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Pushtkoh police chief accused of graft & coercion

Security & Crime

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Pushtkoh police chief accused of graft & coercion

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Apr 30, 2018 - 15:54

FARAH CITY (Pajhwok): Some residents of the Pushtkoh district of western Farah province complain about the coercive behavior of police officials and their involvement in corruption.

They asked the government to stop the high-handedness of police and replace the district police chief without any delay.

Mohammad Pazhman, a local journalist and resident of Pushtkoh, told Pajhwok Afghan News Haji Ghulam, who previously served in Helmand province, was appointed as police chief for the district five months back.

He claimed people’s harassment had dramatically increased since Haji Ghulam’s takeover as district police head.

“A few days back, I personally faced police brutality. The police chief himself thrashed me up when I was preparing a report about the construction of the district road,” he charged.

“Police ran towards me and asked me why I took pictures of the road. I replied I am a journalist and want to take some pictures of the road construction process for a report,” he recalled.

Pazhman added the policemen told him that journalists had no value. “They snatched my phone and then beat me until some elders came and rescued me.”

He has shared the issue with the Committee to Protect Journalists and Independent Journalists’ Association. Other residents also grumbled about the Pushtkoh police brutalities.

Esmatullah, a resident of Farah City, said: “On Saturday last, my brother and I were travelling to the Sheikh Abu Nasr Farahi Port. When we arrived to the district center, police beat up both of us without reason.”

“An elderly man asked the policemen why they were beating us. In response, police fired bullets at him and he was almost hit. But, fortunately, he escaped unhurt,” he continued.

Esmatullah said police also trimmed his beard after beating him.

During a protest four days ago, residents and traders of Pushtkoh had asked the government to replace the police chief and his assistants immediately.

Abdul Karim, Mohammad Halim, Mujtaba and some other residents of the district corroborated the claims of Esmatullah and Pazhman.

They accused police of robberies, as well as insulting local elders, youth, shopkeepers and schoolgirls. They said police were extorting money from truckers and snatching items from shopkeepers.

Dadullah Qane, a provincial council member, also acknowledged that some elders and traders had complained about police brutality and arbitrary actions.

The police chief, Haji Ghulam, and his personnel forcibly take away goods from shops, he alleged, saying the issue had been shared with the governor, who promised action.

The police officer could not be reached for comments. When contacted, the deputy chief for Farah, Abdur Razaq Sherzad, retorted: “I don’t have time for talking on this issue.”

mds/mud

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