PAKISTAN: Even the Chief Justice of Pakistan is not spared from torture

Pakistan is a country where even Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the apex court, is not spared physical and mental torture by the country’s law enforcement agencies.  Mr. Iftekhar Choudhary, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, was abused and tortured twice by law enforcement agencies, once in Islamabad (capital of Pakistan) and once in Karachi (capital of Sindh province). After Chief Justice Mr. Iftekhar Choudhary was summoned to Army House to appear before President General Musharraf, he was held in detention for five hours on March 9, 2007, where he went through severe mental torture, while five Generals were threatening and pressurizing him to resign. Subsequently, his case (Reference) was referred to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on March 13, 2007, by President General Musharraf. He was taken into custody by the Islamabad police as he was appearing before court and he was manhandled. He was slapped, he was snatched by his hair and thrown brutally into a police van before several people.

Torture in custody is very widespread in Pakistan, as it is held that by means of torture the writ of the state/government is sought to be maintained. Reported torture cases increased from the number of 1000 in the year 2005 to a number of 1319 in the year 2006. This figure only involves the cases reported, whereas there are several additional cases that remain unrevealed due to the victims’ fear. During the first half of 2007, the practice of torture in custody was getting worse as several lawyers and journalists were also exposed to severe torture by police and army intelligence agencies.

Pakistan is enjoying its second year as the member of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council and not one member of the Human Rights Council has objected to the Pakistani membership so far, despite its evidently culpable record of human rights violations, particularly despite its continuously increasing degree of torture in custody. The court proceedings made it obvious that Intelligence Agencies of the armed forces of Pakistan are involved in practicing torture in their camps even in the major cities. In addition to that, several hundreds of people have disappeared following their arrests, and most of them were severely tortured by law enforcement agencies. Ordinary people were arrested on charges of being “terrorists” and consequently disappeared, which has become a common phenomenon after 9/11. Those who somehow managed to get away from the torture camps of armed forces gave their testimonies before courts regarding the way they were tortured and threatened by military personnel during their captivity. These people confirmed that they were threatened by the military to be killed in case they had revealed any details of their captivity. Some have been indeed killed and some have disappeared.

Case of castration

A 24 year old man, Mr. Hazoor Buksh Malik, who is a cook by profession, was arrested on charges of not keeping national identity card with him. Subsequently he was ruthlessly tortured in police custody at the Market police station in Larkana, Sindh province, in order to make him pay an  enormous amount as a precondition for his release. On  January 26,2007, four police officers including the station’s head officer (SHO) Mr. Muhammad Khan Tunio, approached the man in custody along with his three staff in an obviously drunken state and cut off the victim’s penis by a broken tea cup. It did take a long time to file a case of torture and attempted murder against the perpetrators. However the perpetrators have still not been arrested as they are enjoying the protection of the federal minister for anti narcotics. The minister indeed constitutes the major hindrance in providing adequate medical treatment to the affected victim. His bleeding has not stopped for 5 months, and as a consequence of his deteriorated health condition, the victim has no means of earnings to support himself. Please go to our website; and see the AHRC’s urgent appeals UA-032-2007, UP-021-2007, UP-045-2007, AHRC-OL-012-2007, AS-034-2007.

Police allegedly poisoned a young man through anus

Mr. Mohammad Ali Mallah is a 25-year-old man who was arrested along with his younger brother Mr. Waheed Mallah by the Pir Jo Goth police, Khaipur city, Sindh province, on suspicion of being allegedly involved in the stealing of a motorcycle on 12 January 2007. The police action was based on a complaint lodged by Mr. Qadeer Memon the Nazim of Union Council No. 1 in Kingri town, against four alleged perpetrators of the motorcycle theft case including these two brothers .Later on 19 January, he withdrew the case against the above mentioned brothers as it was an obvious misunderstanding to accuse them with the crime.

Regardless of that, Mr. Abdul Sami Veser, the Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) in-charge of the Pir Jo Goth police station, refused to release the two men unless they paid him Rs. 50,000 (USD 833). As a means to extort the demanded sum and to be able to fabricate false charges against them, the ASI started torturing Mr. Mohammad Ali Mallah and his brother Mr. Waheed Mallah in the police lock-up and forced them to confess to the theft of the motorcycle.

On the night of January 24 and during the early hours of January 25, Mr. Mohammad Ali Mallah was severely tortured by the ASI. During the torture  police had him hanging from the ceiling while he was brutally beaten. After that he was hung up upside down and was continued to be tortured. This dreadful method of torture was repeated on and on. It is alleged that the above mentioned ASI forced the victim to drink lime and also forced the liquid into his anus.  Mr. Mohammad Ali Mallah, was transported to the Civil Hospital of Khairpur District in an unconscious condition with his hands still cuffed during the early hours of 25th January. He remained unconscious for four days. This incident was reported by various local newspapers and people of the neighbourhood protested strongly against this blatant police brutality of an innocent young man.

Followingly the high officials of Sindh police pressured the victim and his family to withdraw the part of his statement detailing how lime water was poured into his anus, otherwise the entire family was threatened to face serious consequences, even including the women of his family. Accordingly the family was forced to take back their statement. Please go to the AHRC website; see urgent appeal UA-038-2007: PAKISTAN: Police allegedly poisoned a young man through anus.

