Student dies in Peshawar police custody, family alleges torture

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A seventh-grade student died in mysterious circumstances in police custody in Pakistan’s Peshawar even as his family claimed that he died due to torture.

The death triggered a protest demonstration by the relatives and local people outside the Gharbi (western) police station, Dawn newspaper reported.

Taking prompt notice, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan suspended the entire staff of the Gharbi police station and ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident.

According to police, the student identified as Shahzaib, son of Khyal Mohammad and resident of Warsak Road, was arrested on Sunday after exchanging hot words with a shopkeeper and pointing weapon at him.

Advisor to the chief minister on information Kamran Bangash said that exemplary punishment would be given to the police officials if they were found involved in killing of the student after the judicial inquiry.

He said that soon after the occurrence the chief minister directed IGP Sanaullah Abbasi to visit the police station and report to him the actual situation.

Speaking at a press conference, Chief City Police Officer Abbas Ihsan and SSP operations Yasir Afridi said investigation into the death of the student was underway.

In a video message recorded on the premises of the police station, father of Shahzaib alleged that his son died due to police torture in the lockup. He said his son went to the bazaar at around 2pm to make his pictures needed for the school examinations.

He said the police called him on mobile phone at 3pm that his son was with them in the lockup. He said he reached the police station within half an hour.

“When I reached the police station the police didn’t tell me anything for three hours about my son’s condition,” he said, adding the police informed him later that his son had committed suicide by hanging himself with something in the lockup.

He alleged that first his son was killed by police torture and then his body was hanged to convey the message that he had committed suicide. He demanded of the authorities to provide him justice as his son was treated inhumanly by police.

A large number of people and relatives of the deceased student also staged a protest demonstration outside the Gharbi police station and blocked the busy Sunehri Masjid Road. They chanted slogans against the police highhandedness and misuse of power.

The road blockade caused heavy traffic rush on roads leading to the Peshawar Saddar for hours.

A few days ago, policemen had killed a student for not stopping on their signalling in Dalazak Road area. Later, police arrested two cops for killing the youth.

 

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