Of investigation reports

October 4, 2020

Sahiwal’s senior postmaster was attacked in her office by Naveed Aslam, PTI’s district information secretary. Though an FIR was registered, the accused is out on bail currently due to “leeway allowed in the report”

“It was midday when a man brazenly barged into the office of Sahiwal’s senior postmaster at General Post Office [on September 24]. He was infuriated for not being given protocol, being a worker of the ruling party”, a witness at General Post Office tells The News on Sunday.

Sofia Qasim was working in her office when Naveed Aslam, PTI’s district information secretary, barged in and abused her. Aslam caught her by the arm, dragged her from her chair and then slapped her, say GPO staff members.

Ghulam Mustafa, a GPO staffer says that Naveed Aslam “ransacked the office” and “started abusing the senior postmaster after entering her office”.

“Sofia Qasim called Police Rescue 15 for help. Police reached moments later and arrested Naveed Aslam”, says Ahmed Nawaz, another staff member.

This scribe interviewed nearly a dozen GPO staff members and they confirmed that the officer was intimidated and assaulted. The GPO staffers have been fearful since the incident.

Sahiwal City Police have registered the case on the complaint of the senior postmaster under Sections 354, 506, 186 PPC on September 24, 2020.

The first information report (FIR) says that the complainant, a senior postmaster at Sahiwal GPO, was working in her office while two staff members Syed Amjad Abbas and Muhamamd Latif were performing their duties when the accused, Naveed Aslam, entered her office and harshly abused her. Aslam then caught her by the arm, dragged her onto the ground and slapped her across the face whilst giving her death threats.

He then warned her that he is a “PTI worker” and he “deserves protocol”, adding that he would “make her job extremely difficult for her”. Some staff members intervened and managed to take him out of the office but the accused continued abusing the staff. She quickly called the Police Helpline 15 because there were cash transactions taking place at that time, says the FIR. While the Sahiwal city police arrested Aslam, he was granted bail the next day.

Lawyers say that the police framed the FIR in a way that allowed the accused to get bail.

Syed Irfan Haider Shamsi, a senior lawyer, says that Section 7- of the Anti-Terrorism Act should have been included in the FIR, and the case should have gone before an Anti-Terrorism Court instead of the regular court.

“Attacking a government officer at his/her office amounts to terrorism,” he says.

Shamsi says that the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 defines terrorism in Section-6, and Clause-C of the section covers such crimes.

“Attacking a government officer at his/her office is a crime equal to terrorism,” says Syed Irfan Haider Shamsi, a senior lawyer.

The clause says that “the use or threat is designed to coerce and intimidate or overawe the government or the public or a section of the public or community or sect”. The sub-section 3 of the clause explains that this “involves grievous damage to property, [including government premises, official installations, schools, hospitals, offices or any other public or private property including damaging property by ransacking, looting or arson or by any other means]”.

Ameer Taimur Buzdar, the district police officer of Sahiwal says that police are investigating the matter and waiting for the medical report of the complainant to review the FIR.

“If a person has a complaint against an officer, he/she should file his complaint before a senior officer instead of slapping and abusing a senior officer in her office,” says Buzdar.

The accused Naveed Aslam completely denies intimidating or slapping the officer. He says that the bureaucracy is creating hurdles for the government in swift service delivery.

He complains that police “slapped and abused him when he was arrested”.

Sahiwal City police, however, completely deny allegations of slapping or abusing the accused. They maintain that the accused was “telling lies” and “defaming the police”.

When the DPO was asked why the police did not include 7- ATA in the FIR and why they had registered a weak FIR, he says that the issue of the inclusion of 7-ATA would be decided on receiving the medical report.

“I am in a constant state of terror,” says Qasim.

“I’ve stopped my children from going to school. I have limited my activities because the accused was carrying a pistol at the time,” she says.

“However, the police are cooperating. So, I’m hopeful”, she adds.

The writer is bureau chief of The News in Multan. He may be reached at [email protected]

Of investigation reports