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Stoning to death’ case: DPO made OSD, transfer of RPO recommended

LAHORE: In the wake of a woman’s alleged stoning to death in Khanewal district and suo motu action taken by the Supreme Court, the Khanewal district police officer was made OSD and recommendation to transfer the Multan regional police officer was sent to the Punjab government on Tuesday.

Inspector General of Punjab Police Mohammad Habibur Rehman also recommended the provincial government a judicial inquiry into the Maryam Bibi case.

According to a handout, the provincial police chief immediately transferred Khanewal DPO Muhammad Waqar Abbasi and directed him to report to the Central Police Office. He also suspended Khanewal Saddar circle DSP Javaid Khan for not supervising the investigation of the case properly and failing to visit the place of occurrence.

The IGP also suspended Kacha Khoo SHO Inspector Shamshad Khalid and In-charge Chowki Aaqil Kacha Khoo Police Station Sub-Inspector Muhammad Ashraf for their gross misconduct and inefficiency. He also recommended transfer of Multan RPO Mubarik Ali Athar.

The IGP also constituted a new inquiry team (third) which will be headed by Sheikhupura RPO Zulfiqar Cheema whereas Lahore DIG (Investigation) Chauhdry Shafique Ahmed and SSP (Investigation) Punjab Tariq Nawaz Malik will be the members of the panel.

A detailed police report submitted to the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday last and available with Dawn stated that the news published in print and relayed on electronic media regarding death of Maryam by stoning was not based on facts and rather published/relayed without proper verification.

It said Maryam’s husband confessed to murdering his wife instead she was stoned to death.

As per details, Muhammad Siddique of Chak No 15-B-R reported at Kacha Khoo police station on July 18, 2012 that his daughter-in-law Maryam filed petition under section 22-A Cr. P C with the ASJ Khanewal for registration of case against Raja Mehboob Pervaiz Khan, Raja Arsalan, Raja Mehmood alias Nanha Khan, Raja Habib Khan, Raja Shakeel, Raja Abdul Ghaffar and three unidentified people.

Accused party Raja Mehboob arranged Punchayat in the village about four to five days ago and decided to murder Maryam and her husband. On the night between July 17 and 18 he along with his son Sarfraz and Maryam was asleep at home when the accused entered his house and forcibly took away his son and daughter-in-law to a vacant plot.

They pelted Maryam with stones and bricks who was injured and fell down. On their hue and cry Ghulam Abbas and Muhammad Mujahid reached the spot and witnessed the occurrence. The accused kidnapped his son Sarfraz while Maryam succumbed to her wounds at the spot.

In this connection, a case under sections 302, 364, 148 and 149 of PPC has been registered at Kacha Khoo PS on July 18.

The motive behind the occurrence was that on July 10 Maryam and her husband went to cut grass from the cotton crop of Raja Mehboob who forbade them to do so and harsh words were exchanged between them. In the evening Mehboob was returning his house when he reached near Maryam’s house, Maryam and her husband tortured Mehboob.

On July 13, Mehboob filed a petition U/S 22-A Cr P C for registration of a case against Maryam. On July 14, Maryam also filed a petition U/S 22-A for registration of a case against Mehboob.

On July 14, Zainab Bibi, mother-in-law of Maryam, filed petition U/S 22-A against Mehboob etc with allegation that they held a Punchayat and decided to kill her and her family.

The alleged participants of Punchayat were associated with the investigation on July 21, who contended that no such Punchayat was held and they were innocent.

During investigation, a special team under the supervision of Khanewal SP (Investigation) was constituted for the arrest of the accused and recovery of the abductee. The autopsy of Maryam was conducted and the medical officer opined that “Death due to compression of blood vessels due to pressure on the neck. Extra variation of blood vessels due to compression and impaired blood supply to the brain and also blood loss due to head injury.”

Three accused – Mehboob, Mehmood and Arsalan – were arrested on July 19 while the remaining three accused are on interim bails till July 26. They joined the investigation and pleaded their innocence.

Abductee Sarfraz was recovered on July 20 at 9:45pm near the bank of canal at Chak No 4/8-R and his statement U/S 164 Cr P C was got recorded by area magistrate in the presence of arrested accused. He didn’t verify the contents of the FIR and stated that “He was kidnapped by an unknown person. Ms Azizan Mai (cousin of his mother) knew him, he didn’t know who killed his wife.”

Azizan Bibi of Mohallah Eidgah Abdul Hakim and unknown person namely Muhammad Safdar of Chak No 4/AH Makhdoompur (mentioned in the statement of 164 Cr P C) have been arrested on July 21 and are on three-day physical remand.

Sarfraz (abductee) and aforesaid Azizan and Safdar were got confronted and Azizan denied allegations of kidnapping by Safdar with her connivance.

The report further said the investigation was changed and the additional IG (Investigation Branch) was directed to finalize investigation purely on merit and in accordance with law.

A special team constituted for conducting investigation of the case is stationed at Khanewal. It visited the crime scene; put some questions to abductee Sarfraz who was recovered on July 20. The replies to questions given by Sarfraz were of such a nature that the special team suspected his involvement in the murder of his wife Maryam.

On July 22, Sarfraz was arrested and on his pointation cord and piece of brick allegedly used in commission of crime was recovered and sent to Punjab Forensic Science Lab for DNA tests etc.

On the chief minister’s directive, DG PFSL is also stationed in Khanewal district with his team. The psycho physiological truth verification examination of Sarfraz was also conducted by Polygraph Examiner PFSL which has been received.

The operative part of polygraphic reports is produced: “It is my professional opinion based on the reactions to the formulated test questions that Mr. Sarfraz was truthful when he confessed that he had murdered his wife with his own hands.”

The IGP stated before the court that a special team headed by the additional IG (Investigation) would finalise the investigation in three days.