PESHAWAR - Speakers at a consultative workshop on the prevention of torture in custody urged the government to eliminate the practice with the rule of law.
The second consultative workshop hosted by the Democratic Commission for Human development (DCHD) was organised here on Friday.
Professor Ijaz Khattak, who heads Fata cell at the Department of International Relations at University of Peshawar, presided over the consultative meeting.
He opened up the discussion by introducing torture in the backdrop of UN Convention against Torture. "Since Pakistan is a signatory to the convention thus it is bound to make its criminal justice system free of torture," he said.
From this obligation, Pakistan has introduced constitutional clauses that protect an accused or a citizen from torture.
He said recently due to lawyers and other civil society groups, the state is becoming more aware of repercussions of torture on the criminal justice system.
He congratulated DCHD on launching the comprehensive baseline survey on torture carried out in three districts of Punjab. He said that these efforts would go a long way in forging a common response against torture.
He said that there was an urgent need to make an indigenous and homegrown law against torture and civil society must join hands to press the state to legislate on the subject.
Senior lawyer Noor Alam Khan also gave an overall view of the state of criminal justice system in Pakistan. He said that the system in Pakistan was infested with violation of laws and rules, as state agencies did not know any other method of investigation than torturing the suspects. He said that a comprehensive law against torture must include elements of UN Convention against Torture and international fair trial standards.
Arshad Mehmood from DCHD unfolded a range of possibilities to make a common response to torture in his presentation of the report that DCHD launched on the criminal justice system in Pakistan.
He gave a formal briefing to the participants on the key findings of the report and a possible future course of action during the national campaign against torture.
He introduced the campaign and laid out its various contours, which would be focused during the national campaign against torture. He introduced partners of the campaign and various organs that would take this campaign forward. The various components of the campaign were laid out in the presentation along with their intended targets.