Government is committed to eliminate the inhumane practice of torture, Mazari says
Islamabad: Reiterating the commitment of the state to protect citizens from torture and uphold their fundamental human Rights, Minister for Human Rights Dr.Shireen Mazari Said on Thursday, The Government of Pakistan is committed to eliminate the inhumane practice of torture. “We are actively working towards strengthening legislation to effectively criminalize the practice – which violates our Constitution as well as our international commitments.”
“We also recognize the pervasive issue of the culture of police abuse, and are cognizant of the need for comprehensive police reforms to put an end to torture and extrajudicial killings, “Human Rights Minister Said.
On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Dr.Mazari said the Ministry of Human Rights has initiated several sensitization and awareness sessions with the police on a range of human rights related issues including respecting the rights of women, children and transgender persons.
She further stated that the Ministry of Human Rights is dedicated for establishing human rights at the center of our criminal justice system. Last year, “we worked on reforming and streamlining the mercy petition process for prisoners on death row. Critically, in January 2019, our Ministry also submitted a draft bill to the Ministry of Law and Justice to criminalize enforced disappearances through an amendment in the Pakistan Penal Code. While the process of legislative and cultural reform is gradual, we are taking concrete steps towards ending the culture of impunity for these crimes.”
Dr.Mazari has also raised the issue of Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir by Indian Occupation forces, particularly with regards to the cruel treatment of women and the youth in custody.
“The Kashmiri population has been drowning under a wave of systematic torture and oppression, which has been aggravated since Hindutva Supremacist Modi government enforced a lockdown in IOJK and illegally annexed the disputed IOJK territory against all international law and especially the Fourth Geneva Convention which regards such an action as a war crime. The systematic or widespread practice of torture constitutes a crime against,” she went on say.
According to the Ministry of Human Rights, Torture violates the fundamental dignity of a human being and is an inherent violation of international human rights law. The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June marks the proclamation of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) – a key international instrument towards eliminating the practice of torture around the world.
Pakistan has ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – both of which prohibit torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, the Ministry said.
Bringing the current situation of Pakistan into Light, Human Rights Ministry said Cases of custodial violence, torture and death continue in the country despite its prohibition under Article 14 (2) of the Constitution of Pakistan which states that “No person shall be subjected to torture for the purpose of extracting evidence.” Article 10 of the Constitution also institutes protections against arbitrary arrest and detention.
The present Government of Pakistan is working towards strengthening legislation at the federal and provincial level to effectively criminalize torture in the country and ensure that the human rights guaranteed by the Constitution are upheld and protected, the Ministry further said.
Ministry of Human Rights has drafted the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Bill 2020 which has been approved in principle by the Cabinet and is with Ministry of Law and Justice for vetting, before being tabled in parliament.
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