Torture in State Custody Remains Endemic in Pakistan

Pakistan is a signatory to the Convention against Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Yet, Pakistani media is rife with stories of how people lose their lives in police custody. Just recently, two teenage boys, Muhammad Asim and Shahzaib, lost their lives in police custody.


According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), “Pakistan is under obligation to adopt all measures to prevent and punish acts of torture. Under these treaties, states also have an obligation to provide adequate redress to victims of torture. Failing to criminalise torture has put the lives, the freedoms and the rights of vulnerable groups including children, women and people from disadvantaged backgrounds. It has plagued and corrupted the criminal justice system with false convictions and broken the trust between the law enforcement mechanism and citizens.”


HRCP called upon the Parliament to “uphold its duty as enshrined in Article 14 (2) of the Constitution to protect the right of the very citizens who elected it. In the absence of a legal framework to define and criminalise torture, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan is concerned about the use of torture in various forms by various state agencies, both civilian and military. Apart from active instances of torture in police lockups and prisons, there has been no letup in extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, honour killings, persecution of religious minorities, sectarian attacks and domestic violence. Moreover, HRCP is concerned that the safeguards against torture initiated by the government through the National Commission for Human Rights and National Commission on the Status of Women have been rendered dysfunctional in recent years.”

Author: Zahid Khan

Latest articles

Pakistan Cannot Escape Rules of Economics

On Thursday May 26, the coalition government led by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif announced an increase in prices of petroleum products. Finance Minister, Miftah...

Deal with IMF is Pakistan Rupee’s Only Hope

Pakistan’s economic crisis continues with the rupee in free fall and inconclusive talks between the government of Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)....

Pakistan in Crisis Mode, Once Again

Pakistan appears to be heading towards political confrontation with the recent PTI march on the federal capital. Crackdowns on the opposition leaders and the...

Pakistan Makes Changes to Electoral Law

Recently, the National Assembly of Pakistan passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2022 that seeks to remove the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in...

Related articles

Author: Zahid Khan