Man tortured to death in jail

A young man Mr. Ali Nawaz Khan was allegedly tortured to death on 3 February 2007, in the Malir central jail in Karachi, Sindh Province, Pakistan. He was possibly tortured as a consequence of failing to bribe the jail officers. The victim and his two other friends had been previously illegally arrested by the Gadap police with the aim of extracting money. They were later charged in a forged case after failing to pay the demanded bribe money. It is also reported that the day before the victim’s death, his family was allegedly threatened by the jail officers, that unless they pay the required bribe, they would receive the dead body of the victim. While the victim’s death was attributed to kidney failure by the official doctors, the family found numerous torture marks all over the victim’s body. Shockingly, despite the promise of the Sindh provincial government to suspend the Superintendent of the jail (main suspect) being responsible for the victim’s death, he was in fact awarded a new position in the Ministry of Interior of Sindh provincial government, and was transferred to another city for his new job. Please see AHRC urgent appeal. Please see UA-046-2007: PAKISTAN: Three men allegedly tortured by the police; one man tortured to death in jail.

Testimonies of persons who were recovered after disappearance by the military.

Disappearances after arrests by the law enforcement agencies particularly by the military intelligence agencies, is another big issue of the country. Since 2001, after the military operations in Balochistan province, the Baloch nationalist were main target of disappearances. In NWFP province, after 9/11 of 2001, people are on the charges of terrorism and they simply disappeared, sometimes their tortured bodies were found in nearby places of their neighborhoods. More than 4000 people are disappeared. Those who were released after their incommunicado position they told that they were severely tortured and they saw so many people in the military camps in different cities of Pakistan.

1- Mr. Abid Raza Zaidi (aged 23),  a PhD student of University of Karachi has been missing since he was arrested by the elite force, the special force on terrorism, on 4 October 2006 in Lahore, the capital city of Punjab province, Pakistan. To this date he has not been produced before any court of law. This is his second arrest by the special force. Before his arrest and his subsequent disappearance, Mr. Zaidi attended a two day conference on “disappearances and torture” organised jointly by Amnesty International and a local organization called Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, which was held from 30 September to 1 October 2006 at Islamabad. During the conference he narrated the whole story of his first arrest, his illegal detention and his torture in relation to a bombing case on 11 April 2006 of Nishter Park, Karachi, Sindh province. He was arrested on 26 April 2006 and disappeared along with other 12 persons of the Shia sect of Islam. He was released on 18 August 2006 after being held illegally detained for 110 days in various military torture camps. During this period, he was never produced before any court of law. To learn more about the details of the victim’s first arrest, please see our previous appeal: Please see  UA-171-2006, and UP-191-2006.

2- Mr. Salim Baloch was arrested for the first time on 9 March 2006 and his whereabouts had been unknown until he was released on 14 December 2006. Following his release on December 19 he addressed a press conference at the Karachi Press Club where he gave details on how he was kidnapped and tortured in different military cells by several army personnel. The High Court disposed off his habeas corpus case on the basis that his case was no longer valid due to his prior release. Neither ordered the court an inquiry into his torture and illegal detention conducted by the army, nor did it take the required subsequent actions to locate the other disappeared persons, who still remained detained in the military torture cells of Rawal Pindi. To see details of this matter, please see UA-413-2006, and UP-001-2007

Following his statement before court he was again arrested on 31 December 2006, when representatives of the secret agencies allegedly approached Mr. Salim Baloch with a red Toyota Corolla vehicle without registration number plate. After that they forced him into the vehicle and shortly he was transferred into a white coloured Vtx Cultus with the registration number of 7389 at around 6:30am. His whereabouts are still unknown. His eyes were damaged by torture and he was not able to walk for more than 5 minutes.

Methods of torture in custody:

In order to obtain information, forced confession and/or money from the detainees Police routinely resorts to the use of various methods of torture. Below here are some of the methods of torture commonly applied by police against detainees in custody:

– Beating or kicking the prisoner with bare hands or with wooden sticks called “danda”;
– Beating the prisoner using a piece of reinforced leather called “chittar”;
– Causing burn injuries with cigarette buts; 
– Verbally abusing the victim using filthy language; 
– Forcing the victim to lie on ice blocks while someone is standing on top of them

These are only some of the methods applied by  Police. What is more, the military usually uses much more severe methods of torture, for example:

– They force detainees to remove all their clothing and they make them to dance naked before the officers for several hours; 
– detainees are forced to do push-ups the whole night; 
– They are hung from the roof ; 
– They force detainees’ head under water for extremely long durations 
– They put rats in detainees’ pants or pyjamas;
– They force detainees to listen to audio and video recordings of screaming of tortured victims on full volume
– They beat detainees with iron rods;
– They keep detainees blind-folded for several days; 
– They stitch-up the lips of detainees;
– They do not allow detainees to go to the toilet;
– They apply excessive ways of beating and the use of abusive language.


These are some cases which indicate how law enforcement agencies including police violate the constitution, the legislations and all international norms. According to Article 14 of the Pakistani Constitution, sub article (a) it states that,
“No person shall be subjected to torture for the purpose of extracting evidences.” 
Furthermore, Pakistan is a signatory to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in which 
Article 5 states that, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Nonetheless by being a member of the Human Rights Council of UN, Pakistan the military government of Pakistan believes that it can enjoy impunity from the international community and can freely continue on with the violation of the human rights of its citizens.
Regrettably, Pakistan has failed to sign any of the major human rights covenants or protocols of the United Nations including Covenant against Torture (CAT ). It only signed CEDAW. 
Therefore we request the United Nations to withdraw the membership of Pakistan on the above detailed grounds or to put pressure on the government of Pakistan to at least sign ICCPR, CAT and the other significant international protocols.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AS-137-2007
Countries : Pakistan,
Issues : Torture,