Who ordered the shootout?


The police investigation team directed to investigate the Nishtar Town police encounter has neither interrogated nor sought the cell phone records of accused police officials before the submitting the challan, accused police officials claimed. The investigation teams’ challan declares suspected police officials ‘witnesses’ in the encounter in which Shahbaz Butt was killed. The challan declares DSP Riasat Ali Javed, Sub-Inspector Riaz Ahmed and two constables guilty of staging a police encounter with. DSP Javed challaned in abetment. However, other officials charged by the Inquiry Officer were not interrogated before being declared witnesses.
Assured of acquittal: The accused police officials alleged that senior police official had approached their families asking them to keep their lips sealed and had been assured that their kin would be declared innocent at an appropriate time.
In their statements, Sub-Inspector Riaz Ahmed and the two constables declared that SSP Operations Shaukat Abbas had convened a meeting attended by all Station House Officers Model Town Division, SP Operation Muhammad Awais, SP Investigation Model Town Khurram on June 9 to outline a strategy how to combat crimes and handle criminals. The SSP said that the SHO and Investigation In-charge must respond to bullets with bullets. Subsequently, on June 10, an alleged dacoit Shahbaz Butt was handed over to police by locals and accused of injuring two individuals during a robbery attempt. Upon receiving a wireless message, Nishtar Town Investigation In-Charge Zulifqar Vario and Sub-inspector Ahmed reached the spot and took the dacoit into custody.
Received ‘green signal’: The officials said that Vario contacted SHO Naved Akmal and other senior police officials for guidance. They said the SHO and In-charge Investigation were given a green signal from senior police officers concerned to stage a shoot out. Subsequently, an encounter was staged and the SHO aired a wireless message declaring the death of one criminal was killed and that two others had succeeded in fleeing. This was written into the Police Log Book.
The Inspector General of Police had nominated Major (Retd) Mubashar Ullah of the DIG police training school inquiry officer in the matter, who declared DSP Riasat Ali Javed, Sub-Inspector Riaz Ahmed and two constables guilty of conducting a fake police encounter and ordered their arrest prior to the registration of a case against them. The inquiry officer also recommended that the Nishtar Town SHO, Nishtar Town In-charge Investigation, Sub Inspector Akber Ali and three constables be interrogated since they appeared to be involved.
Saving skins: However, the investigating team headed by SSP Investigation Abdul Razzak Cheema did not interrogate the suspected officials nor retrieved their cell phone data. Subsequently, the investigating team submitted a challan and recorded the suspected officers as witnesses to cover up the incident for fear of disclosure of who ordered the shoot out, said the accused.
The accused requested that authorities re-investigate the case. Speaking to Pakistan Today, the families of the accused police officials claimed the officers were being made scapegoats to save the senior officials who had approved the encounter. They warned that they would hold a protest in front of the CM Secretariat against police high-ups if justice was not done.
However, SSP Investigation Abdul Razzaq Cheema said police had submitted a challan after completing investigations. He said if anyone objects, they may challenge the challan through the court. To a question, he said that if some senior police officers had visited the accused officials’ homes, their names should be exposed. The SSP question, “why are the accused officials not ashamed of their crime?”