Police use "private jails" to interrogate suspected criminals and to bargain with their families

Pakistan on 26 June 2013
Location : Pakistan | Source : Pakistan Today. Image Source: Jes R. Nielsen

While Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif have expressed their resolve to change the ‘Thana Culture’ in Punjab, several custodians of the law are blatantly flouting human rights by running private jails in different areas of the city where suspected criminals are not only subjected to worse forms of torture, the officials are also involved in several shady activities unbecoming of law enforcement officials, Pakistan Today has learnt on good authority.

In most cases, these illegal jails are being headed by station house officers (SHOs) of different police stations.

Not many days ago an excise official named Kashif was arrested by police from his house. Kashif was found dead the next day when his body was recovered from the canal. His family members claim they had visited Harbanspura Police Station but the officials there refused to accept that they had arrested Kashif. Following the death, his family members protested against police violence but nothing has come of it as yet.

According to police sources, private jails are used to interrogate suspected criminals and to bargain with their families.

“If we keep under-investigation criminals in lockups in police stations, their family members get them released either by approaching senior officials or through court bailiffs. So, private jails help in ‘peaceful’ interrogation of the suspects,” a police official, asking not to be named, told Pakistan Today.

He said that most of these jails are near police stations to keep a check on the detainees.

Per sources, such jails exist near police stations including IqbalTown, ModelTown, Kot Lakhpat, Ichhra, GreenTown, Lower Mall and many other places in the city.

Sources further revealed that Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) Sub-Inspector Zaheerud Din Babar, who had detained a woman and her three children at his private jail in a Faisal Town hotel for 18 days, has been suspended seven times and dismissed three times from various positions on charges of rampant corruption but he has always managed to get his job restored using his “high connections”. Similarly, a police officer named Ahsan Waqas was found to be the mastermind behind a motorbike lifting gang.

“Several police officers have managed to develop their network of informers and even put together criminal gangs through their private detention centres. Hardened criminals often find police patronage during interrogations in these private jails,” said sources.

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