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Hunza killings: Justice delayed is justice denied

March 8, 2012

Hunza killings: Justice delayed is justice denied

Published: March 8, 2012

People travel on the frozen Attabad Lake. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: After losing her husband and son to indiscriminate firing  by the police at people affected by the Attabad Lake, a woman has demanded the federal government to initiate an inquiry into the incident.

Razia Begum regretted that the inquiry report was yet to be made public even six months after her husband Sherullah Baig and son Sher Afzal were killed when the police opened indiscriminate fire at the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) of Attabad Lake in Aliabad, Hunza, while they were protesting for their rights.

Afzal and his father along with some other IDPs were in front of a bank, waiting to get an instalment of the assistance allocated by the government on August 1, last year. Instead, they received multiple bullets when they started to peacefully protest against the delay after failing to get the assistance promised by the government.

On the directives of Deputy Superintendant of Police (DSP) Babar Khan, Constable Azam Khan had opened fire first at young Afzal and then at his father, when he came to his aid. Both of them sustained serious injuries and died on the way to the hospital.

All the police officials including the DSP, who had directed to open fire, are still performing their duties, whereas the bereaved family is going from pillar to post seeking justice.

G-B Chief Minister Mehdi Shah had constituted a judicial commission headed by a session judge to investigate the killings and given a two-month deadline to fix responsibility. Despite, submitting the inquiry report to the G-B chief secretary, it was never made public by the provincial authorities, nor were the police officials responsible ever brought to book.

“Provincial officials had promised us that the culprits would be brought to justice in line with recommendations of the inquiry report, but the report was never made public,” Razia said.

She demanded of the federal government to intervene in the matter and provide justice to the bereaved family. “The inquiry report was supposed to be made public within two months. But the issue is still pending after six months,” she lamented. She contended that instead of punishing them, the police officials are being promoted and given undue protocol by the government.

She also expressed concern over the arrest of IDPs under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATC) during the peaceful protest. She said that citizens have the right to protest and charging them under the ATC is an injustice to the people affected by a natural calamity.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2012.

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