The Constitution of Pakistan guarantees the right to fair trial (Article 10A) and preservation of human dignity (Article 14) but unfortunately NCHR-Pakistan the State rights protecting body noticed that right to fair trail and dignity of man has been compromised in process of NAB investigation.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has come under criticism for its alleged inhumane and degrading treatment of the accused persons. There have been frequent complaints of the physical and psychological torture inflicted upon the accused by the NAB officials. The growing number of accusations of alleged human rights abuses have raised questions about respect for human rights, the legitimacy of the investigation procedures employed by NAB and the professionalism of its officials.
Former vice chancellor of Punjab University Prof. Mujahid Kamran who has hand-cuffed and taken to custody, had alleged that there were CCTV cameras in the washrooms of NAB’s lock-up. Later former professor of Sargodha University’s sub-campus Professor Mian Javed died in NAB’s custody. Shortly after that, a former senior official of the University of Sargodha (UoS) died while in custody of NAB.
Most recently, a retired army official Brigadier Asad Munir who was being investigated by the NAB for alleged corruption, committed suicide and left a dejected suicide note which described the humiliation he faced by the NAB officials as the reason. Many of the accused who are being investigated complain of the inhumane, degrading and unprofessional behavior of the NAB officials.
After the death of a professor in NAB’s custody and the allegations about CCTV cameras in lock-ups had surfaced, the NCHR requested NAB to let NCHR team visit the NAB lock-up in order to ascertain the situation under the Section 9 © of the NCHR Act 2012. The request however was not entertained.
We appreciate NAB efforts to check corruption but however, the anti-corruption drive by the NAB has been riddled with allegations of mistreatment and humiliation of the accused which is a clear violation of the rights guaranteed in the Constitution as well as Pakistan’s international human rights commitments.
The NCHR is concerned at the chain of events and has decided to hold a consultation on 22nd March, 2019 (Friday) at NCHR-Pakistan Head office, Islamabad at 3:00 PM, to discuss whether the NAB has overstepped its boundaries and how the absence of anti-torture laws gives impunity to the authorities. The consultation will bring together the experts, members of legal community and academics to discuss this matter of serious importance and how this matter needs to addressed so that dignity of a human being and his constitutional rights are not compromised in the course of NAB investigation. This is invitation to all stakeholders who want to take part in this consultation on mentioned date.