ISLAMABAD, Sept 1: Aiming to raise awareness and sensitise the media in regard to the use of torture by police officials, civil society organizations and human rights activists constituted the National Committee Against Torture (NCAT), made up of 24 journalists from 11 different cities.
The committee was formed following a two-day training workshop of the selected journalists entitled “Sensitizing Media on the Issue of Torture”, which was organised by Individualland (IL) Pakistan in partnership with the Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI). Prior to this, the organizations conducted the training of journalists from Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Lahore, Gujranwala, Multan, Faisalabad Peshawar, Mardan, Quetta and Pishin as the first phase of the project.
The objective of the initiative is to sensitise the media on the subject of torture and to help eradicate the practice of torture from the state structure. The training focused on the criminal justice system, understandings of legal and human rights activists on the subject of torture.
The two-day workshop also created the Provincial Committee Against Torture (PACT) in each province, made up of at least five members each. These committees will be responsible for reporting cases of torture, as well as raising awareness and sensitisation.
The committees are to meet each month to discuss their progress and plan of action. They will also report their progress and documented incidents of torture to the NCAT facilitation desk in Islamabad at Individualland's Office.
The workshop selected Irshad Mastoi from Quetta as National Coordinator and Jaffar Mohmand from Hyderabad as Deputy National Coordinator.