LAHORE: Police officers prefer that an investigation of suspects be conducted in private locations due to pressure from high officials regarding recovery of suspects, said former Inspector General Khawaja Khalid Farooq.
The statement was made in light of the recent incidents of police torture in the provincial capital. Although the incumbent government came to power using the slogan of tabdeeli, seldom has changed when it comes to the ‘thana culture’ of police stations.
Previously, the Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Arif Nawaz Khan installed cameras in police stations after a worrying number of cases of custodial deaths emerged in the city. The police, however, continued its methods of abuse and torture during investigations and began placing suspects in private locations.
A private torture cell, run by officers of Gujjarpura police, in a building of forest department, in Karol Village, was recently found where, reportedly, the Gujjarpura SHO allegedly kept drug dealers to investigate an anti-corruption team’s uncovered activities pertaining to raids.
At least six citizens have been illegally detained in the cell and were brutally tortured there for months. The victims included traders, students and labourers. A victim’s bones were broken while he was chained to a charpoy. The victim, revealed in a leaked video, said that he was beaten up by police officials in front of his son and daughter.
A police officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that police have to adopt several methods of torture for the confession of crime committed by the accused, which is not possible in the ideal police station environment. “The most common of these methods is beating where the police ties up the suspect, upside down, and hit the suspects using a stick or belt made of leather or rubber.”
He added that this leather stick is strong enough to damage the suspect’s body significantly.
Another method of torture involves the accused’s body forcibly laid on a bed, with their hands and legs handcuffed, and sticks are struck at his feet. Police have set up their private torture cells away from police stations out of fear of being caught on video, which has previously revealed cases of police torture on several occasions. These methods of torture are common in police stations simply because police violence is underreported and difficult to prove in medical reports.
According to the law, if a deep wound or broken bone is found in medical results, the action is immediately taken.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2019.