Nearly 40 per cent of the Sindh police officers were recruited on the basis of political nepotism, said former Supreme Court chief justice, Justice (retd) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, while talking about problems in the judiciary.
He called for legislation that would guarantee the safety of court witnesses, especially those involved in terrorism cases and said that the police needs to distance itself from politics to perform its duties effectively.
While mentioning some shortcomings of the police department, Siddiqui said that its officials are not properly trained and generally unaware about basic human rights. “They use old methods of interrogation, which are often torturous.”
Quoting the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, he cited brutal behaviour, unnecessary use of force and putting people in unlawful detention as the main complaints received by people. “There is also a credibility issue with the police due to which people do not trust their investigations.”
The War against Rape (WAR) director, Sarah Zaman, spoke about the ways in which members of the civil society can help victims of violence. She shared the example of a woman whose husband beat her repeatedly and even broke her teeth. “She did not want to leave her husband, she just wanted the violence to stop.”
Zaman said that her organisation encourages victims of domestic violence to pursue the criminal justice system while acknowledging that it could prove to be traumatic for them. “It is intimidating for women to deal with the police and to appear in the court.”
She said that the government needs to make sure that Pakistan’s human rights are at par with the respective international statutes. “Politicians and the media should work together to ensure that victims receive justice and are properly rehabilitated.”
Published In The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2012.