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ISLAMABAD: The members of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights raised an objection on the medical board about the alleged custodial torture of Senator Azam Khan Swati and asked why forensic experts and psychologists were not included in it.

The Medical Director of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), Prof Dr Syed Hashim Raza, informed the committee that he was ordered to constitute a medical board within five minutes and he constituted it in the given time.

The committee met with Senator Walid Iqbal in the chair at the Parliament House on Monday. The committee discussed the issues relating to the custodial torture of Senator Azam Swati; and the custodial torture of two juvenile boys at Karachi Company Police Station, Islamabad.

While discussing the allegations levelled by Senator Swati, the Medical Director of Pims told the Committee that Senator Swati was brought to the hospital, Sunday evening for a check-up but he was not informed about it.

Senator Dr Muhammad Humayun Mohmand said, “Medical board was constituted under the pressure of institutions. The medical director was given five minutes for constituting a medical board. There is a need to change the mind-set. Today, the institutes are following the practices of the British Empire. We are not free even today and we are following the laws of 1865 and 1965 in the 21st century. It is a shame for us. It is not justified.”

He said that 13 to 14 FIRs were registered against Senator Azam Swati.

Dr Asfandyar Khan, Assistant Professor Orthopaedic Surgery-Member of Pims said, “the medical board examined Azam Swati and submitted a report before the remand and he was not checked up after the remand.”

The official of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) told the committee that only one FIR was registered against Senator Swati. He said that he did not know about the other FIRs registered against Senator Swati.

Committee Chairman Senator Walid Iqbal said, “Azam Swati told that he was tortured in custody which is against the dignity of man.”

The committee deferred the matter of allegations levelled by Senator Swati regarding custodial torture inflicted on him while in the custody of the FIA with directions that the matter will be taken up in presence of the senator who is presently under arrest.

Earlier, the Human Rights Committee considered the petition received from Imaan Zainub and former Senator Farhatullah Babar regarding custodial torture inflicted upon two minor boys by the SHO of G-9 Police Station on 7-10-2022 while being in unconstitutional and illegal police detention.

The chairman committee said that although the matter is sub judice in the court; however, the committee will listen to the grievances of the petitioner in order to give policy guidelines for institutional reforms and curbing such cases.

The committee, while ruminating in detail the custodial torture, reviewed the recommendations proposed by the National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC).

The committee members, along with the NCRC, the FIA, and the police department presented their suggestions and proposals to eliminate the violation of basic human rights.

The NCRC chairperson urged the Senate committee to review the inquiry report of the National Commission on the Rights of Child and give directions on behalf of the Senate committee to comply with the findings, recommendations and reforms in the report in particular with the IG office and direct for implementation. She said that the recommendations are made to empower the Human Rights Ministry and enforce and deliver laws in a more robust manner.

The committee also endorsed the recommendations made by the NCRC.

The committee asked the Ministry of Interior and the Provincial Home Departments for notification of the rules of Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018 at the Federal and the Provincial levels for full implementation of the law.

The meeting was attended by senators, Falak Naz, Prof Dr Mehr Taj Roghani, Dr Mohammad Humayun Mohmand, Seemee Ezdi, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Abida Muhammad Azeem, Muhammad Tahir Bizinjo, Irfanul Haq Siddiqui, and former senator Farhatullah Babar.

Senior officers from the Ministry of Human Rights, the Ministry of Interior, the FIA, the Police Departments, chairperson NCRC, and doctors of the Medical Board constituted by the Director Pims Hospital were also in attendance.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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