Lynching of youth shocks Pakistan; SC intervenes

Last Updated: Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 18:09

Lahore: The lynching of two youth by a
mob in the presence of policemen in Pakistan`s central Punjab
province has prompted the Supreme Court Chief Justice to order
authorities to take stern action against the killers.

Civil society groups and the media have expressed
concern about the incident that occurred in Sialkot district
on August 15, saying it reflected the "growing intolerance" in
Pakistani society.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry took
suo moto notice of the incident after TV news channels beamed
shocking footage of the youths Hafiz Mughees, 21, and his
brother Hafiz Muneeb, 16 being beaten to death by a group of
men armed with sticks and rods.

Sialkot district police chief Waqar Chauhan, eight
other policemen and hundreds of people watched the lynching.

The video aired by news channels showed that the
youths were hit repeatedly by some men.

The mob later hung the bodies of the brothers upside
down in a square.

According to a First Information Report filed by
police, the brothers were going to meet their relatives in
Buttar village when some people caught them and accused them
of being robbers.

In a brazen display of mob justice, they tortured the
brothers, killed them and then hung their bodies and tried to
burn them.

The family of the youths has demanded justice and
stern legal action against police officials who failed to
rescue the brothers.

The family said the youths were killed in the wake of
a dispute over a cricket match they played some time ago.

The Deputy Commissioner of Sialkot said a charged mob
killed the two brothers for injuring four people in a dispute
over a cricket match.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry ordered Anti-
Corruption Director General Justice (retired) Kazim Malik to
investigate the matter.

"No one will dare to take the law into his own hands
if police had the courage and command to eradicate such brutal
and inhuman practices from society," Chaudhry said while
heading a bench that heard the suo moto case yesterday.

The atmosphere in the apex court became tense when the
gruesome video of the killing of the brothers was shown in the
courtroom.

When district police chief Chauhan informed the court
that Station House Officer Rana Mohammed Ilyas had been
arrested but the killers were yet to be detained, the Chief
Justice said Chauhan deserved to be suspended and sent to
jail.

PTI

The negligence shown by police could not be ignored,
the Chief Justice observed.

Pakistan is already facing natural disasters and
crisis with people dying of hunger but police were indulging
in extra-judicial killings, Chaudhry said.

District police chief Chauhan and the SP
(investigation) have been removed from active duty on the
Chief Justice`s orders and a case has been registered against
14 policemen and 17 other people.

Nine of them have been arrested so far.

Gujranwala`s Deputy Inspector General of Police
Zulfikar Cheema told reporters today: "It`s an act of gruesome
murder. It cannot be justified. All those involved in this
gruesome murder will be arrested and legal proceedings
initiated against them".

PTI



First Published: Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 18:09

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