Children Are Paying The Price Of Police Negligence In Pakistan

Aqsa Muhammad Saleem and Amal Umer were shot dead with police bullets. The former was hit by a bullet while in school, while the latter was shot in her car.

Aqsa Muhammad Saleem was in her school like every other weekday, but little did she know that the first day of October would be her last day on earth.

On October 1, the 7-year-old was killed by a stray bullet in her school located in Karachi, Pakistan. The school named “The Citizens Foundation” is reportedly situated near a Police Training Center.

It is ironic that the horrific incident took place at a school situated near a place where future law enforcement officers are trained to protect the citizens.

After his daughter's sad demise, Muhammad Saleem doesn't want to send his remaining four children to school anymore.

“No one is paying attention to the security of educational institutions. The authorities must take steps so that horrific incidents like these do not repeat,” he said while speaking to local news outlet, The Express Tribune.

Soon after being shot, Aqsa was transported to the Civil Hospital. She was kept there for two hours and was later shifted to another hospital, NICH, for treatment. But she had lost a lot of blood and couldn’t make it.

The doctors at NICH said Aqsa’s condition was critical and the bullet that pierced her spine came from a lightweight weapon.

After police learned about Aqsa’s critical condition, they requested Saleem to get a postmortem done. Saleem shifted his daughter’s body to Jinnah, another hospital in Karachi, because a postmortem facility wasn’t available in the hospital where she was initially admitted.

As if all of this wasn’t enough for the bereaving family, when they reached Jinnah, the doctors weren’t available. The family then shifted the girl’s dead body to a mortuary.

“My girl fought bravely against death but God had planned something different for her,” lamented Saleem, adding “Who would send their children to school with security like this?”

The investigating officer claimed the bullet hit the little girl from a distance of between 150 and 200 yards, adding the area right behind the school was a residential area.

However, area residents believe only one bullet was fired that day. Aqsa’s father, Muhammad Saleem, registered a case against unknown suspects a day after his daughter was shot.

The bullet was recovered from Aqsa’s body and sent to a forensic lab for a detailed investigation. The result of this investigation will reveal whether the weapon used to shoot Aqsa belonged to the police or someone else.

This isn’t the first time that a minor lost their life after being shot by a stray bullet.

Earlier, in August, a 10-year-old girl, named Amal Umar was killed in her car while traveling with her parents, after a bullet hit the back of her head.

The family was getting back from a concert when two armed robbers came to mug them. Amal’s father recalled giving the robbers his cell phone and wallet before hearing the sound of a gunshot. When the couple turned back, they were shocked to see that Amal bleeding out in the backseat.

Panic-stricken, the parents took their daughter to the nearest hospital, National Medical Center, for treatment. The hospital denied admitting the girl and told the parents to take her to Jinnah or Agha Khan Hospital.

When they asked the NMC hospital staff for an ambulance, they discovered the hospital didn’t have any.

When the father asked if someone from the staff could sit with them in their car to guide them to the advised hospital, they refused. The mother then called for an ambulance and was asked her if she had already booked a bed in Jinnah.

How could anyone expect the parents of a girl shot in the head to be so planned?

Amal died on August 13 in NMC before being shifted to another hospital.

Not only were the city’s hospitals inhumane to Amal, but Karachi city’s police was also equally responsible for the girl’s death — because the bullet that killed Amal was reportedly shot by a police officer.

At first the police officers claimed the family resisted and as a result the shootout took place. But later it was discovered that the bullet that hit Amal was fired from a machine gun that belonged to one of the police officers. 

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) South Javed Alam Odho admitted that the bullet that killed the little girl was fired by a cop.

This raises question about the kind of training these cops receive.

Why did the officer use a machine gun to fire at the alleged robber in the middle of a busy street?

Later, when Amal’s mother gathered the courage and wrote an article in the local daily, Dawn, there was a massive outrage on social media and TV channels drawing attention to the case of their daughter.

Amal’s parents are courageous as they are raising their voice for the betterment of hospitals, ambulance services and police enforcement of the country so that someone else doesn’t have to lose their life like their daughter.

But for Aqsa’s father, the only solution to keep his remaining children safe was by keeping them at home.

Both the officers involved in Amal’s case were suspended, but that won’t bring the little girl back to life.

It is sad to see that after such a sad incident, another little girl had to lose her life while studying in school, apparently from a bullet that came from the nearby police training center.

All these tragedies draw a dark picture of the security of civilians living in the country.

Thumbnail / Banner : RIZWAN TABASSUM, AFP, Getty Images

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