Activists rally in Lahore calling for a stop to torture and extrajudicial killings
by Shafique Khokhar

The Rwadari Tehreek movement held a rally after people die in custody and in fake clashes with police. Anyone responsible for such serious abuse must be brought to justice and tried “in line with international standards,” said Samson Salamat, the movement’s chairman.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - The Rwadari Tehreek movement held a protest yesterday in front of the Lahore Press Club to get the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the prime minister, provincial governors and police chiefs of Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh to take concrete action to stop police torture, extrajudicial killings and custodial deaths.

The protest drew people from different walks of life who chanted slogans referring to some recent events such as the murder of Irfan Jatoi in a fake shootout with police in Sukkur, the custodial death of seventh-class student, Jehanzeb, in Peshawar, and the killing of two people in another fake encounter with police in Kanha Nau, Lahore.

Protesters want a judicial inquiry to investigate all these police operations, along with tough action against those responsible.

“We are extremely concerned over the numerous allegations of extrajudicial killings and custodial deaths,” said Samson Salamat, chairman of Rwadari Tehreek, speaking at the rally.

“Extra-judicial killings are typically the end-point of a string of human rights abuses and are a violation of domestic and international human rights law.”

For this reason, “we urge the federal and provincial governments and relevant departments to take immediate steps to put a halt to the repeated use of the process of abduction or arbitrary arrest, torture and extra-judicial killings and also ensure that the use of fake encounter killings is halted.’

Salamat goes on to say that “The most effective way to stop these unlawful acts is to ensure the effective investigation of all allegations of extra-judicial killings through judicial commissions”.

What is more, “any persons allegedly responsible for such grave human rights abuses must be brought before a civilian court and given a trial in line with international standards and during this process witness protection and adequate reparation must be guaranteed.”

Rwadari Tehreek’s chairman noted that the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees all citizens the right to a fair trial, through independent and transparent procedures.

At the same time, no individual, institution or department is above the law and everyone is bound to follow the constitution and laws while performing their duties.

Other human rights activists addressed protesters, including Saeeda Diep, Abida Chaudhary of Awami Workers Party, and Muzamil kakar, chairman of the Pashtoon Education Development Movement.