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Police brutality

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  • Police brutality

    For the poor in Pakistan, cases of police high-handedness — where the very people who are supposed to uphold and protect the rights of citizens end up making a mockery of them — have become all too common occurrences. However, the latest such incident brings into sharp focus the ineffectiveness of the law-enforcement system and the cruel practices of the police. As reported in this newspaper, the police in Islamabad tortured a man to death during interrogation, only to later declare him innocent. The unfortunate man was suspected to be involved in a kidnapping case and — according to the medical board that did the post-mortem on his body — died after he was tortured by the police, failing to withstand the beating.
    The inexplicable aspect of the entire incident is that the man was willing to cooperate with the police in the kidnapping case and actually came to the police station of his own accord. With no evidence having been gathered to implicate him, the police resorted to their traditional methods in order to get a confession. Later, all police officials involved admitted that the man was innocent. The notoriety earned by our police for harassing the innocent, hounding law-abiding citizens and spending more time on making life difficult for those who try to cooperate with them instead of carrying out investigations in a diligent manner, is entirely well deserved.
    Thankfully, a murder case has been filed against the officials involved. More worryingly, however, the officer trusted with investigating the case has himself been accused of a suspect’s death in his police station in the past. The police authorities must ensure that justice is served in this case and no attempt at a cover-up is allowed to succeed. Also, the behaviour of the police all over the country needs to undergo deep scrutiny. Measures must be taken to change the culture which deems it acceptable to torture suspects in order to procure confessions. The police must be trained in modern methods of interrogation, which do not rely on torturing and beating suspects.
    Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2012.