Human Rights Watch (HRW) has asked Pakistan’s parliament to “urgently pass a bill” making torture a crime across Pakistan.
On Wednesday, in a statement posted to its website, HRW also argued that Pakistan’s sedition law is “vague and overbroad and has often been used against political opponents”.
The statement from HRW came days after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) claimed that Shahbaz Gill, who is being held on accusations of sedition, had been subjected to physical and psychological abuse by security personnel.
Additionally, HRW asks the government to launch an immediate, independent, and transparent investigation into Shahbaz Gill’s alleged acts of torture.
Asia Advocacy Director at HRW John Sifton said, “The first step to ending Pakistan’s endemic torture problem is to criminalize it.”
He added. “Justice and accountability in cases of torture will only be possible if parliament passes the torture bill and the government enforces the law by carrying out transparent and impartial investigations into torture allegations.”
Sifton further stated, “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 are held accountable.”
According to HRW, Pakistan is a signatory to international human rights agreements that forbid the use of torture and other cruel treatment and require signatories to make such behaviour a crime.