Ghulam Akbar Marwat
In a spacious hall in Shakardara, located in the Kohat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), dance performers sway to the rhythm of drums while around two dozen armed men shower them with currency notes. As this video circulates widely on social media, it sparks controversy in Isa Khel Tehsil of Mianwali, after armed police officers from the Isa Khel police station are identified in the footage.
According to Mian Khurram Shehzad, the spokesperson for Mianwali Police, the video originates from Kohat district in KP, which shares a border with Mianwali district. Contrary to initial impressions, the gathering in Shakardara was not a dance party but a wedding event that took place a couple of months ago.
The police officials from Mianwali, as per the spokesperson, had been present there to conduct a search operation and apprehend the suspects. The video surfaced three to four weeks ago, prompting the Regional Police Officer (RPO) Shariq Kamal Siddiqui from Sargodha to take notice of the situation.
Following an inquiry report, RPO Shariq Kamal Siddiqui has dismissed nine policemen from their positions. While the local residents of Isa Khel acknowledge the stance of the police spokesperson from Mianwali, upon careful examination of the viral video, it does not appear to be a typical wedding ceremony.
In Kohat, they argue, weddings often involve music and are attended by hundreds of people, whereas the video showcases only around 20 specific individuals. It suggests that the event might have been organized to honor the Mianwali police personnel.
During an interview with TNN, one of the dismissed employees mentioned that Sub-Inspector Fayaz was not present in the video but faced consequences due to his position as the in-charge.
The individual expressed concerns regarding the procedure followed, stating that normally an employee receives a charge sheet and is given a week to respond. This is followed by a standard inquiry that concludes within a month. If found guilty, the employee is presented with a final show cause notice and appears before the concerned officer, who delivers a decision based on their judgment. However, in this case, the higher-ranking officers completed the entire process within a week and dismissed the nine police officers from their positions, which they considered unfair.
They believe this decision stems from external pressure rather than adhering to the principles of law and justice. The officers assert that they were deployed to the area of Kohat for the recovery and arrest of the accused based on the orders of their respective officers, DPO Mianwali and DSP Isa Khel. Therefore, the responsibility and rationale behind their presence should be questioned by the concerned officers.
When contacted for a statement, DSP Isa Khel, Malik Muhammad Iqbal, expressed regret and suggested that DPO Mianwali would be better equipped to provide an answer in this regard.
Who are these wanted criminals?
Speaking anonymously, an official from Isa Khel Police revealed that this group of police officers had caused havoc in the region. They are linked to the notorious Nasir Group involved in criminal activities. Surprisingly, this group enjoys complete impunity, while the police relentlessly pursue any other rival group. The dismissed officers claim that the Nasir group maintains unchecked authority due to their connections with the police as wanted criminals.
According to the dismissed policemen, their mission in the dangerous area of Kohat was to apprehend Muhammad Maqbool, son of Mehmood, a resident of the Bangi Khel area of Isa Khel Tehsil, who is wanted for four counts of murder.
They further mention that apart from terrorism and police encounters, they themselves are targeted by the said criminal. For instance, a policeman named Muhammad Kamran has been using crutches for three years due to injuries sustained on the field. Additionally, they highlight the criminal activities of Zeeshan, also known as the Khana Group, who frequent the Shakardara area after committing crimes.
The situation has raised concerns about the involvement of the police and the alleged nexus between certain officers and criminal elements. The dismissed officers firmly assert that their intentions were to apprehend wanted criminals and maintain law and order in the region.
As the controversy unfolds, the authorities are expected to conduct a thorough investigation into the viral video, the conduct of the police officers involved, and the alleged ties between criminal groups and law enforcement personnel.