Torture, Custodial Death Bill-2021

The Senate of Pakistan has passed the long awaited the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Bill, 2021 on Monday. The bill aims at putting an end to infliction of torture and deaths upon individual or a group irrespective of gender, religion, financial status, or health conditions by any person, police or law enforcement agency, or an influential feud under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The bill clearly defines the term torture, custody, custodial death and other relevant terminology. The bill has been tabled by PPP Senator Sherry Rehman, was also supported by Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari. The lawmakers from both government and opposition benches played an important role in passage of the bill from the upper house. The upper house maintained in its statement that this nature of violation of human rights where brutal atrocities were perpetuated by police and other law enforcement agencies on common citizens of the country are alarming for the state of Pakistan. Therefore, it was a longstanding demand and a dire need to make torture and custodial death as criminal act to halt widespread abuse and exploitation. According to legal experts, the already existing provisions under PPC regarding use of force, physical and mental torture to individuals or collective abuse/ insult of the accused for gaining confession or otherwise were not full-filling the legal requirements of the time and most of these provisions were either vague or not comprehensive enough to be used for criminalizing torture, or custodial deaths. There had been massive human rights violations by the Police and Law enforcement agencies in the country. The Police and other LEAs consider themselves above the law and more patriotic than other citizens and behave like bosses of the public. The families of Victims of torture, extra judicial killings, fake Police encounters and custodial death has never saw the face of justice in this country because the Officers has always preferred to save their buddies instead of siding with duty, Justice, rule of law or voice of their conscious. The families of Young Osama Satti And Naqeebullah Masood are still awaiting justice despite the fact that the Prime Minister and Army Chief took personal interest in their Cases. It is suggestible that all cases must be investigated/ probed by a judicial inquiry to help serve justice to the victims and their families.