No person shall be subjected to torture for the purpose of extracting evidence.
Constitution of Pakistan
Article 14(1) and (2)
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Mr. Abdul Qadoos was a teacher by profession and had been elected by his local Ahmadi community to be its president. He was a respected figure on all counts. His arrest by the police on baseless accusation and torture to death was a shock and a devastating blow to Ahmadis, not only in Rabwah, but also in the country – even in their worldwide community. The incident is described below in brief, as it is nearly impossible to do justice to the description of this grossly inhuman act. The policemen, who inflicted the torture, have not been arrested, while those high-ups who directed or encouraged the torture have not been named, as an appropriate high-level enquiry commission was not appointed. A magistrate-level judicial enquiry was held which did a good job of its assignment.
FOLLOWING PRESS RELEASE was issued by the Ahmadiyya central office in Rabwah on March 30, 2012:
Abdul Qadoos, school teacher dies of police torture. Strong legal action demanded against police officials responsible for this murder. Spokesman Jamaat Ahmadiyya
Chenab Nagar (Rabwah) PR: School teacher Abdul Qadoos died of torture at the hands of savage police officials of Police Station, Chenab Nagar. As per reports, the police detained Master (teacher) Abdul Qadoos as suspect in the murder of Ahmad Yusuf, a stamp-papers vendor of Nusrat Abad, Rabwah. The police subjected him to intense inhuman torture to forcibly derive from him an admission of complicity in that murder. After he was fatally injured, the police released him after obtaining a written statement from his relatives under threats. He was losing blood fast as a result of the torture. The doctors in the local hospital made frantic efforts to save his life. The victim, however, succumbed to his injuries on Friday, March 30, 2012.
The spokesman of the Ahmadiyya community expressed deep grief and concern over the inconsolable death of Master Abdul Qadoos and termed the torture grossly inhuman. He stated that the murder of Mr. Yusuf must be investigated and the guilty must be punished, however ‘who has authorized the police to torture people to death in the course of investigation?’
According to him, the antagonists of the Ahmadiyya community wanted to implicate some leaders of the community in the murder of Ahmad Yousaf (emphasis added). The arrest of Master Abdul Qadoos, president of the Ahmadiyya community of Nusrat Abad, Rabwah, and his torture to obtain a forced admission of involvement from him was an act to that end. “Officials who indulged in unlawful torture should be punished as per law,” the spokesman said. He demanded that a high level commission be set up and the so-called law-enforcement officials involved in the murder of an innocent man should be severely punished for violation of the law.
A Press Release from London. The Press Secretary Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat International issued a press release two days later in London on this incident and added:
Whilst in custody, Mr. Master Abdul Qadoos Ahmad was hung upside down from his ankles for long periods. Furthermore, whilst laid supine, an extremely heavy wooden roller, similar to those used to flatten cricket pitches, was rolled all over his body, as attendants stood at each side of him making sure he could not move. Such inhumane and merciless treatment led to multiple organ failure and crushed his muscles. These are just a few examples of the torture inflicted.
The daily Express Tribune reported the incident on March 31, 2012, (excerpts):
“When his body could not take further torture, his relatives were blackmailed and he was released. He was admitted to a local hospital where doctors tried to save his life, but Qadoos died due to several injuries and excessive loss of blood,” Abdul Qadoos’s brother-in-law Imtiaz Ahmad said.
“He (the SHO), however, maintains that the accused was picked up on March 24 and was released two days later as the police was convinced of his innocence. Hussain (the SHO) says a fatal disease could be the possible cause of death.”
Vernacular print media: The incident was so gruesome that even the vernacular newspapers that are normally unsympathetic to the Ahmadiyya issues took notice and gave multi-column coverage to the story. Headlines are translated below:
Chenab Nagar: School teacher dies of police torture. Citizens’ strong protest.
The daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore; April 1, 2012
Chenab Nagar: Death of Teacher Abdul Qadoos. The entire area in mourning.
The daily Pakistan, Lahore; April 1, 2012
Chenab Nagar: Death of school teacher due police torture. Business centers close.
