Home Global Village Over 3300 killed in police encounters in 4 years: HRCP

Over 3300 killed in police encounters in 4 years: HRCP


News Desk |

The culture of police encounters has once again become a subject of national outrage following the savage lynching of four citizens near Sahiwal, exerting a great deal of pressure on the current Punjab government who has repeatedly asserted its efforts to “reform” Punjab Police.

A recently released report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has left Pakistan to dumbfound by revealing that nearly 3,345 citizens have fall prey to police encounters during the period from January 2014 until May 2018.

The report further reveals that police encounters conducted during this period have killed 12 minors and 23 women, while 55 police officers have also lost their lives to these encounters.

The Sindh Police has executed 1,592 individuals, while these police encounters have also resulted in the deaths of 18 policemen. The Sindh police have engaged in 944 cases of encounters, which have claimed the lives of 2543 men and 11 women.

There is an immense outcry over ‘fake’ police encounters, and following the press statement issued by the Counter Terrorism Department over the Sahiwal incident, which was later refuted by the witnesses, there is extreme confusion and anger amongst the public.

Pakistan had barely recovered from the untimely death of 10-year old Amal Umer, a little girl who embraced death after becoming the target of a stray bullet fired during an encounter in Akhtar Colony, Karachi. She was killed by a policeman who was attempting to kill a robber, the same robber who had attempted to rob her family.

August 2018 also witnessed the deaths of two matriculation pupils in Faisalabad during an alleged police encounter that was conducted during the late hours of the night. The police issued a statement asserting that the two students died during the exchange of fire; however, the police officials who conducted the encounter didn’t even sustain a scratch.

Read more: Foul play in the Sahiwal Police ‘Encounter’?

The fake police encounter of Naqeebullah Mehsud was perhaps the most harrowing tragedy for Pakistan, murdered by SSP Malir Rao Anwar on 13th January 2018; Mehsud’s family is still awaiting justice despite the high-profile nature of the case. Now, the Sahiwal family encounter has tainted the integrity of Pakistan’s police, pressing the authorities to investigate the nature of the ‘encounter’.

According to the data released by the HRCP, from 1st January 2014 until 11th May 2018, a recorded number of 2,117 police encounters have been broadcasted by the Pakistan media and news agencies. The data reveals that the victims of police encounters include 6,610 men, 23 women, 12 children, of which 3,345 victims have died. These encounters led to the arrest of 516 individuals, while 2,602 alleged criminals escaped and 173 were critically injured. These encounters caused the deaths of 10 passersby and 53 passersby were injured.

The HRCP further revealed that only 1,914 of the 3,345 encounter victims had criminal records, of which 66 were accused in kidnapping, 818 were armed dacoits, 258 were robbers, 32 implicated in rape cases, 27 were implicated in extortion, and 13 were involved in smuggling. Moreover, 206 individuals were accused of militancy.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has made several promises to “reform Punjab police” and the criminal justice system at large; given the statistics revealed by HRCP, Pakistan needs these promises to materialize on the priority basis.

The report reveals that Sindh is leading the tolls in killing the highest number of people during police encounters, conducted between January 2014 and May 2018. The Sindh Police has executed 1,592 individuals, while these police encounters have also resulted in the deaths of 18 policemen. The Sindh police have engaged in 944 cases of encounters, which have claimed the lives of 2543 men and 11 women.

The HRCP report reads that amongst the victims of Sindh police encounters, 837 had criminal records, 122 were accused of militancy, 201 were alleged dacoits, 108 were accused of murder, 36 were kidnappers and 16 were accused of extortion.

Even though the number of Police encounters conducted in Punjab was greater than Sindh, the number of individuals killed during encounters was observed to be less in Punjab. The report revealed that around 1,556 victims were lynched during 1,036 police encounters, which included 3,688 men and 6 women. These encounters also claimed the lives of 25 policemen and left 14 police officials injured. The HRCP data reports that only 960 of these victims had criminal records, of which 605 were accused to be dacoits, 110 were implicated in murders, 46 were allegedly involved in militancy, 25 were alleged kidnappers and 26 were accused of rape.

Read more: Rao Anwar to face the judiciary for fake encounters but what…

The provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa emerged with the lowest number of police encounters, and the report revealed the death of 71 victims, lynched during 54 cases of police encounters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These encounters also claimed the lives of four policemen and left 14 critically injured. The majority of the individuals encountered by the police of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were accused of terrorism and militancy, including 141 men and 2 women.

These statistics and data have been obtained by the reportage of news channels and media outlets across the country, and given the fact that these are only the recorded cases, the actual number of police encounters and victims is expected to be much higher.

Read more: CTD kills four in suspicious encounter in Sahiwal

Prime Minister Imran Khan has made several promises to “reform Punjab police” and the criminal justice system at large; given the statistics revealed by HRCP, Pakistan needs these promises to materialize on the priority basis.

Mina Jahangir with additional input by News Desk.