The 1973 Constitution of Pakistan (as amended) decrees that "no action detrimental to the life, liberty, body, reputation or property of any person shall be taken except in accordance with law"Art. 4(2), 1973 Constitution of Pakistan (as amended).and that no person "shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law".Art. 9, 1973 Constitution of Pakistan (as amended).Further, under Article 14 of the Constitution:
(1) The dignity of man and, subject to law, the privacy of home, shall be inviolable.
(2) No person shall be subjected to torture for the purpose of extracting evidence.
Article 16 grants every citizen the right "to assemble peacefully and without arms, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of public order".
According to Article 233, however, when a Proclamation of Emergency is in force, the President may, by Order, declare that the right to move any Court for the enforcement of fundamental rights "shall remain suspended for the period during which the Proclamation is in force, and any such Order may be made in respect of the whole or any part of Pakistan."
|1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||State Party|
|ICCPR Optional Protocol 1||Not party|
|1984 Convention against Torture (CAT)||State Party|
|Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints||No|
|CAT Optional Protocol 1||Not party|
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
There is no regional Asian human rights treaty to which Pakistan could become party.
Police Use of Force
Under the 1898 Code of Criminal Procedure, if a person "forcibly resists the endeavour to arrest him, or attempts to evade the arrest, such police officer or other person may use all means necessary to effect the arrest." It is also provided, however, that this does not grant "a right to cause the death of a person who is not accused of an offence punishable with death or with [imprisonment for life]."S. 46, 1898 Code of Criminal Procedure.Section 50 of the 1898 Code prohibits an arrested person from being subjected "to more restraint than is necessary to prevent his escape."
With respect to assemblies, Section 128 allows force to be used to disperse an assembly. This may extend to the use of firearms "under the specific directions of an officer of the police not below the rank of an Assistant Superintendent or Deputy Superintendent of Police". Such a police officer may also call on the armed forces to disperse the assembly.S. 129, 1898 Code of Criminal Procedure.
Use of Force in Custodial Settings
Section 53 of the 1894 Prisons Act explicitly allows whipping of prisoners, including on children under sixteen years of age, as set out below:
(1) No punishment of whipping shall be inflicted in installments, or except in the presence of the Superintendent and Medical Officer or Medical Subordinate.
(2) Whipping shall be inflicted with a light ratan not less than half an inch in diameter on the buttocks, and in case of prisoners under the age of sixteen it shall be inflicted, in the way of school discipline, with a lighter ratan.
The 2002 Police Order establishes a hierarchy of bodies which are supposed to oversee the functioning of police forces in Pakistan. There are four levels in the hierarchy, beginning with the District Public Safety Commission, the Capital City Public Safety Commission, followed by the Provincial Public Safety Commission, and headed by the National Public Safety Commission. These institutions are, though, believed to be barely functional and to exist largely on paper.
At national level, the Federal and Provincial Police Complaints Authority, established under the 2002 Police Order, conducts enquiries into serious complaints against the members of federal law enforcement agencies.
Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies
In its 2017 Concluding Observations on Pakistan, the Human Rights Committee called on Pakistan to
criminalize enforced disappearance and put an end to the practice of enforced disappearance and secret detention. ... It should also ensure that all allegations of enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings are promptly and thoroughly investigated; all perpetrators are prosecuted and punished, with penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crimes; families of disappeared persons and their lawyers and witnesses are protected; and a mechanism is put in place for full and prompt reparation for victims and their families. It should further strengthen the authority and the capacity (financial and personnel) of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances so that the latter can function effectively.
In Concluding Observations issued the same year, the Committee against Torture condemned acts of torture by military and paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies and recommended that Pakistan should:
(a) Take all necessary measures to ensure that all allegations of torture or ill-treatment are promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigated by a fully independent civilian body, that perpetrators are duly prosecuted and, if found guilty, convicted with penalties that are commensurate with the grave nature of their crimes;
(b) Amend the Actions (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation and the 2015 amendment to the Army Act to eliminate retrospective immunity and clarify that anyone committing acts of torture, or otherwise complicit, acquiescent or participating in torture, will be subject to criminal prosecution and upon conviction, appropriate penalties;
(c) Ensure that military personnel are tried in civil courts for acts of torture and similar offences;
(d) End the State party’s use of paramilitary forces to carry out law enforcement tasks and ensure that complaints of torture made against members of such forces are investigated and prosecuted.
There is no regional human rights court with jurisdiction to review police use of force in Pakistan.
Human Rights Case No.19526-G (2013)
In this case, the Supreme Court noted that a
heavy responsibility lies upon the law enforcing agencies, particularly, police to ensure that life and property of the people in terms of Article 9 of the Constitution is protected by them but we are constrained to observe that in our country police is not fulfilling its commitments efficiently, as a result whereof, law & order situation, all over the country, is worsening day-by-day. There could be acceptable reasons, on account of which the forces including the police, with other duties, maintain peace in society and bring the culprits to book without being influenced from anyone because once the accused is involved in an offence, he and his near ones try their best to ensure that he is saved from the clutches of law.