The Daily Express, Faisalabad; April 1, 2012
Chiniot: School teacher’s death due alleged police torture. Teachers’ Union announces 3 days’ mourning.
The daily Awaz, Lahore; April 1, 2012
Chenab Nagar: School teacher, the sole supporter of his family, dies of police torture.
The daily Musawat, Lahore; April 1, 2012
It is apparent from official records that Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong took notice of this barbaric murder and approached the authorities in Pakistan. As a result, a judicial enqiry was conducted by Mr. Shahid Hameed Chaudhary, Magistrate Section-30, and he forwarded its proceedings and his findings to his superiors in judiciary. Its copies were sent to the higher administration. It appears that Magistrate Chaudhary boldly placed his findings regarding the police inspectors and officials on record, although he was restrained by his position to interrograte high police, administration and political personalities. Brief extracts from this judicial inquiry report are produced below. Important players mentioned in this grisly real-life drama were the following:
- Shujat Malhi, Manazar Ali – Investigating Sub-Inspectors (SI)
- Muzaffar Ali SI – Incharge Chowki (Police Post) Jhanger Galoteran
- Muhammad Khan, Muhammad Naeem, Muhammad Aslam, and Amin Nazir – Constables
- Khadim Hussain – SHO Chenab Nagar (Rabwah)
- Raja Khalid Pervaiz – SP Investigation
- Shehzad Akbar – DPO Chiniot
- Ahmad Yousaf – A murder victim, case/FIR 392/2011
- Ahmad Saifulla, advocate – Son of Ahmad Yousaf
- Danyal Faisal, Sarfraz and others – Witnesses
- Dr. Sultan Mubashir – The doctor who attend to Mr. Qadoos after his injuries
- Chowki Jhanger Golateran: A police post located a few miles NE of Rabwah, within the jurisdiction of Police Station Chenab Nagar
The Magistrate wrote the following in his findings (extracts):
“I have gone through the entire statements of the witnesses appeared before the undersigned and the respondents themselves and their witnesses and statements of the witnesses summoned by the undersigned. Admittedly, deceased Abdul Qadoos remained in police custody for more than 1 ½ months of investigation of case FIR No. 75/2012 without any entry in the record and without adopting any legal procedure because same has been admitted by Muzaffar Ali SI and even the same has not been denied by the respondents themselves and during the said period he was subjected to inhumane torture by the accused persons/police officials of case FIR No. 75/12 police station Chenab Nagar. Exertion of torture is quite evident from the final report submitted by District Standing Medical Board through Dr. Mushtaq Bashir District Medical Legal Officer (Member District Standing Medical Board). Moreover, age as well as physical condition of the deceased was in no way likely to cause natural death of human being. Moreover, involvement of Muzaffar Ali SI also cannot be ruled out who was incharge “Chowki Jhanger Galoteran” because he too has been fully implicated by Daniyal and Sarfraz. Furthermore, even SHO police station Chenab Nagar was involved in the entire occurrence and same is evident from the record and from the statements of witnesses appeared before the undersigned. Moreover, it is unfortunate to mention over here that till today Khadim Hussain is SHO police station Chenab Nagar and he is in a pivotal position to interfere in the investigation of both the cases bearing number 392/2011 and 75/2012 of police station Chenab Nagar. It is pertinent to mention over here that even all the High Ups of the Department particularly DPO and DSP concerned circle were fully aware about the illegal custody of the deceased by the Police and exertion of torture by the police on the deceased. Furthermore, accused Shujat Malhi SI as incharge investigation, Manazar Ali SI as investigating officer of the case, Muzaffar Ali SI as incharge of the Chowki alongwith constables Muhammad Khan 16/C, Muhammad Naeem 1024/RC, Muhammad Aslam 545/C and Amir Nazir 493/C are found fully involved in a brutal murder of Abdul Qadoos deceased. Further Manazar Ali SI/I.O. of the case despite number of notices remained absconder and did not join inquiry proceedings which itself shows high handedness on his part.
