A video footage showing a mob lynching two brothers in the presence of policemen in Pakistan has sparked off protests in the country, prompting the Supreme Court to direct a probe into the brutal act.
A committee, constituted on the instructions of Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary, here Monday started the investigation in the killing of two brothers by a mob in Sialkot city of Punjab province last week.
Various TV channels aired the footage of the shocking incident that occurred in the presence of police officials. The footage shows two young men being beaten to death by a group of people as the policemen kept standing silently and the dead bodies were later hanged from an electricity pole.
Police officials initially had claimed that the mob had gotten hold of two robbers and tortured them to death in sheer anger.
However, reports later emerged that the two boys, aged 20 and 16, were innocent and had been victimised because of a scuffle that broke out following a cricket match.
The Supreme Court (SC) took suo moto notice of the incident and directed the Director General Anti-Corruption Department, Justice (retd) Kazim Ali Malik, to launch a full scale inquiry. He started his investigation here and recorded statements of more than 20 eye-witnesses as well as family members of the deceased.
On the directions of the SC, six police officials including station hous officer Rana Muhammad Ilyas have been detained while district police officer Waqar Chohan has been suspended. A separate investigation team has also been constituted to arrest the accused who are on the run.
One member of the high-ranking police team Maj. (retd) Mubashar was re-included Monday after his name was withdrawn last evening. The overture had given rise to suspicions that there was something fishy behind the scenes and the aggrieved family had also objected to the change.
The mother of the deceased boys said that she held the police responsible for the murder of her sons.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Pakistan Muslim League (N) chief Nawaz Sharif visited the house of the aggrieved family Sunday and assured them complete justice through a speedy and fair investigation.
(Awais Saleem can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)