Rights watchdog seeks probe into custodial torture of Pakistan ex-PM’s aide
Islamabad, Aug 24 (EFE).- Human Rights Watch on Wednesday urged Pakistan to probe the alleged custodial torture of former prime minister Imran Khan’s close aide, who faces sedition charges.
The ousted prime minister has alleged that the aide, Shahbaz Gill, was tortured, calling his arrest an abduction.
“An immediate, independent, and transparent investigation into the allegations should be conducted,” HRW urged the Pakistan government.
Gill was arrested on Aug.9 on charges of sedition and inciting mutiny after he said on a TV debate that junior military officers should not follow orders that are against public opinion.
The New York-based rights group urged the upper house of the parliament to pass a bill that makes torture a criminal offense.
The lower house or the National Assembly has cleared the proposed legislation.
It is now with a parliamentary panel before being tabled in the Senate in the upcoming session later this month.
The group said Pakistan is a party to core international human rights treaties that prohibit the use of torture and other ill-treatment and mandate parties to the treaty to criminalize it.
“The first step to ending Pakistan’s endemic torture problem is to criminalize it,” said HRW Asia advocacy director John Sifton.
HRW said Pakistan’s sedition law was “vague and overbroad and has often been used against political opponents.”
The nonprofit said it had long documented the widespread use of torture and other ill-treatment by the Pakistani police during criminal investigations.
“By passing the torture bill, Pakistan will start a long-overdue process of reform to ensure that future allegations of torture are transparently investigated and that those responsible held accountable,” Sifton said. EFE