12/9/2016 11:18:45 AM
A Heinous Crime (Courtesy by Nation)
Posted on: 5/5/2016 1
A Heinous Crime
As the ghastly images of the deceased MQM worker Aftab Ahmed made the rounds on Tuesday – revealing gruesome burns, bruises, lacerations and even pulled toenails – one fact was clear; the Rangers tortured him and did so mercilessly.
On Tuesday night, Director General (DG) Rangers Major General Bilal Akber accepted that the deceased MQM worker was tortured by Rangers in custody and vowed that strict action will be taken against those responsible for misconduct.
On Wednesday, the COAS joined in the chorus and promised accountability.
Yet the crucial fact here is; this is not the first time that the Police and Rangers have employed torture, it is the first time they have been exposed so badly.
Whether he died of a heart attack or of being tortured beyond his body’s limits is immaterial; the fact that he was tortured is the key factor.
The 90-day preventive custody under terrorism laws was misused and national and international laws on the prevention of torture were broken.
While the COAS and the Rangers will try to portray this as a one-off event carried out by rouge officers, the fact is that the torture of such a high-profile person – he was the aide of senior MQM leader Farooq Sattar – could not have been carried out without the knowledge of the top brass.
The dismissal of a few unnamed officials is not enough – torture is a serious crime, they must be named, shamed and put behind bars.
Just because they are in the military does not give them immunity.
If Aftab Ahmed had been tortured in Punjab police custody the opposition would be frothing at the mouth to receive Shahbaz Sharif’s resignation – as it did with the Model town incident.
It would be appropriate too then for Bilal Akber to tender his resignation too.
Is the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) an unpopular party on the national level; yes it is.
Does it have links to the criminal underworld of Karachi; several cases prove that it has.
Are the military establishment and the government actively trying to discredit its leader, Altaf Hussain; they certainly are.
But – does this mean that the authorities can use whatever means they want to achieve their ends? The answer is a resounding no.
Many have argued that that the ‘get Altaf’ campaign is overzealous and basic laws and rights are being trampled in the process – and they are right.
Coverage of Altaf’s speeches is banned – an infringement of freedom of speech, the government sporadically releases ‘confessions’ of criminals from jail cells – which are not only illegal but destroy the right to a free trial.
Unsubstantiated and suspiciously similar accounts of the party’s links with RAW are propagated on the media – stuff that is the basis of libel and slander suits.
These actions toe the line and sometimes even cross it, but torture is another ballgame altogether.