ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights on Thursday unanimously condemned the alleged custodial torture of Senator Mohammad Azam Khan Swati, while he was being held by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Islamabad.

The committee declared his detention illegal and in violation of the dignity of any man let alone a parliamentarian.

The Senate standing committee on Human Rights met in emergency under chairmanship of Senator Walid Iqbal at the Parliament House to consider the allegations of custodial torture leveled by Senator Azam Khan Swati while being held by FIA at Islamabad.

The committee unanimously recommended and called upon the Senate chairman to issue a production order enabling Senator Azam Khan Swati to attend the current Senate session. The committee also unanimously decided to direct the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) to visit Senator Azam Khan Swati in Adiala jail and record his statement to ascertain the alleged custodial torture while being held by FIA in Islamabad. NCHR was directed to report to the committee with its findings.

The Senate committee observed that the medical report prepared by a medical board comprising doctors from Pakistan Institute of Medical Scineces (Pims) hospital was inadequate, unsatisfactory and tantamount to criminal negligence on the part of the specialists involved.

Senator Dr Mohammad Humayun Khan Mohmand said that as a professional doctor who had also served in the public sector, the medical report was deficient in mentioning external bruises and injuries suffered by a member of the parliament as stated by mr Sawati.

He said that external bruises and injuries as reported by Senator Azam Khan Swati should have been made the part of the report and whether or not these bruises were found after the arrest of the Member of Parliament.

Similarly, Senator Dr Mehr Taj Roghani stated that the constitution of the medical board was inappropriate with regards to the selection of doctors and their fields of specialisation.

NCHR chairperson said physical torture such as claimed in this case required a forensic investigator or specialist and not a doctor to identify physical torture.

The committee unanimously agreed to summon the medical board in its next meeting to give a briefing on its findings in the report with regard to the custodial torture as stated by a sitting Senator.

Earlier in the meeting, the chairman of the committee asked members who had met Senator Azam Khan Swati during his recent court appearances to share with the committee their first-hand information as received from the jailed senator.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2022

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