“It is also worth mentioning over here that Shujat Malhi Incharge investigation police station Chenab Nagar did not even once deny that deceased Abdul Qadoos did not remain in their custody. It is also worth mentioning over here that respondents have not denied keeping the deceased in illegal custody for such a long period of time and handing over the deceased to his family members in a serious condition, which resulted in the death of deceased, he was not provided any proper medical aid. It has also appeared on the record that Muhammad Khan constable, Muhammad Naeem constable and Amir Nazir constable were involved in the torture on the deceased, whereas Asif Hayat head constable and Amir Nazir constable have also been found in transporting the deceased from the police station Chenab Nagar to Chowki Jhanger Galoteran where deceased was subjected to inhumane torture.
“Moreover, in my view SHO Chenab Nagar is also involved in the entire occurrence because Muzaffar Ali SI, Daniyal Faisal and Sarfraz fully implicated him in the entire occurrence.” (emphasis added)
As far the cause of death of Mr. Qadoos, the Medical Board of the District Hospital Chiniot concluded as follows:
“The death in the opinion of District Standing Medical Board is suggestive of due to anti-mortem trauma mentioned in the report, leading to renal failure and its allied complications.” Signed: Chairman and three members.
Imtiaz Ahmad one of the witnesses told the Magistrate that on March 17, 2012, “Abdul Qadoos deceased was in the clutches of police officials whereas Shujat Malhi and Manazar (sic) were severely torturing (the) deceased.” “Again on 22.03.2012 around 6:30 p.m. when they reached police station Chenab Nagar they heard Abdul Qadoos deceased was severely screaming.” On 26.03.2012 “…the condition of the deceased was quite severe and blood stains were present on all over his shirt and shalwar (trousers), and Manazar Ali SI told them (sic) to take away Abdul Qadoos deceased with them otherwise they will also involve them in the murder of deceased Ahmad Yousaf…”
Mubashir Ahmad another eye-witness told the Magistrate of being a witness to the severe torture of the deceased by the two police sub-inspectors. He also saw the deceased being tortured at Chowki Jhanger Galoteran. On March 26 he found that Mr. Qadoos “could barely walk and his entire clothes were stained with blood and even blood was coming in his vomits and motions.”
Muhammad Idrees, a witness, told Magistrate Chaudhary that on March 22, 2012 “when they reached near the outer gate of the police station, heard hue and cry of Master Abdul Qadoos deceased.”
Mrs. Robina Qadoos, the wife of the victim told the Magistrate that deceased told her that “police officials obtained his thumb impression and signatures on blank papers, too.”
The Magistrate quoted Mr Atiq-ur-Rehman a witness as, “He further deposed that deceased also told him that DSP Chenab Nagar Ch. Asghar and SHO Chenab Nagar were also involved in torture on him. He further stated that deceased told him that police officials forced him to nominate higher officials of the Jamaat Ahmadiyya.” (emphasis added)
Danial Faisal and Sarfraz who were also in the police lock-up in Chowki Galoteran stated as witnesses that all three of them “were brutally tortured by police… were not allowed to sit and were even not allowed to sleep during the entire night… Abdul Qadoos was also taken to the back side where he was subjected to severe torture… Abdul Qadoos was looking in extreme pain and even on that day all of them were not allowed to sit during the entire night. After two days when condition of Master Abdul Qadoos relatively improved, they were again severely tortured by Muzaffar Ali SI. In the evening Ch. Asghar DSP Chenab Nagar, Khadim Hussain SHO Chenab Nagar alongwith Manazar Ali SI came to Chowki and Abdul Qadoos was produced before them and Manazar Ali SI got recorded his statement. At that time condition of Abdul Qadoos was very bad.”
The Enquiry Report mentions further: “Dr. Sultan Ahmad Mubashar appeared before the court as IW 33, who stated that he checked Abdul Qadoos his clothes were stained with blood and his entire body was badly swollen and he was told that Abdul Qadoos was subjected to police torture and he is losing blood in vomits and urine, he immediately directed to infuse blood to the deceased because due to torture by police deceased suffered crush injuries and his creatinine level and potassium levels had increased alarmingly and deceased was losing protein and red cells in his urine.”
