September Issue 2010
Case of Murdered Sialkot Brothers Sent to Trial Court
Earlier this week, it was reported that the Supreme Court of Pakistan sent the case regarding the public murder of two brothers in Sialkot to a trial court. A few days after the brutal beating and lynching of Mughees and Muneeb Sajjad Butt in August 2010, Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry took suo moto notice of the incident and instructed that a judicial commission investigate the controversial killing. The report was completed by Justice Kazim Ali Malik and shared with the apex court in early September. In his fact-finding report, Justice Kazim concluded the following:
- “The recovery of two pistols from Mughees and Muneeb, deceased, is highly doubtful.”
- Shaukat Ali Bhatti, father of the deceased 20-year-old man Bilal and the complainant in the case, “concealed and suppressed material facts regarding the incident.”
- “I feel no difficulty in concluding that Shaukat Ali, complainant, and the police reshaped the incident.”
- “I am not in a position to certify that Mughees Sajjad (18) and his brother Muneeb Sajjad (15) possessed angelic character… but… it can be safely said that they were not robbers/dacoits/hardened criminals, particularly when not a single case of mobile snatching or any other crime had ever been registered or reported against them during their lifetime.”
- “Undisputedly, the assailants were not armed with deadly weapons. The SHO, police station Saddar accompanied by a heavy contingent of police force remained present at the spot, but did nothing.”
- “Majid Ali, fire rescue worker (witness no 9), stated that the SHO proclaimed at the spot that, ‘let the boys die as they are robbers.’”
- “Mr Waqar Ahmed Chohan, DPO did not bother to reach the spot unless and until killings of the two brothers had been confirmed to him.”
- “The DPO behaved like the SHO. He did not take cognisance of the crime. He did not reprimand the assailants and instead appreciated their crime.”
- “I must say here that the assailants killed the two deceased brothers by giving them merciless beatings whereas the DPO and the SHO slaughtered them (Mughees and Muneeb) with the sword of official position/authority.”
Meanwhile, an official police investigation was underway. A joint investigation team shared their findings with the Supreme Court on September 27, according to the Express Tribune. The JIT declared that Mughees, the elder of the two murdered brothers, fired on a group of men, including two men named Bilal and Zeeshan from Buttar village in Sialkot district, before the lynching. Bilal succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
With the statements of the JIT given to the nation’s top court, the case has now been sent to lower courts for trial. Several people, including police officials, have been arrested in relation to the murders.
Newsline revisits the incident with two articles below:
“The Day Humanity Died”
TV anchor Asthma Sheerazi gives a telling account of her trip to Buttar village, where Mughees and Muneeb were clubbed to death.
“The Criminalisation of Justice”
Lawyer Hina Jilani examines the perverse glorification of vigilante justice within Pakistani society, including the abuse and neglect of police officials.
To see the judicial report by Justice Kazim Ali Malik click here.