Compensation payment to Amal’s parents approved, SC told


ISLAMABAD: Sindh Advocate General Salman Tali­buddin on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that provincial Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had approved the payment of compensation to the parents of Amal Umer – the 10-year-old girl who became a victim of an alleged police encounter in Karachi last year.

The compensation was made in line with the government’s policy regarding compensation to victims.

Then chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had taken a suo motu notice of the incident, which caused a national outcry at the time.

During today’s hearing, the lawyer of Amal’s parents said that accepting the compensation money that was being offered by the Sindh government would be “shameful” for them.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who was heading the two-member bench hearing the case, inquired about the steps taken against the police officials who were involved in the ‘encounter’. Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) Syed Kaleem Imam, who appeared before the court today, said that the officials were suspended and cases had been registered against them.

“Is it enough to suspend those whose negligence resulted in the death of the child?” Justice Ahmed asked.

“Police report ensures that such an incident will not take place again,” he noted. “It also says that a training session for officials has also been launched.

“Is a two-day training session enough? How much will police officials learn in two days?” the judge remarked.

The advocate general told the court that training sessions will continue to be held frequently.

Justice Ahmed also berated the chairman of the Sindh Health Commission, who was present in court today, and said: “Your people have been pressuring people after a court order. If it is disclosed that [your department] took any illegal measures, we will eliminate the entire department.”

“There are grave allegations against you. The court will not give any concession if they are proven,” Justice Ahmed warned.

The advocate general said that the Sindh Health Commission had submitted one report in the Karachi Supreme Court registry and requested the court to grant one day for the submission of another comprehensive report. The request was granted and the hearing was adjourned for a month.

The case

Last year, Amal had suffered bullet wounds during an exchange of fire between policemen and robbers during an ‘encounter’ in Karachi. According to her mother, she was taken to the National Medical Centre where the minor girl was denied treatment and the family was told to take her either to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre or to Aga Khan University Hospital. She lost her life due to the delay in treatment.

Her death had sparked public anger and questions were raised over police performance as well as the negligence of hospitals in such cases.