What we witnessed in Sahiwal was a brutal cold blooded target killing, which does not categorise as custodial killings, because victims were neither in custody, nor were they involved in armed conflict with the police. This brutality could be equated with targeted killing of Wali Babar and thousands of others who were victims of brutality by armed hoodlums of Altaf, or the planned murder of over 200 police officers.

These police officers, who were carrying out orders of the Federal Government were killed while state looked the other way for political exigencies. Amongst other such atrocities was the killing of 14 political activists of Tahir Qadri in Model Town after they had been involved in protests and confrontation with police who resorted to disproportionate use of force. Such illegality by the State was witnessed in Sindh by former SP Rao Anwaar who is accused of being allegedly involved in over 400 encounters to serve various vested interests, including powerful land mafia.

It is time to put a stop to this brutal legacy of British Raj in the presence of functional judiciary. Uniformed law enforcement and security apparatus must understand that they are there to serve and protect citizens of an independent country, created by Quaid in 1947 who promised them a modern democratic welfare state. Custodial killings were employed by colonial occupation forces including British Raj as a tool of oppression not just in India but in all other colonies. After creation of Pakistan there was a brief respite as long as Quaid was alive and even later on by political civil governments. However, extra judicial custodial killings were once again started by former Governor West Nawab Kalabagh in 1960.

MALIK T ALI,

Lahore, January 27.