Two police officials were dismissed from service for running a torture cell behind a hotel in Sialkot.
According to a guard at the police station, an anonymous caller tipped off the District Police Officer (DPO) about the torture cell. “Everyone in the police station was in on it because the prisoners were brought and taken from the cell in a police van,” said a hotel employee. “We don’t know if the hotel owners knew about the cell but we were instructed never to interfere with the police business and let them through by the back entrance,” he added.
District Police Officer (DPO) Bilal Sadiq Kamiyana issued orders on Saturday for a police team to raid the hotel and uncover the torture den. A team led by Station House Officer (SHO) Malik Naveed raided a local hotel in the district and discovered a room in the basement with several handcuffs and weapons. “Police recovered pliers, scissors and other tools being used to torture prisoners. There was also a water tub and canes. Police officials also found a gun and handcuffs,” said Naveed. Naveed denied having any knowledge of the torture cell and said that two police constables had been using the cell. “They had been questioning prisoners in the cell and then returned them to the prison cells,” he said. “The men have confessed to the crimes,” he added.
Police constables Maulavi Arshad and Azeem Ahmed have been implicated in the case. “I conducted an inquiry in the local police stations and these men were found responsible for operating the torture cell,” he added.
The DPO told reporters that the dismissed police constables used to lock the accused in the private torture cell after arresting them from various parts of Sialkot city. “Sometimes they tortured the men before taking them to the police station but they primarily used the room for questioning. They have confessed to using water torture, electric wires and chopping off fingers of accused,” he added. “The men have been dismissed from service and we are conducting a full inquiry,” he said.
Both of the accused policemen were deployed on security duty for foreigners in Sialkot city. “Many foreigners tend to frequent this hotel and that is why they were familiar with the area,” Naveed said.
Hotel guards said that they had frequently spotted the two police officials at the hotel. “They would often go out the back exit but we did not know what they were doing. We had no knowledge of the torture cell,” said guard Rafeeq Ali. APP
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2011.