It is interesting to read in the report that Shujat Malhi SI, one of the two officials primarily involved in the torture of the deceased “denied his involvement in the said case” and stated that “he had no concern whatsoever with the entire episode.” The other official Manazar Ali SI absconded, and did not appear before the Magistrate.
Of equal relevance and concern is the role of the senior police officials as brought out in this Enquiry. Mr. Saleemuddin, as IW 25 stated that he met DPO Chiniot at least 03/04 occasions and on each occasion DPO assured him that “Abdul Qadoos was innocent and they had arrested him due to pressure of the complainant. … Attique-ur-Rehman met DPO Chiniot who again assured them that they had “removed Master Abdul Qadoos (to Chowki Galoteran) only to avoid court bailiff.” Subsequently Mr. Saleemuddin alongwith Attiq-ur-Rehman met SP Investigation, who was incharge of investigation team and he too stated that deceased Abdul Qadoos was innocent and they would release him. Finger prints obtained from the residence of deceased Ahmad Yousaf were not compared with the finger prints of Abdul Qadoos, therefore, their suspicion was further fortified that Abdul Qadoos has been deliberately tortured by the police only because he was office-bearer of Jamaat Ahmadiyya.”
A very revealing and incriminating statement, in the above context is that of Incharge Police Chowki Jhanger Galoteran, Muzaffar Ahmad. According to him when his clerk, Zafar, refused to initially receive Abdul Qadoos at the Chowki, the “SHO Chenab Nagar Khadim Hussain literally abused him and told him that he has sent Abdul Qadoos to the Chowki on the direction of higher officials and DPO Chiniot… . He further stated that Khadim Hussain SHO Chenab Nagar and Ch. Asghar DSP Chenab Nagar were involved in the said torture because they used to come to Chowki Jhanger Galoteran on routine basis. He further stated that complainant of case/FIR No. 392/11 Ahmad Saif ullah and Shujat Malhi in connivance with each other nominated different persons and received hefty amounts from them…. He further deposed that DPO was fully aware regarding the torture on the deceased. One day he appeared before Raja Khalid Pervaiz SP Investigation, Khadim Hussain SHO Chenab Nagar was also present there, and SP Investigation was ridiculing SHO for not making the deceased confess about the matter.”
It is noteworthy that apart from the DSP getting suspended and the two investigating SIs being named in the FIR none else has faced any further departmental action. This judicial inquiry report has reached very high levels in the Federation and the Punjab province as also in the Supreme Court, but no further action has been deemed necessary despite the fact that Pakistan is a signatory to the international convenant on Convention Against Torture and is accountable to the world community for what is undertaken by its police and security agencies.
Some important facts of this case:
- Mr. Abdul Qadoos was approximately 43 years old. He was highly respected in his neighbourhood and was known as a good teacher.
- He has left behind his wife and four children, the eldest is 14.
- Shujat Malhi, a police inspector and former SHO in Rabwah, was transferred away from here sometimes ago for non-professional conduct. He was transferred back very recently to Rabwah as an investigating inspector. Immediately on arrival, he shifted Mr. Abdul Qadoos to the distant Chowki Galoteran where he and sub-inspector Manazar Ali subjected Mr. Qadoos to fatal torture.
- Mr. Qadoos told his friends on release that the investigating team was initially overseen by some senior officials; they required him to implicate in writing the senior leadership of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan of involvement in the murder of Ahmad Yousaf. Mr. Qadoos refused to be a party to this fabrication. They proceeded then to torture him.
- His funeral was attended by approximately 4000 men. Subsequently, thousands more including women visited his family and home to offer condolences.
The two police officials against whom an FIR was registered were not arrested by the authorities on the excuse that they had absconded. In fact they are seen moving about freely, and their colleagues do not arrest them.
