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HRCP condemns police brutality, loss of life in Lahore action

Lahore:

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly condemned the police action at the Tahirul Qadri Secretariat on Tuesday, in which eight people were killed, and at least 90 injured.

In a statement, the Commission said: “HRCP condemns in the strongest words possible the unfortunate events on Tuesday in which eight people, including two women, were killed at the Tahirul Qadri Secretariat when the administration reportedly tried to remove some barriers from roads around the place.

“HRCP condoles with the bereaved families and finds it difficult to accept that the fatalities occurred in an exercise aimed at removing encroachments alone. The barriers had been there for a number of years and removing them on the eve of Tahirul Qadri’s arrival in Pakistan has led many to conclude that the move was politically motivated.

This is not the first incident that lack of police training or their inclination for crowd control without violence has been badly exposed. It is not likely to be the last. In fact, Tuesday’s incident makes it abundantly clear that there are no bounds to police brutality in action against political rivals of the parties in power.

The government’s case has suffered from confusion and lack of clarity about the purpose of the raid. The incident has certainly diluted the political government’s reputation and its ability to deal with agitated crowds. HRCP must stress that whatever the nature of the offensive launched by Mr Qadri, it is necessary to avoid resort to violence.

An inquiry has been launched into the sanguinary incident. It must fix responsibility without fear or favour and, unlike the past practice, its findings must be made public. The probe must be exhaustive enough to determine if resort to force was necessary and proportionate to any threat that government functionaries faced. The inquiry must also look at whether individuals should be allowed to take the law into their hands in any scenario, including on religious pretext or as reformers of political scenarios.

HRCP cannot emphasise enough that this most tragic event must not be politicised, and must not be used as an opportunity to engage in the politics of dead bodies. The media must also remain mindful of that.”

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