawfully kept his brother under detention and subjected him to extrajudicial torture.
“We have now moved an application in the CPO against Jaranwal police,” Imtiaz said, while questioning the government’s claims of reforming Thana culture.
In his application to the CPO, Iftikhar claimed to have been kept in police custody for 19 days and to also having been forcefully taken to the dera of a PTI lawmaker in Jaranwala. He further pleaded with the IGP to take strict action against SHO Abdul Majeed Gujjar, ASI Moshin Abbas, SI Javed Akram among others.
In another incident a citizen, Faizan, a resident of Khayban-e-Quaid approached DIG (operations) Lahore Ashfaq Ahmed Khan to complain against Hanjarwal police for not cooperating with him.
“I came to lodge protest against Hanjarwal police for not arresting the accused who stole my bike, I know who the culprits are and have told the police about them but instead of recovering my bike they are trying to quiet me down,”. The complainant said.
Newly appointed Additional Inspector General of Police Inam Ghani, was approached to give a statement regarding the matter but he refused to comment.