HRCP concerned at Sargodha teacher’s death in prison

Updated 23 Dec 2018

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Mian Javed Ahmed died in judicial custody in Lahore District Jail on Friday. — File
Mian Javed Ahmed died in judicial custody in Lahore District Jail on Friday. — File

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) says it is gravely concerned at the way people’s fundamental right to dignity is being eroded, ostensibly in the name of accountability.

In a statement on Saturday, HRCP has expressed serious concern at the fact that a professor at the University of Sargodha, Mian Javed Ahmed, died in judicial custody in Lahore District Jail on Friday and he was reportedly in handcuffs even after death. That such photographs commonly go viral on social media networking sites as a matter of sensation rather than news is a question of ethics per se, but this does not detract from the facts of the case.

“The innocence or guilt of those taken into custody by state institutions such as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) needs to be established under the law and with strict and transparent regard for due process. Hyper-accountability – especially when accompanied by the sort of social signals sent by the image of a dead man in handcuffs or, earlier, a university professor brought to the court in chains – will not make for a more honest society.

“Similarly, using the Exit Control List as an arbitrary tool to harass elected parliamentarians and those perceived as political dissenters will not make for a stronger society – or one more able to withstand honest criticism. HRCP urges the state to keep in view the principle that the right to dignity is an inalienable right, and that the tools and procedures available to maintain the rule or law be used justly and transparently,” it said.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2018