KARACHI: In a ‘brazen and brutal’ incident, a 49-year-old businessman and his teenage son, who has recently completed his O Level, were picked up by police in North Nazimabad, tortured, locked up and released hours later without any charge only because of joining an area residents’ protest against a water connection given to a private hospital from the main 48-inch pipeline supplying water to their neighbourhood.

The incident comes to surface days after it happened when the victims, coming out of ‘trauma and shock’ they went through, shared their ordeal with area residents and Dawn.

The torture carried out by the police left teenage Moosa bin Ahmer’s right foot fractured, one of his bones dislocated and an arm bandaged and multiple bruises all over his father Ahmer Mansoor’s body. The injuries the two suffered, as doctors told them, could take weeks to heal up and during that they would have to go through multiple medical procedures.

It all began on last Saturday evening when Mansoor with his 17-year-old son Moosa stopped at the site near Block-B of North Nazimabad where dozens of area residents were staging a protest over a water connection given to the Ziauddin Hospital.

Duo picked up, tortured after demo against water connection to private hospital; Odho promises probe

A contingent of police and district administration officials immediately reached the spot and dispersed the protesters, who said that the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board had deprived them of their due share of water by giving the water supply connection to the private health facility from the main line.

Mr Mansoor and his son were unlucky to decide to stay there for a few more minutes.

As the father was busy taking snaps from his cell phone, a contingent of police led by Hyderi police SHO Faisal Rafiq and another party of law-enforcers led by area DSP Aslam Rajput spotted young Moosa for the same reasons.

The father and son were allegedly punched, kicked, slapped and brutally beaten on the main road and then put in a mobile van that brought them to the Hyderi police station.

“We were then moved to the lock-up,” remembers Mansoor.

“I kept asking them, what was my crime? My son was scared and had almost fallen unconscious due to severe pain. But no one heard us. Then I noticed the leg of my son, which had swollen too much. I was beaten so badly that I couldn’t stand up. I asked for help and first aid for my son as he was unable to move and talk. But no mercy was shown. After hours-long mental stress and physical torture, we were released.”

Moosa remembers how DSP Aslam dressed in the uniform had beaten him, punched him over his face and while having on pair of heavy leather boots had kicked him several times on his foot that left it fractured and his arm’s bones dislocated.

“We have been visiting hospital daily for the past five days,” says Mr Mansoor. “It was simply my right to support my neighbourhood and its people, who were raising their voice against what they thought of as injustice. What was my crime that my whole family has been thrown into trauma?”

The matter came to light only after the victims shared the story with neighbours and the people actively involved in organising the protest.

The Jamaat-i-Islami, which led the protest with other political parties including Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) approached high-ups through a written request for action against the officials involved in the “inhumane treatment” meted out to the law-abiding citizens.

The area people also fail to understand what pushed the police to be so brutal and cruel with a protest, which was only against a private health facility and the KWSB.

Police chief ‘shocked’ by torture

Even Karachi police chief Javed Odho was ‘shocked’. He, however, stated that a formal inquiry into the incident would be initiated.

“This is shocking and intolerable,” he told Dawn. “We will definitely contact and coordinate with the victims. This matter will be looked into properly. If the police officials are found involved in it or found violating any defined law, they would face consequences.”

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2022

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