LAHORE -Alarming trends regarding torture in custody were witnessed where more than 57 per cent of the accused in Pakistan say they were tortured during investigation while 51 per cent said that their families bribed police to ensure safety during detention, a study carried out by Democratic Commission for Human Development (DCHD) revealed.

The figures shared at a press conference at Lahore Press Club on Tuesday read: “Despite clear court verdicts 44 per cent of the women accused were made to stay overnight at the police station.”  The DCHD, on the eve of international day against torture, along with Institute for Peace and Secular Studies and FC College announced to launch national campaign against torture which would run for two years. The campaign is being run in collaboration with Foundation Open Society Institute Pakistan (FOSIP).

Addressing the press conference, DCHD ED Tanveer Jahan said that there was a dire need for the criminal justice system in Pakistan to be made compatible with international standards. Rights activist Wajahat Masood said the study found that all main pillars of the criminal justice system in Pakistan – prosecution, police, judiciary and prison - were found lacking in their duty towards state and the society.

“As many as 51 per cent of the accused were formally arrested after 10 days of detention and in vast majority of the cases magistrates remanded the accused without looking at the records and 81 per cent of the accused were not asked by magistrate on torture. 92 per cent of the accused were not medically examined after the remand.”

It was announced that the national campaign against torture would envisage an elaborate plan to raise awareness against torture.

Maryam Arif who conducted this research gave a short briefing on her report. Rabia Chaudhry Centre for Public Policy and Governance at FC College also shared the findings of her own report on torture – custodial torture and human rights: designing a policy framework for Pakistan - with the media. Abid Saqi Bhatti, President Lahore High Court Bar and Peter Jacob, executive secretary National Commission for Justice and Peace also shared their views on state of torture in custody in Pakistan.