Accident or Criminal Neglect by the Powerful

Posted on December 1, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, People, Politics
31 Comments
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Adil Najam

Just saw a shocking and sad news report that suggests that an official government car, reportedly in the use of the Syed Safwanullah, Federal Minister of Housing and Works, reportedly being driven by one of his relatives, crushed to death a 6-year old child, whose mutilated body was found two days later in the same car.

The misbahavior of those in power has been something we have written about before as we did with the antics of our Law Minister (also here). We have sometimes been surprised that those in power actually read this blog and sometimes respond (as the MQM MNA from Karachi did on the ATP post about him). We are not sure if we will hear from Minister sahib (also affiliated with MQM) this time, but we will certainly be keeping watch on developments.

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To be fair, let me say that the facts reported in this item are still unclear enough that one cannot be fully sure of where the blame lies. But it is also fair that the facts as laid out in by The News are disturbing enough that we must not ignore them and must demand more clarity and information from the Minister as well as the police.

The statements from the police suggest that they may actually conduct an open and fair enquiry. That things are still shrouded in mystery two days after the event, however, does not bode well. Having praised Islamabad police recently, I certainly hope they do not disappoint.

Here are the details from The News story:

Mystery shrouds the death of a six-year-old boy, who was crushed by a federal minister’s official limousine allegedly driven by a woman relative of the VIP, even two days after the occurrence. Both the police and parents of the child have no clue about the person in the driving seat. Reportedly, the woman driving the vehicle which hit the boy, stopped before putting him in the Land Cruiser and speeding away. On Wednesday, the mutilated and decomposed body of the boy was found by the police in the same Land Cruiser bearing green registration plate (of Government of Pakistan) – GP-2087 – at G-8 Markaz.

When contacted, Federal Minister for Housing and Works Syed Safwanullah said the Land Cruiser was not a full-time staff vehicle allocated to him. “It was rarely used by me and my family,” he said.

The FIR lodged with the Margalla police station confirmed the child – Izzatullah, an Afghan national – was crushed to death by a woman driver. But the complaint lodged by the minister’s aide with another police station — the Secretariat — of the federal capital, relates a different story. Lodged on November 29, the minister’s aide claims the official Land Cruiser along with the driver was missing since November 28 when the accident actually occurred. The Land Cruiser and the body were found exactly four hours after the report of the minister’s aide.

The shocking incident took place on the main road of the capital’s G-9/4 sector near ‘Tuesday Bazaar’ where hundreds of people witnessed a minor boy being crushed by a Land Cruiser driven by a woman, who then put the wounded boy in her vehicle and sped away, Habibullah, grandfather of the victim, claimed while talking to this correspondent after receiving the body from the PIMS hospital.

Meanwhile, Habibullah, resident of 178, street 93, G-9/4, Islamabad lodged a complaint with the Margalla police station saying, “On Tuesday November 28 at about 4pm, a Land Cruiser bearing registration number GP-2087 hit my grandson — Izzatullah, 6, son of Hadayatullah near Peshawar Mor and sped away after putting him in the vehicle”. He said in his written complaint that his family friend found the Land Cruiser parked on the double road near G-8 Markaz. Quoting his three sons who were accompanying the deceased, he confirmed a woman was driving the Land Cruiser.

Conversely, staff of the minister’s house lodged a complaint with the Secretariat police station through a supervisor of Pak PWD, claiming that the Land Cruiser and driver were both missing since last Tuesday when the accident occurred. Muhammad Afzal, Supervisor Pak PWD workshop I-11, submitted a written application saying the Land Cruiser bearing registration number GP-2087 was in the use of federal minister for housing and works, Syed Safwanullah.

He said, “On November 29, Jafar Hussain (claiming to be a son and unofficial PSO of the minister), summoned him at the minister’s house (6, Minister’s Enclave) and directed me to file a complaint with the concerned police station that the Land Cruiser along with the driver — Tariq Mehmood — is missing since November 28”. The police registered the report (number 31 dated 29-11-2006) at 8.30pm. Syed Safwanullah while talking to this correspondent denied any woman was driving the Land Cruiser and said his driver was heading to the workshop when the incident took place.

Police insiders aver that a daughter or close relative of the minister was driving the vehicle even as the minister claimed: “There is no woman in my house.” Hidayatullah, father of the victim, said while talking to The News that his son was going to ‘Tuesday Bazaar’ along with his cousins, less than 10 years of age, when the Land Cruiser trampled him. He was sure that a woman was driving the green numbered vehicle.

SSP Islamabad Sikandar Hayat told The News that law was equal for all. He said the police would apprehend Tariq Mehmood, the driver of the vehicle and then inquire about the claim of aggrieved party that a woman was driving the vehicle. “The case will be dealt with according to the law,” he claimed. The victim was student of class-III at a local school, Habibullah, grandfather of the victim said. He said they were Afghans belonging to a poor family.

The hospital sources, quoting the external autopsy report disclosed that the minor had not died on the spot but expired after about 12 hours of the accident and they kept the body for more than 20 hours. The police, however, have registered the case against ‘unknown’ driver under Section 322/201/279 PPC and started investigation.

The story speaks for itself, which is why I have quoted it in full here. I will be keeping an eye out for more details on this. Readers, if you read or hear anything do please share. Vigilance and a demand for information is all that we can do, but let us never be negligent in doing either; because our silence would not just be complacency, it will be complicity.

31 responses to “Accident or Criminal Neglect by the Powerful”

  1. Watan Aziz says:

    Vigilance and a demand for information is all that we can do, but let us never be negligent in doing either; because our silence would not just be complacency, it will be complicity.

    Double dittos!

    Where is the Adil of this post? I want him back!

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