IHC moved against custodial torture of minor

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party leader Farhatullah Babar and lawyer Imaan Mazari filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday against the Islamabad police’s custodial torture of a minor.

The petition, filed through their lawyer Usman Khawar Ghumman, is expected to be fixed for a hearing on Tuesday.

The petitioners highlighted the horrendous incident of police brutality and custodial torture in a police station in Islamabad. They claim the Station House Officer (SHO) Irshad Cheema had confined a minor child in his private office and was mistreating him.

The minor detainee was allegedly screaming in pain and could be heard outside the police station. Imaan was present at the police station and inquired into the matter after hearing the boy’s screams. She maintained that she saw the event unfold before her eyes and watched a civilian bribe the police officer as well.

Imaan attempted to seek redressal against the officer in charge. However, the absence of a statutory body tasked with handling citizen complaints against police officials became a hindrance.

She approached all police higher-ups, including the Islamabad inspector general, senior superintendent of police (SSP) operations and others, informing them of the event and requesting the police officer to be prosecuted.

After getting no response following her efforts, Imaan turned to the courts with the grievance. She also approached the families of the children being tortured, and former senator Farhatullah Babar, a vocal critic against torture.

Usama Khawar, the advocate for the petitioners, underlined that the federal government was under a statutory obligation to establish the Federal Police Complaints Authority, and the Islamabad District Public Safety Commission – a duty they had allegedly not fulfilled in the past 20 years.

“It is appalling how the executive is functioning in such chaos, with no adherence to, or respect for, the law and the Constitution. The citizens must be called to action, and the governments must be accountable for their inactions,” the lawyer said.

The case made rounds on social media as people rallied in pursuit of seeking justice for such acts. More than 70 lawyers wrote an open letter to the prime minister, chief commissioner, and the IG seeking an inquiry into the matter.

After the issue was brought to higher authorities’ notice, the police implicated the minors in purportedly unrelated first information reports (FIRs) of phone snatching.

The judicial magistrate remanded the minors in judicial custody for 14 days without paying heed to the prosecution of the minors by the police. Due to fear of reprisal from the police, the torture victims never pursued their cases.

“It is high time that a comprehensive anti-torture legislation is passed,” Babar said.


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