The Anti-torture Alliance Pakistan (ATA-Pk) and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on Tuesday condemned the torturous murder of a schoolteacher by the Chenab Nagar Police a few days ago.
They called for a judicial inquiry into the murder.
According to details, the Chenab Nagar Police detained and tortured to death Abdul Qudoos Ahmad, a schoolteacher and president of the Nusratabad chapter of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. Ahmad (43) was taken into custody by the police on February 10 and was kept in a private torture cell until March 26. He remained in police custody for 35 days without any charges being laid against him and was not officially arrested. He was forced to confess to the murder of Muhammad Yousuf, a stamp-paper seller from Nusratabad. The man was murdered a few months ago. Chenab Nagar Police Station House Officer (SHO) Khadim Hussain registered a case against sub-inspectors, Shujaat Ali and Manazar Ali, under sections 302, 148, 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code. In this manner, impunity was assured to the real culprits, including the SHO and other officials. The Punjab government has not yet started investigation into the incident of arbitrary detention, torture and misuse of police power. In a joint press statement, ATA-Pk members, Bushra Khaliq, Munawar Ali Shahid, Salman Abid and Samson Salamat, said the religious minorities – already a victim of social and institutional marginalisation – had become a soft target of police torture and killings. Bushra said Ahmad’s brutal murder revealed that the police officials were not only taking advantage of the discriminatory and socially weak status of this small community, but were also enjoying impunity. She demanded that the government start a judicial inquiry into the murder and bring the perpetrators to justice. Shahid said that protecting the citizens’ constitutional and legal rights was state’s responsibility, adding that state had failed in this regard. He also said it was time to take necessary measures to assure all citizens, particularly the non-Muslims, of their social, economic, legal and constitutional rights.
Salamat and Abid said state’s attitude towards religious minorities had been regretfully indifferent, adding that it avoided taking serious steps to stop the inhuman treatment, socio-economic segregation and persecution of the minorities.