A judicial magistrate in Peshawar on Thursday remanded three police officers — allegedly involved in abusing and stripping a man naked — into custody for two days.
The officers were arrested and booked for assault and other charges on Wednesday after a video, showing police personnel in uniform abusing, beating up and forcibly taking off the clothes of a man, circulated on social media.
All three of the police officials, who have been nominated in the first information report, were presented before the magistrate today.
Separately, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General of Police Sanaullah Abbasi and Peshawar capital city police officer appeared before the Peshawar High Court, which had taken notice of the matter.
IGP Abbasi told the court that all three policemen, who are nominated in the case, as well as the station house officer of the police station where the incident took place, have been suspended. The police chief further said that Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Zahoor Afridi has also been suspended for “playing a role” in the incident. The notification of Afridi’s suspension was issued late last night.
Before his suspension, Afridi, in a video message, had said the police high command had taken “strict notice” of the incident after the video went viral and promised that the “due course of law” will be followed.
“What is happening IG sahib, what direction are the police going in?” Judge Qaiser Rashid asked the IGP.
“This incident has shaken the foundations of society, have evoked sadness in people,” he remarked. He noted that while the “history of police was full of sacrifices” some “black sheep have defamed the entire department”.
“Before appointing [someone] as SHO, have them undergo a medical examination to ensure their mental condition is stable,” the judge advised, adding: “Do hold an inquiry but don’t end up handing a clean chit to your people.”
Inquiry to be held
Aide to KP chief minister Ajmal Wazir, in a media briefing, said that the provincial government has decided to constitute an inquiry commission under the West Pakistan Tribunals of Inquiry Ordinance.
The inquiry team, led by a judge, will record the statements of involved parties and turn in the report of its findings within a month. The report will be made public, Wazir said, adding that everyone found responsible by the commission will be punished.
Wazir further said that a first information report had been filed against the SHO as well.
Protests break out
According to the first information report (FIR) of the incident, registered on a police officer’s complaint after the video showing the abuse went viral, the victim is a 30-year-old Afghan national who currently resides in Peshawar’s Tehkal area. The incident took place at Tehkal Police Station.
The incident apparently occurred a week after the victim uttered profanities against police high-ups, including the inspector general and senior superintendent of police, in a video that was uploaded to social media.
In the video showing the abuse, police personnel can be heard forcing the man to apologise. A third video shot separately shows the man apologising for using abusive language against police officers and saying he will not repeat this. It was not immediately clear why the man had abused police in the first video.
As outrage grew on social media against the abuse directed at the man, police arrested three personnel of Tehkal Police Station, including an assistant sub-inspector and two constables.
Protests continued on Thursday as people gathered outside the KP Assembly demanding justice for the victim. In order to disperse the protesters, who were mainly peaceful, police used tear gas and beat demonstrators with batons.