Officials involved in killing of youth in capital were ‘trigger-happy’: report


ISLAMABAD: A judicial inquiry into the killing of Osama Satti conducted by the additional deputy commissioner Islamabad has recommended that officials of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) should never jointly work with the regular force without permission from the superintendent of police (SP).

Chief Commissioner Islamabad Aamir Ahmed Ali had ordered the judicial inquiry to establish facts and fix responsibility over the incident in which the Crisis Response Team (CRT) of the ATS gunned down the 21-year-old on Srinagar Highway early on Jan 2.

Officials told Dawn on condition of anonymity that the chief commissioner office submitted the judicial inquiry report to Ministry of Interior for perusal and direction for further action.The inquiry report said posting and transfer of ATS officials must be made only on the recommendation of a board, comprising high-ranking officers of the police operations and a psychologist. The board may also evaluate the officials from time to time to determine their suitability for posting in the field.

Psychological sessions for counseling and management of action and use of force in all circumstances of the ATS and operations wing of the police must also be conducted. The report also asked for regular training of the two wings.

The inquiry officer recorded statements of 29 people, visited the crime scene, examined the route of the chase, vehicle of the deceased, wireless call record, footage of the Safe City Project and 15 voice records of the police.”The officials involved in the incident were ‘trigger-happy’ and swayed by their power to use guns without any control,” the officials quoted the report, adding there was no standard operating procedure (SOP) for the use of weapons and intervention from any senior officer to intervene and direct the officials to show restraint.

After the incident, the duty officer protected the perpetrators and concealed the crime, it added.

There is a need to strengthen internal monitoring mechanism. The incident took place due to the absence of SOPs in the police, the report said.In the light of the incident, SPOs and rules of engagement may also be issued by the IGP office. Besides, training of police officials on security duties may also be held to inculcate discipline.

The report also recommended an audit and review of internal supervision mechanism of the police.

“Significant evidential value were found in the wireless record. The wireless control room must be equipped with digital voice recording technology with a computerised time stamp to analyse any crisis to establish the incident’s actual enactment.”

The IGP office must establish an official code of conduct for standardised terminology in wireless communication to help convey the message in brevity without sensationalising. The monitoring mechanism of police is seriously weak.

It was the duty of the senior officer to present on site to take control of the situation. The concerned officers should be asked and proceeded against for lacking control on the situation.

“The act of targeted firing on an unarmed person resulted in his death, shocked and frightened the public at large.” The inquiry officer recommended that the case must be tried under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

All permits issued for usage of black tinted glasses in vehicles must be cancelled. Clear directions must also be issued to all stakeholders against the usage of tinted glasses.

Besides, public must be educated to stop when asked by the police, adding there is also a need to develop public trust in the police.

The inquiry recommended that the officials concerned must be removed from their present places of duty so that the investigation may be completed fairly.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2021