Tuesday, September 26th, 2017
Home »Editorials » FIA’s disgraceful conduct
What took place at the nation's capital city airport on April 15 should make all Pakistanis hang their heads in shame. According to press reports, following an argument over missing toilet paper from the washroom (something common at local airports and reflective of poor administration) with two emigrant women of Pakistani origin on their way back to Norway, an FIA constable pulled them out of an immigration queue, tore up their passports and boarding passes, and dragged one of them to the washroom.

A video recording shows first one of the women screaming for help as her daughter is beaten up inside. If that was not outrageous enough, what followed in full public view, as shown in a video recording, is beyond belief. The offended FIA constable comes out and, along with a colleague, catching the two women by their hair hits them repeatedly as they cry in pain. Bystanders usually try to stop public scuffles, but in this case no one steps forward to help probably because the perpetrators were in uniform.

Ensuing developments confirm the generally held view that respect for ordinary people's rights is a concept alien to enforcement and investigation agencies from top to bottom levels. The attackers became the victims. An FIR was registered against the sufferers of senseless violence, and the head of the family forced to seek forgiveness in a written application. The matter somehow was brought to the Interior Minister's attention who ordered an inquiry. Yet that was of no help. The FIA chief in his report covered up the unforgivable behaviour of his staff giving them a clean chit. It was not until the video went viral and the media took up the issue that the case was reopened. The nagging question remains, how could they do it? The answer of course can be found in the way the FIA higher ups dealt with it. The two constables felt free to beat up the passengers secure in the knowledge that they could get away with it too, which they almost did until the media outcry. If this happened at a public place, it is not difficult to imagine what goes on in FIA's investigation centres.

Following the media exposure, as per standard practice in cases involving police highhandedness, the FIA has only suspended the main culprit. That will not do, nor its fresh inquiry. Mercifully, the apex court has also taken a suo motu notice of the case, calling for a report from the concerned departments. It is hoped not only the two FIA constables will be handed exemplary punishment for their appalling conduct but the investigation agency's head will also be made to answer for misrepresenting the facts in his report to the interior ministry.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2017

the author