Islamabad – At one police station in the Federal Capital, it can take more than two weeks just to register a simple FIR.
Siraj Ahmad, a resident of Bhara Kahu, found this out the hard way when he visited the Aabpara Police Station on October 30, a day after a car hit his 11-year-old niece and broke her leg in Islamabad’s sector G-6.
“It took 17 days to file the FIR for this incident,” Ahmad said. “During the first week, the police officers did not cooperate with us at all. They just tried to get rid of us.”
Ahmad said the FIR was only registered after the issue reached the ears of some senior police officials.
Aabpara’s Station House Officer (SHO) Jamshed Khan, however, blamed the complainant for the delay.
Khan, who is also the subject of an ongoing inquiry for thrashing a private security guard in the Aabpara Market in October, said Ahmad and his family did not contact the police after the incident.
“They (the complainants) never notified us,” Khan told the Express Tribune over the phone. “They kept the case to themselves.”
The investigating officer on the case, Sub Inspector Riaz, backed up Khan’s version. He said the complainants only contacted the police on November 14. That is when the FIR was registered, Riaz said. He said the medical report has been received, after a delay caused by the Ashura holidays, and the police will carry out proceedings against the car and its driver.
Ahmad has a different story, though.
He said he visited the police station the very next day after the incident, but the police officers instead of registering his FIR, asked him to go get the medical report from Polyclinic Hospital, where the girl was treated after she was injured.
It’s standard practice for the police to get the medico-legal officer, but Ahmad thinks these were delaying tactics by the police.
“They made me do several rounds of the police station and the hospital during the first week,” he said.
The case is further complicated because of the nature of the other party involved. The car’s driver, Ahmad alleged, has some connections with the country’s intelligence agencies.
Ahmad said the police failed to call the man who was driving the car at the time of the accident to the police station, even though Ahmad and his family had identified the car and its owners.
The car’s driver did send a representative to the police station to negotiate with Ahmad’s family, Ahmad said. He said the SHO took the perpetrators’ side instead of holding them accountable.
Ahmad is not the only person who has faced difficulties in registering an FIR at the Aabpara police station during the past couple of months.
On October 19, Wajid Afridi, who lives in Peshawar, was visiting Islamabad. He parked his car right behind the Aabpara police station and went to have dinner at the Melody food park.
When he returned from dinner around 10 pm, the car was gone.
Even though the car was stolen so close to the police station, SHO Khan not only refused to register the FIR. He even doubted the veracity of Afridi’s concern.
“He told me: ‘I don’t believe the car was stolen,’” Afridi said.
Khan first tried to pin the blame on Afridi and later told him: “According to Afridi, Khan even told him: “So many cars are stolen every day, what can we do about it!”
The FIR was only registered after a week, but not before Afridi made a few calls to higher officials.
On Monday, Senior Superintendent Police Farooq Yasin directed police officials to note down the contact number of the complainant in the FIR, so that police officers can personally contact the complainant and monitor the progress of investigation, according to a press release issued by the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
It is not certain how effective this new measure can prove to be when residents of Islamabad are facing difficulties in registering the FIRs in the first place.