The Senate Committee on Human Rights on Thursday unanimously condemned alleged custodial torture of Senate Muhammad Azam Khan Swati while being held by the Federal Investigation Agency in Islamabad and declared it to be illegal and in violation of the dignity of any man let alone a Parliamentarian.
The Committee unanimously recommended and called upon the Chairman Senate to issue a production order enabling Senator Azam Khan Swati to attend the current Senate Session. The Committee also unanimously decided to direct the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) to visit Senator Azam Khan Swati in Adiala Jail and record his statement with regards to the alleged custodial torture while being held by FIA in Islamabad and report back to the Committee, and unanimously decided to summon members of the medical board that had examined Senator Azam Khan Swati as the Committee members who happen to be medical doctors found the medical report presented to the Committee to be unsatisfactory.
The Senate Human Rights Committee on Thursday observed that the medical report dated 13-10-2022 prepared by a medical board comprising doctors of PIMS hospital was inadequate, unsatisfactory and tantamount to criminal negligence on the part of the specialists involved since it had missed out on an examination of critical physical aspects involving allegations of custodial torture inflicted on Senator Azam Khan Swati while being held by FIA in Islamabad. Accordingly, the Committee unanimously decided to summon the medical board to give its brief on the findings as submitted in that report.
The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights met today in an emergency meeting under the chairmanship of Senator Walid Iqbal at the Parliament House to consider the allegations of custodial torture levelled by Senator Azam Khan Swati while being held by FIA at Islamabad. Secretary, Ministry of Human Rights, Chairperson National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), Islamabad, Special Secretary, Ministry of Interior, the Additional Director General, FIA, Islamabad, and Directors FIA Cybercrime Wing also attended the meeting.
Senator Dr Mohammad Humayun Khan Mohmand said that being a professional doctor who had also served in the public sector, the medical report was deficient with regards to the external bruises and injuries suffered by a Member Parliament as stated by him while in FIA custody. He said that external bruises and injuries as reported by Senator Azam Khan Swati should have been made the part of report and whether or not these bruises were found after the arrest of the Member of Parliament. Similarly Senator Prof Dr Mehr Taj Roghani stated that the constitution of the medical board was inappropriate with regards to the selection of Doctors and their fields of specialization. Chairperson NCHR said that physical torture such as that claimed in this case requires a forensic investigator or specialist not even a doctor to identify the accuracy of physical torture. The Committee unanimously agreed to summon the medical board in its next meeting to give a briefing on its findings in the report with special regard to the custodial torture as stated by a sitting Senator.
Earlier in the meeting, the Chairman Committee asked all those Committee members who had appened to have met Senator Azam Khan Swati in person during his recent Court appearances to share with the Committee their first-hand information as received from the jailed Senator. Senator Seemi Ezdi, Senator Dr Humayun Mohmand and Senator Shibli Faraz shared their views as heard by them from Senator Azam Khan Swati. All these Committee members presented more or less the same version, that Senator Azam Khan Swati, when recently presented in Court, stood up on a chair to make it visible to the Court that he had suffered bruises on his lower legs, and that he also kept showing one of his index fingers on which he said he had suffered injuries.
Senator Dr Humayun Mohmand apprised the Committee of Senator Azam Khan Swati's statement that he was also sexually tortured, and had requested the Court to take him to the retiring room so he could show the torture inflicted on his private parts. Senator Shibli Faraz informed the Committee of Senator Azam Khan Swati's public statement to the effect that he would have preferred to put a gun to his head and shoot himself rather than suffer the kind of torture that was inflicted upon him while in FIA custody in Islamabad. Senator Tahir Bizinjo, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and Senator Kamran Micheal also condemned the act, with Senator Kamran Michael observing that if the Committee cannot perform its duties in relation to the enforcement of Human Rights such as in the case that has now come to light before it, then the Committee is of no use.
The Committee deferred the matter for further consideration and also anticipated the personal participation of Senator Azam Khan Swati for presentation of his side of the story directly before the Committee whenever he becomes available.
The meeting was attended by Senators Syed Shibli Faraz, Prof. Dr Mehr Taj Roghani, Dr. Mohmammad Humayun Mohmand, Seemi Ezdi, Kamran Micheal, Mushahid Hussain Sayed and Muhammad Tahir Bizinjo. Officials from the Ministries of Human Rights and Interior, the FIA, the NHCR and other attached departments were also in attendance.