- Sindh police detained acquitted men for 90 days under MPO.
- SHC reprimands police for botched investigation.
- “Enough is enough,” remarks Justice Karim Khan Agha.
Sindh High Court (SHC)on Monday declared illegal Sindh Police’s detention of the five men acquitted of Perween Rahman’s murder, under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance, 1960 (MPO).
The SHC heard the petition filed by a detained man, Mohammad Imran Swati. Secretary Home Ministry, Inspector General of Sindh Police Ghulam Nabi Memon, and other officials attended the hearing.
The petition stated that the petitioner was acquitted in the murder case by the SHC as the prosecution could not prove any charges against him and other co-defendants.
The Sindh home department, on December 1, issued a notification to detain him (Imran Swati) and other co-accused for 90 days under the MPO despite his acquittal.
Detention under MPO declared unlawful
The applicant’s attorney argued that the detention under MPO was against merit and unlawful. The notification was issued over speculations and rumours, he added.
Assistant Advocate General Sindh (AAG) Sindh argued that the notification was not issued under media pressure or any foul intentions.
The court declared the notification of the detention of five men under MPO, unlawful.
The court questioned the Inspector General of Police Sindh Ghulam Nabi Memon on the basis of what evidence the police detained the five men despite their acquittal on November 21.
IGP Sindh responded they took the action on two different intelligence reports from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Special Branch.
The court ordered the government attorney to present any evidence or the criminal record of the five men. The court expressed displeasure at how the police declared someone criminal without any record.
Court not Satisfied
Justice Karim Khan Agha remarked that they were not satisfied with the departmental inquiry by the police and that they had reprimanded the police for the lousy investigations many times.
Memon requested the court to give them one more chance. However, the court said they should take action against the police over the botched investigation, adding that the SSP, DIG, and IG have not presented any substantive evidence for holding the men in custody for 90 days under MPO.
Letter by Perween’s sister
SSP West told the court that Perween Rahman’s sister submitted a letter regarding threats to her life following the men’s acquittal.
The court asked about the missing time stamp on the letter to which the SSP said that she gave him the letter in person when he visited her office.
The police detained the men just because news about ‘dangerous criminals’ being freed started circulating.
Action against Sindh Police
“Enough is enough,” remarked Justice Karim Khan Agha asking the Advocate General Sindh to suggest what action should be taken against the police officers.
The court ordered him to present a valid reason for invoking the MPO, rejecting the government attorney’s suggestion to form a commission to investigate the issue. There is a nine-day gap between the court’s verdict in favour of the five men and their detention. Did the men do anything suspicious in those nine days? the court asked.
Home Secretary battered by the court
The court inquired the Home Secretary based on what evidence did he issue the notification of detention. The secretary told the court that he scrutinised the information for six days before issuing the notification for arrest. The court questioned if they had ever rejected a request for detention.
“Certified target killers have been released in the past, have they been detained afterwards?” the court questioned the Home Secretary.
“Rather than providing security to Perween Rahman’s sister, the police detained the men under MPO,” the court added.