Deaths in police custody are not a new phenomenon in Pakistan. However, most of the times, the police get away with such deaths. Just days after the news of a private torture cell of a police official in Lahore, a mentally challenged man succumbed to the police torture in Rahim Yar Khan. These two incidents are more speak volumes about how police treat people whenever wherever they apprehend them. Many people before Salahuddin died in suspicious custodial deaths. And almost all these custodial deaths have gone unreported. But it seems that technology is on people’s side. The latest footage of the Shaikh Zayed Medical College Hospital exposes the cruel culture of police brutality, as it shows that Salahuddin was brought to the hospital dead.

Will the truth ever be found? The contradiction in official reports, i.e., police and autopsy claim no torture, whereas videos, pictures and the rest prove otherwise. It seems that things will go on as they are. The suspicious death has infuriated people. And it is this anger that the Punjab government has requested a judicial inquiry into the custodial death of Salahuddin. However, the fact that the authorities have only suspended the accused from the service makes one doubt if the police will ever cooperate in serving justice to the victim and his family.

That said, it is high time for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government to focus on the uphill task of reforming Punjab police. However, before doing anything else, the state needs to introduce domestic laws that criminalise torture. Though, Pakistan’s Constitution does prohibit the use of torture; however, the lack of accountability allows the police to rely on torture for investigating and extracting evidence. It is sad to mention that police in Pakistan has gone desensitised. The urgency of now requires lecturing police on fundamental rights that the Constitution of Pakistan grants to the people. The state needs to give this suggestion serious thinking.