Power Corrupts

Power corrupts; lack of check and balance corrupts absolutely, as the news of a private torture cell run by the Gujjarpura station house officer (SHO) reveals. The story in hand is another one to a plethora of tales exposing how some police officials have turned rogue. Since PTI has come in power, this is the umpteenth time that puts a question mark on the professionalism of Punjab police. Has the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government forgotten all its pre-election slogans of reforming Punjab Police? It is a sad fact that police force often the times violates the provisions of the constitution while arresting a person.

And one article of the constitution that the police frequently abuse is Article 14 of the document. For police, inviolability of dignity of man, the privacy of home means nothing at all. And torture that the said article forbids is a favourite practice of police officials. The statements of captives in the torture cell are more than enough to bring the government machinery in motion against such officials. But will the machinery come in action against such rogue elements? The story in hand is just the tip of the iceberg. Many people succumb to injuries that the police personnel inflict upon them. Many more suffer from permanent disabilities after police torture them.

Pakistani law does not permit any exceptions to prohibitions regarding acts amounting to torture. Likewise, no official or un-official orders, even during a state of emergency, can be justified as a defence to the commission of any such act amounting to torture. Furthermore, while Pakistan has ratified Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on 23rd June 2010, a proposed law to criminalise torture in the country is yet to be enacted. It is this lack of legislation in this regard that the police officials carry out such inhumane practices with impunity. The higher-ups in police need to take strict action against these corrupt elements within the police department.

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