This tragic incident highlights the following few facts about the present-day governance and society in Pakistan and more particularly in the province of the Punjab, that deserve serious consideration of the leadership of this land:
- The state has conveyed to its functionaries that Ahmadis are a fair game and their persecution will be amply acceptable.
- The federal government, despite its verbal support to minorities has virtually given a damning laissez faire license to the provincial government in the Punjab.
- The Punjab Government run by the PML (N) led by Sharif Brothers follows an overt anti-Ahmadiyya policy to the extent that its intentions and stance are not lost on even the lower echelons of the administration and the police.
- The Punjab Government’s policy of solidarity with religious extremists is manifested unabashedly in District Chiniot (of which Rabwah is part) by the fact that mulla Ilyas Chinioti, the local MPA was accepted with open arms in the PML (N) after the elections. This liaison is a constant source of hardship for the Ahmadiyya population here.
- The Punjab Police illegally detains citizens for weeks although the law requires them to produce the detainee before a magistrate by the next day.
- The police detain citizens without bringing their detention on record and move them to other locations without making appropriate entry in records.
- They detain people without acquiring even minimal credible evidence.
- They torture them to sign admission-of-guilt papers.
- They torture them to death with techniques that leave no external signs but damage their internal vitals beyond recovery.
- Rather than making professional investigation they opt to torture a detainee to obtain from him confessions about involvement of other fake or real accomplices.
- They do not care to take their casualty to a hospital for treatment or even first-aid to protect his life or secure him against permanent injury.
- They hand over their victims to relatives after forcing them to sign on blank papers or certificates designed by the police.
- The higher police hierarchy directs or leaves it to the lower echelons to commit such horrors, or they choose to remain blissfully ignorant of what goes on in police stations.
- Police officials, even if charged in an FIR, are provided protection by their superiors and are not arrested for their prima-facie crimes as per law applicable to all accused.
- There is apparently little departmental accountability of police officials, who even if found guilty of misconduct or unprofessional behavior get only transferred; they are transferred back to the same location on some excuse.
- In case the police officials, obviously guilty of torture and murder in this case, are not punished, that will substantiate the allegation that some seniors were involved in this conspiracy – be they political, religious, administrative or police high-ranking officials.
- The unprofessional conduct and character of police officials calls for a major change in the administration policy of this department to protect citizens from its rapacious conduct and turn it into a force that serves the society as expected in civilized countries.
Those responsible for their heinous crime have not been punished. This incident has heightened the sense of insecurity and fear among the population of Rabwah. “If the president of a local Ahmadi community is so vulnerable, who else is safe in this town of Rabwah?” asks the common man.
The above narrative provides clear hints to pinpoint the main object and aim of the invisible high-ups who made the police inspectors commit the torturous crime against their victim. Mr. Abdul Qadoos was an Ahmadi community office-bearer. He was tortured to admit the murder and implicate senior officials of the community in the fabricated story. This was not the first time of such an attempt. In the middle of 1980’s, the mullas, the vernacular media and the hidden ghosts clamoured ‘murder’ over a missing mulla (Aslam Qureshi) and accused Khalifa-tul-Masih IV, Hadrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad the then Supreme Head of the Ahmadi community of involvement. They demanded his arrest. After many years of hiding, the mulla decided to surface. He was in Iran all along, he told the press reporters. Thus the plan to implicate Ahmadiyya Khalifa-tul-Masih came to naught. Again in 1999, the mullas, with the help of the Punjab government, implicated Hadrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Nazar Aala (Chief Executive of Sadar Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Pakistan) in a blasphemy case and had him arrested over an incident in which some unknown person effaced a Quranic verse on a road-sign. The police applied clause 295-B of the penal code, for which the penalty is imprisonment for life. The international community took notice, and the fabricated case was dissolved within a fortnight. It appears that in the case of Mr. Abdul Qadoos the real target was the top leadership of the Pakistani Ahmadi community. Once again, the Punjab is ruled by Sharif Brothers, and in Chiniot, mulla Ilyas Chinioti (MPA) has succeeded his father, mulla Manzoor Chinioti (MPA).