Suspect’s father claims Rangers asking him to declare son criminal in return for release

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A Karachi resident has filed a petition in the Sindh High Court (SHC) accusing Sindh Rangers of demanding that he write a letter saying that his son is a criminal in exchanging for his freedom.

The suspect’s lawyer also claimed that the Rangers had sought a written letter stating that the man is involved in heinous crimes, if the family wanted him released.

Abdul Rafique, father of Haroon, told the court that a company of Rangers entered his house in Lyari’s Nawalane area in the small hours of February 26 and took with them his 25-year-old son Haroon, who had arrived in Karachi from Dubai a week ago on a leave.

He said that the Rangers officials took original CNIC, passport and cell-phone of the suspect with them. He said that he called his relatives to help him search for the suspect when his nephew, who is a practicing advocate in the SHC, received a call from 61 Wing, Abdullah Shah Ghazi Rangers.

Rafique said that he sent his nephew to Abdullah Shah Ghazi Rangers, but Superintendent Asghar Valika refused to hand Haroon over to his nephew when he denied giving him in writing that his cousin is a criminal and is involved in heinous crimes.

Rafique told the court that he went to Kalakot Police Station to lodge a complaint against Sindh Rangers for detaining his son unlawfully, but the police refused to enter the application and take action against this illegal move. He said that he had sent applications for his son’s release to Sindh Rangers DG, MI DG, IB DG, FIA DG, Sindh Police IG and SHO Kalakot Police Station.

Lawyer of Haroon, who is also a cousin of the suspect, Altaf Hussain advocate when approached for comments, endorsed the facts mentioned above. Hussain said that when he reached 61 Wing of Abdullah Shah Ghazi Rangers, Superintendent Asghar Valika told him that they were going to release his cousin as they had found him innocent.

“But he told me that I would have to sign three undertakings before taking custody of Haroon. He presented two filled and one unfilled stamp papers before me. I signed the filled stamp papers which said that I was taking custody of Haroon and that he was medically fit at the time of the release.”

“Then the superintendent directed me to provide in my own hand writing that Haroon is a criminal, which I refused. When I asked him why he was doing this, the superintendent told me that Haroon had links with a Lyari gangster. I said that it was not true and asked him what his evidence was.”

“He said that they had been after Haroon for months and that he had been hiding in his home for the last four months but that they had finally found him and arrested him. When I asked why if Haroon was a criminal, he was being released in exchange for my letter, the superintendent told me it was official procedure.” Altaf Hussain claimed that it had been almost a month since his cousin’s arrest by the Rangers but the paramilitary force had neither released him nor produced him in court.

“We have filed a constitutional petition in the SHC, but the lawyer of the paramilitary force is avoiding appearing before the court in this case,” Hussain maintained.

Sindh Rangers spokesman Major Sibtain said that “no arrest was made from Lyari on February 26 and no suspect by the name of Haroon was in their custody”.

“As per law, we would have to produce a suspect before a court in 48 hours. We have been following this procedure since the start of the operation,” he maintained. He rejected the accusation that the Sindh Rangers were demanding any undertaking from the heirs of the suspects.

Superintendent Asghar Valika could not be reached for comment.

While the Sindh Rangers have taken thousands of suspects into its custody since the launch of the Karachi operation in September 2013, almost 97 per cent of them have been released as their involvement in crimes was not proven.