Serious allegations

By Editor Oct31,2022 #DG ISI

Editorial–SENATOR Azam Khan Swati’s allegations against two senior officers working for the nation’s top intelligence agency are very serious and require clarification from the military top brass. Mr Swati was taken into custody by the FIA earlier this month after he posted a controversial tweet critical of the military leadership.

On Friday, the PTI senator named names, claiming he was physically tortured by two senior ISI officials. The interior minister, however, denies Mr Swati’s charges, saying the lawmaker was treated “respectably” during custody. Moreover, PTI supremo Imran Khan also took up the issue as he launched his ‘long march’ from Lahore, saying that the two intel officers Mr Swati had identified should be removed.

To bring clarity to the matter, a thorough probe is needed. After all, when the ISI chief made an unprecedented appearance in front of the media on Thursday, he repeatedly made references to the law and the Constitution. Therefore, when such serious allegations are being made against national institutions, the only way to resolve this issue is through transparency and pledging to respect the law.

Also read: Azam Swati names military officials behind ‘custodial torture’

State institutions are guardians of the law and need to lead by example. The fact is that in Pakistan, from the local thana to the ‘safe houses’ of the security establishment, torture and violence during custody are not unknown practices. While ordinary folk are meted out this abhorrent treatment quite frequently, when lawmakers and other members of the elite are subjected to torture in custody, it becomes headline news.

Perhaps keeping in mind this grim reality, the Senate has recently passed a bill criminalising torture in custody. To ensure the rule of law, it is imperative that all security institutions, including the police and intelligence apparatus, pledge to eliminate torture as part of their SOPs. The Azam Swati incident can be a test case; let the authorities investigate and if his claims are proven true, then those responsible must be made to answer before the law.

October 31, 2022


By Editor

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