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Protesters demand re-arrest of youth’s suspected killers

BREP: A large number of people held a protest here on Sunday demanding the government re-arrest the alleged killer of a youth and his accomplice (wife of the deceased) to provide justice to the parents of the victim.
This was the second such protest by the people of this far-off village in Upper Chitral after they took to the streets on Nov 2 last year, accusing the police of trying to save the suspects.
Aslam Baig, 24, died under mysterious circumstances at his home on April 14, 2017. His relatives got an FIR registered against his widow and a police constable on suspicion of killing him. The relatives of Baig approached the police after Baig’s widow contracted court marriage with the constable about six months after his death. Both the woman and the constable belonged to the Zupu village of upper Yarkhun.
The Mastuj police registered a murder case against the couple and arrested them. The constable was later brought to the house of the deceased where he confessed to the murder. However, when he was produced before a judge in Booni, the suspect denied involvement in the killing. Later, both the constable and his wife were granted bail and released.
On Dec 16, a team of doctors from Chitral exhumed the body of the deceased and collected samples for forensic examinations. The samples were sent to Lahore for laboratory tests. The relatives were told that the reports would come after about three weeks.
The protesters on Sunday expressed their concerns that even after about one and a half months the forensic lab reports had not been received by the police.
They said from day one the police had been showing biasness in proceeding in the case and initially even threatened the relatives of the deceased against getting the FIR registered six months after the death of the young man.
They alleged that the police also warned the witnesses that they would be remanded and interrogated for concealing the wounds they had seen on the body of the youth when he died and coming forth six months after the incident.
The protesters also said initially the exhumation of the body was delayed on the pretext that as the body was old enough doctors from Peshawar would come but later three doctors from Chitral exhumed the body and collected samples. It is now about one and a half months that there is no report with the police.
In the meantime, they added, the relatives filed a petition in the Peshawar High Court, Swat, for the cancellation of the bail granted to the suspects but the local police were still trying to pressure the relatives to withdraw the case.
They appealed to the top authorities in the government to take notice of the matter so that
the parents of the innocent youth could be provided justice without any delay.–With reporting from GH Farooqui in Brep

Police version

An official of the Mastuj police told ChitralToday on phone that the allegations against the police were baseless.
He said the police registered an FIR when the relatives approached it six months after the death of the man. He said the two suspects were arrested and the man confessed to murdering the youth.
The police also obtained call data record of the suspect according to which he had taken a week-long leave from the police and visited his village and Brep on the day Aslam Baig was found dead.
He said the bike the suspect had used to visit the village was also recovered. The police then submitted the challan of the case to court and the matter was sub judice. In the meantime, both the suspects obtained bail from a local court.
Later, a team of doctors led by a magistrate exhumed the body and collected samples to find out the possibility of any poisoning as marks of wounds could not be detected six months after the body was buried. He said the samples had been sent to Lahore and the police were yet to receive the results. He said after receiving the reports the police would submit it to the court for addition in the challan already filed in the court.
He said the police had completed all its legal obligations, including registering the FIR, arresting the suspects. Now the case is in court and blaming the police for the release of the suspects is not only unjustified but can also be a contempt of court, he maintained.
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