Enquiry committee accuses police officials of ‘gross negligence’


KARACHI: An enquiry committee looking into the kidnapping of Owais Shah, son of Sindh High Court Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, says there is a lack of coordination among police officials investigating the incident.

Official sources told that the committee accused the police officials investigating the kidnapping of “gross negligence”.

An eight-member police team headed by Crime Investigation Agency Deputy Inspector General Sultan Ali Khawaja is investigating the kidnapping of Shah.

The police sources cited a committee report as saying that there were no proper channels of communication among police officials even within the district where Shah was kidnapped. The committee has recommended action against 24 police officials, including nine senior officers.

The police received a 107-second call on its helpline about Shah’s kidnapping, but they denied receiving any call about the incident. The action taken afterwards exposed the negligence and inefficiency of the police officials who were not even informed about the complaint registered through the helpline. The committee said in its report that a citizen had alerted the station house officer of the Clifton Police Station at 04:00pm about Shah’s kidnapping. The incident was reported to the senior superintendent of police (SSP) at 07:00pm and the superintendent of police at 09:30pm.

A full bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali is hearing the Karachi law and order case. Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain are members of the bench.

The casual attitude and alleged inefficiency of SSP Dr Muhammad Farooq, who was grilled in connection with Shah’s kidnapping, angered the court. “We believe this officer facilitated the crime,” said one of the judges on the bench. He said that Farooq showed criminal negligence despite receiving information about the kidnapping well in time and took no concrete step to arrest the culprits, investigate the incident or inform his high-ups, without any plausible explanation.

The court ordered the police authorities to relieve Farooq immediately and appoint Saqib Ismail in his place. He was suspended two days after Shah’s kidnapping and was made SSP (East) Karachi.

However, he was reinstated to his previous post on interference of a powerful political figure. The court expressed its displeasure at the decision and took suo motu notice of it. The court called into question the decision to reinstate Farooq. In response, the inspector general of the Sindh Police informed the court through a letter that Farooq had been removed from his post.

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped Shah from a supermarket in an upscale Karachi neighbourhood on June 20. Law enforcement agencies have failed to find any clue to Shah’s kidnappers so far.

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