The News : Rauf’s escape blamed on junior police staff

Friday, December 21, 2007

Rauf’s escape blamed on junior police staff

By Shakeel Anjum | December 20, 2007

ISLAMABAD: The inquiry committee constituted by the Ministry of Interior to probe Rashid Rauf’s escape from police custody is trying to deflect the international pressure by putting the blame on the low-ranking police persons, reliable sources in the Ministry of Interior told The News.

Three junior police officials, two Head Constables and a Line Officer (LO), have been held responsible in the report for the escape but the committee has not suggested any action against the accused police officials, the sources said.

“No senior police officer has been held responsible for Rauf’s escape”, the sources told this correspondent. “The draft of the fact-finding inquiry report is complete but not yet submitted to the concerned authorities”, the sources said.

The committee, comprising Additional Secretary Interior Imtiaz Qazi (Chairman), Additional Director General FIA, Mirza Yaseen, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Amer Ali Ahmad and DIG (Prison Punjab) was set up to compile ‘documentary evidence’ to be produced before the international agencies.

“The government should hold a judicial inquiry to replace the departmental inquiry made by the SSP, Islamabad”, they maintained. “Actually, the Ministry of Interior and home office Punjab are responsible for not declaring Rauf a ‘high profile’ suspect”, the ministry sources opined adding, “they only mentioned him as killer of his uncle in the UK. Even the British agency didn’t mention him as terrorist”, the sources maintained. “The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) could be held equally responsible for this criminal negligence because the agency was prosecuting the case of extradition of the suspect in the trial court,” they claimed, adding, “In these circumstances, Rashid Rauf cannot be ‘assumed’ as terrorist.”

Meanwhile, the sources quoting the statements of the people involved in the ‘escape episode’ told ‘The News’ that Rafique, the maternal uncle of Rauf and Zahoor were present during court hearing.