Pakistan must stop Torture. It is criminal, should be made a crime

On June 23, Rafiullah alias Amir, a resident of Tehkal, was arrested ​after a video of him mocking police officials went viral on social media. Amir was beaten and paraded naked in Peshawar. This is not the first and unfortunately not the last time that we witness such incidents of police torture.

In a recent statement, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, referred to policing culture in Pakistan as manifesting “itself in the form of unlawful detention, torture, and custodial death and rape, compounded by the lack of accountability.” Referring to numerous cases of custodial deaths, illegal detentions and more HRCP said “we have witnessed the same cycle: unlawful use of force followed by ad hoc administrative actions to assuage public outcry, only to let it be forgotten.”

According to HRCP, their reports have “recorded 20 cases of custodial torture in the last year – these are only those cases that reach public attention through the media. Numerous other cases still go unreported. Let us pledge on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture 2020, commemorated every year on June 26, to end this culture of impunity and finally enact comprehensive legislation to outlaw this inhumane practice. Pakistan has made multiple attempts in the past to legislate against torture. The Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Bill 2020, tabled in February this year, is pending before a Senate committee and is an opportunity to finally pass a comprehensive law that addresses all aspects of custodial torture, including gender-based violence used exclusively against female victims. Civil society must continue to reflect critically on all such legislation, and the government must ensure that these voices are heard. Parliament must uphold its duty as enshrined in Article 14 (2) of the Constitution to protect the right of the very citizens who elected it.”

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