PM Imran Khan ask the interior ministry to table anti torture bill in parliament

The torture is  unacceptable in a civilised democratic society and must be declare a heinous crime

Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he had spoken to the interior ministry about expediting the tabling of an anti-torture bill in the National Assembly. PM also said that torture is "unacceptable in a civilised democratic society". 

PM Imran Khan has tweeted that "i have asked Interior Ministry to expedite tabling our anti torture bill in National Assembly. Torture is unacceptable in a civilised democratic society & goes against the spirit of Islam, our constitution & our international legal commitment."

The Prime Minister Imran Khan rightly pointed out that torture is not acceptable in any civilised and democratic society. It is against human dignity and respect. The government should introduce this legislation in the parliament to approve it. 

In January this year, the Ministry of Human Rights promised to bring a bill against torture. Pakistan needs anti torture legislation to protect human dignity and human rights. Torture in police stations, prisons and torture cells is widely used to get confessional statements from accused.  Police and other investigation agencies used torture and abusive treatment to humiliate even innocent people.

The torture victims hardly get justice in torture cases. The torture culprits and human rights violators hardly get punishment for their crimes. The existing laws had been failed to protect people and their basic human rights.

Torture is an act that intentionally inflicts severe physical or mental pain or suffering.

The Human Rights laws in democratic states strictly prohibit torture.  There is general concept that a person must not be tortured or treated in a way that is cruel, inhuman or degrading. This includes not being subjected to medical or scientific treatment unless the person has given their full, free and informed consent.

Torture is a crime in all democratic states.  The Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibits torture. 

Cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is a broader concept than torture and must be covered in the new law . It often refers to treatment that is less severe than torture or that does not meet the definition of torture. It still involves abuse or humiliation. It does not necessarily have to be intentionally inflicted or physical pain. It can include acts that cause mental suffering, debases a person, causes fear, anguish or a sense of inferiority.

Torture is not confine to police and other law enforcement agencies but it is widely spread in the society. The torture is commonly practiced in schools and religious seminaries. The powerful individuals and groups in the society torture the weaker people including their servants.

Pakistan not only needs legislation to make torture a crime but also needs the will to implement the law with its spirit.

Human rights minister Dr Shireen Mazari had expressed the federal government’s commitment to making the police citizen-centric and gender-sensitive by resolving legislative, infrastructural and attitudinal challenges of the police.

She had also committed to depoliticise the police by introducing a merit-based system and a modern police law replacing the 157-year-old colonial law of 1861. But no step in this direction has been taken so far. 

The human rights minister had endorsed the fact that the police is an under-resourced institution and it needed to be equipped with all the required facilities and training to deal with victims or survivors of violence effectively. 

                                                                Rukhsana manzoor Deputy Editor


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