SC constitutes committee in Amal Umer case

SC constitutes committee in Amal Umer case
The Supreme Court on Tuesday constituted a committee to that will determine amendments necessary for police training, regulations and treatment of injured persons in hospitals while hearing a case pertaining to the death of a 10-year-old girl in Karachi.

Amal Umer lost her life after she was hit by a stray bullet during a police encounter in Karachi’s Akhtar Colony area.

As per the apex court’s orders, the committee will also determine the persons responsible in Amal’s case. The committee will include Advocate General Sindh, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, Lateef Khosa and Advocate Umaima.

During the hearing, Amal’s tearful mother Beenish recalled the incidents of the day when her child died. “We were traveling from Korangi Road towards FTC when a man approached us at the signal and asked us to hand over everything,” she told the court.

“There was a lot of traffic at the signal at the time. The man took my phone and bag and then told us to roll up the windows and left,” she continued. “As soon as my husband started the car, we heard a gunshot and a bullet suddenly hit our windshield.”

“When I turned, I saw Amal lying in a pool of blood and my other daughter clutching my seat,” Beenish recalled.

The mother further said that after she and her husband rushed Amal to the National Medical Centre (NMC), the hospital staff did not provide immediate treatment and instead intubated the injured child and attached an ambu bag.

“The hospital staff told us that she [Amal] did not have much time and it was a medico-legal case so we should take her to Jinnah hospital,” Beenish told the court.

“The hospital initially did not even help them arrange an ambulance,” Amal’s mother said. After much insistence, someone from the hospital called the Aman Foundation, who refused to send an ambulance till “arrangements were made” at Jinnah Hospital, she further apprised the court. “When we asked if we could take the ambu bag along, the NMC staff refused.”

By the time an ambulance reached them and they took their daughter to Jinnah Hospital it was too late. Amal had lost the battle for her life by then.

“We don’t want any compensation for our daughter’s death. We just want to make sure that what we faced does not happen with anyone else,” Amal’s mother said.

Furthermore, she raised a question regarding the use of a Kalashnikov to counter street crime. “Who has permitted the police to use the AK-47 to counter street crime?” she said, adding that the law enforcement agency was earlier unwilling to admit whose bullet had hit the girl.

Court adviser Latif Khosa remarked that the use of firearms by police should be reviewed immediately.

“We are not living in Kabul, Syria, Kashmir, Lebanon or Palestine…we live in Karachi,” Beenish said.

The chief justice remarked that no amount of sympathy could help the grieving parents.

Speaking to the media after the court ordered to constitute a committee in the case, Amal’s father thanked the Supreme Court and Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar for taking notice of the case.

“We want to thank the Supreme Court and CJP Nisar for taking notice of the incident and ordering an inquiry into the matter.

“Our daughter will not come back to life but we want the problems [that led to her death] to be eradicated.

“We want laws to be passed to solve the issues, be them at the police’s end or the hospitals.

“We shouldn’t address things when a tragedy occurs, even though we have already faced this tragedy,” Amal’s father said.

The deceased child’s mother, Beenish, said we are raising the question that there should be police training and assessment.

The bullet that hit Amal was from an AK-47 and was fired by a policeman attempting to kill a bandit, who had robbed the 10-year-old’s family a few minutes earlier as they waited at a traffic light to attend a concert on the eve of Independence Day.

After Amal’s parents raised the issue and it was highlighted by the media, Chief Justice Nisar took suo moto notice of the incident and fixed the matter for hearing on September 25.