ISLAMABAD, (AFP) — Pakistan’s top judge summoned the attorney general and paramilitary chief to the supreme court on Friday, demanding a full explanation after soldiers shot dead an unarmed man in a Karachi park.
Two paramilitary soldiers were remanded in custody Friday over Sarfaraz Shah’s killing, which was broadcast in graphic detail on television, shocking the country and raising disturbing questions about the security forces.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry ordered the attorney general, the head of Pakistan’s Rangers paramilitary force and other senior government officials to appear in person with a complete record of the incident.
The registrar of the court earlier wrote to the top judge, describing the shooting “in cold blood” as “tantamount to extra-judicial killing by the law enforcing agency.”
“It was a brutal act and a brazen violation of most essential fundamental right,” said the letter.
Rangers soldiers Shahid Zafar and Mohammed Afzal were handed over to police in Pakistan’s biggest city of Karachi on Friday by their military commanders, senior police official Tariq Dharejo told AFP.
“We have produced them in a sessions court where the judge remanded them into police custody for five days until Wednesday,” Dharejo added.
Officials had said that five paramilitary soldiers were being held in connection with the killing, in a park named after assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in the upmarket district of Clifton.
Dharejo said Zafar and Afzal were “the main accused” in the shooting, which was captured live on camera and broadcast repeatedly on local television and uploaded to Internet video-sharing site YouTube.
A clean-shaven man, wearing black trousers and a navy shirt, is seen crying and pleading for his life as a soldier cocks his rifle at his neck, then shoots him twice in the hand and thigh.
As his blood pours onto the ground, he begs for help from soldiers — who appear to do nothing but watch — until he falls unconscious.
Shah, 22, was accused of robbery, but his family has demanded justice, insisting he was an innocent student passing the time of day.
Rangers spokesman Farooq Bilal confirmed that two soldiers had been handed over to police custody and said an internal investigation was underway.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the culprits would be prosecuted and Major General Aijaz Chaudhry, the Rangers chief in the southern province of Sindh, said that a three-member team had been set up to conduct an inquiry.
“The incident is deplorable. The Rangers have no authority to kill any unarmed individual and they can fire only in self-defence,” he said.
Leading human rights activists and lawyers condemned the killing as a sign of how brutalised Pakistan has become after years of bomb attacks, targeted assassinations, kidnappings and a Taliban insurgency in the northwest.
The incident mirrored the killings last month in the southwestern Baluchistan province of five unarmed Chechens, one of them a pregnant woman, that are also under investigation.