Senate panel calls for tough law to end custodial killings – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Expressing serious concern over rising incidents of deaths in police custody, a Senate panel on Monday called for an effective and tough legislation to curb custodial killings and violence against under-interrogation suspects.

The Senate Standing Committee on Interior which met here with its chairman Rehman Malik in the chair was given a detailed briefing by Inspector General of Punjab Police, Arif Nawaz Khan, about the death of ATM ‘robber’ Salahuddin in police custody in Rahim Yar Khan.

The IGP told the committee that he and his institution were equally grieved over the death of Salahuddin in police custody. He told the panel that Salahuddin was arrested by police in Rahim Yar Khan on Aug 30 on the complaint of a bank for allegedly stealing money from an ATM and unfortunately he died in police custody on Aug 31.

He said on the complaint of Salahuddin’s father, an FIR had been lodged against the SHO and investigation officers and other policemen who were on duty, under sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Also discusses rape, murder of Kasur children

He said that immediately after the incident, the DPO of Rahim Yar Khan had been transferred and the SP concerned suspended.

He also informed the committee that the Salahuddin’s father was not satisfied with the post-mortem report as a result the autopsy of Salahuddin’s body had been re-conducted on Saturday.

Senator Malik said Article 14 of the Constitution dealt with the inviolability of dignity of citizens, arrested or detained by police. He said no person should be subjected to torture for extracting evidence but sadly custodial torture and killings had become a norm in police.

He said it was the need of the hour that another law prescribing stringent punishment should be enacted and implemented against torture and custodial killings in the constitution.

Mr Malik said he had prepared a 26-point proposal which he would be sharing with the ministry of interior, law division and IG police of the four provinces seeking their recommendations for framing the law.

He recalled that the Senate had passed a bill named “The Torture, Custodial Death and Custodial Rape (Prevention and Punishment), Act, 2015” which could not sail through the National Assembly in the given 90 days.

He directed the IGP of Punjab police to strictly instruct all SHOs to refrain from all kinds of torture in police stations.

“We have to create a citizen-friendly environment in our police stations and end the practice of torture for the purpose of extracting evidence.

Referring to the matter of rape and killing of children in Kasur, Mr Malik said that people across the country were very concerned about rapid increase in cases of kidnapping, rape and killing of children in Kasur.

He informed the IGP that the committee would be taking a briefing on the issue in the next committee meeting.

IG Prisons Punjab briefed the committee about the alleged incident and said he had taken note of the incident after receiving the information through his WhatsApp , he immediately directed DIG Prisons Rawalpindi, to look into the matter. The DIG Prisons told the committee that the alleged sexually-assaulted prisoner was 21 years old and he was arrested along with his father.

He said during the investigation the alleged sexually-assaulted prisoner accused another inmate of sexually assaulting him but the medical team duly sent by the magistrate did not find any evidence of rape. DIG Prisons told the committee that a total of 11 officials from the Adiala Central Jail had been suspended for their negligence in the case.

The committee also expressed its dissatisfaction over the briefing and directed that the matter should be investigated further and a detailed report should be presented to the committee in the next meeting.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2019

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