Pak police routinely flout basic human rights, says report
The police in Pakistan engage in human rights violations such as "arbitrary arrest, torture, extra-judicial killings and sexual violence," with religious minorities especially vulnerable to the "disgruntled and corrupt" officers of the force, a global rights body said in a report on Monday.
The 102-page report by the Human Rights Watch is based on interviews with senior police officials, victims and witnesses of police abuse in Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab provinces.
The report details the over 2,000 alleged false "encounters" committed by the police in 2015 and has demanded an immediate overhaul of the country's police system that "enables and even encourages serious human rights violations". It found that the police routinely use torture against people in custody, particularly during criminal investigations.
"Those from marginalised groups refugees, the poor, religious minorities and the landless are at risk of violent police abuse," it states.
"The methods of custodial torture include baton charging, stretching and crushing legs with metal rods, sexual violence, prolonged sleep deprivation and mental torture, including forcing detainees to witness the torture of others," the report added.
Expressing concern over the situation, Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said: "Pakistan faces grave security challenges that can be best handled by a rights respecting, accountable police force. Instead, law enforcement has been left to a police force filled with disgruntled, corrupt and tired officers, who commit abuses with impunity, making Pakistanis less safe."
Senior police officials told Human Rights Watch that physical force is often used because the police are not trained in methods of professional investigation and forensic analysis, it said.