10/26/2016 8:10:02 AM
The News: Encounter deaths rise, target killings fall
Posted on: 9/12/2015
Encounter deaths rise, target killings fall
Saturday, September 12, 2015
From Print Edition
As the Muttahida Qaumi Movement accused Rangers on Friday of murdering its four activists in custody, recent statistics compiled by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also show that the killing of people at the hands of law enforcement agencies has increased during the eight months of the ongoing year.
A report released by the HRCP office on Friday showed that 402 people were killed in encounters with the law enforcement agencies in the eight months of 2015 in comparison with 362 people last year – an increase of 11 percent.
Of these, 320 were killed in shootouts with police and the remaining 81 with Rangers. One person was killed because of police torture. During the same period last year, 276 were killed in police encounters and the remaining 84 in shootouts with the paramilitary force. Two people were killed because of police torture during this period last year.
Asad Iqbal Butt, the HRCP vice chairperson, told The News that the trend of “extrajudicial killings” or “fake encounters” in Karachi had not stopped despite rights bodies and political parties’ criticism.
“We simply demand that if someone is involved in any crime, a court should decide their case,” Butt added.
“The increase in such killings is creating mistrust when it comes to the ongoing operation against criminals.”
Butt said the MQM’s recent protest against the extra-judicial killing of its activists endorses the HRCP’s reservations.
“After being empowered to keep a suspect in custody for 90 days for interrogation, there’s no excuse of such killings.”
Butt said the number of killings in fake encounters could be higher as the HRCP compiled statistics mostly from newspapers and many people did not report.
Drop in target killings
The statistics, however, show a significant decrease in the targeted killing of both political activists and others.
In the past eight months, 185 people with no political affiliation were killed while the number of such killing during the same period last year was 511 - a decrease of 64 percent.
This year, 37 political activists were killed while the number in the first eight months last year was 92 – dropping by around 60 percent.
Sectarian murders also decreased by 23 percent this year - 68 in comparison with 89 in the first eight months of 2014.
May was the deadliest month as 45 members of the Ismaili community were killed in a single attack in Safoora Goth.
In June, July and August, no sectarian killings were reported in the city.
The first eight months of this year, 67 policemen and four paramilitary soldiers lost their lives in the line of duty
During the same period in 2014, 107 policemen and 10 paramilitary soldiers were killed. The killings in Lyari because of the gang violence there decreased by 45 percent this year - 31 this year against 56 in the first eight months of 2014.