'He told me that he was being tortured' -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

‘He told me that he was being tortured’

LAHORE: “He cried and told me that he was being tortured,” said Surayya Talat, sister of Khalid Mehmood, the Pakistani who died in an Indian jail allegedly due to torture. His body was handed over to Pakistani authorities after the release of Kashmir Singh.

Surayya, who had gone to India to meet her brother when he was alive, protested in front of the Lahore Press Club against the government’s apathy for her brother’s death. Her mother, brother and a large number of people accompanied her at the protest.

“They had pulled his nails out and he was in very bad shape. He swore that he was not a spy,” Surayya told the protestors. She said that Mehmood had told her that the Indian police gave him electric shocks regularly and poured boiling water on his head.

Addressing the protestors, Jamaat-e-Islami central leader Liaquat Baloch called for the UN to take notice of the case.

He said that Mehmood’s case was in direct violation of basic human rights as he was tortured to death in the custody of the Indian authorities and that the UN should take strict notice of the incident and hold an independent investigation into the case.

The protest was held under the banner of the Civil Society Forum and Global Human Rights Services. The protestors held banners and placards and shouted slogans against Caretaker Federal Human Rights Minister Ansar Burney and the Indian government.

Mehmood’s mother Kareeman said that she wanted justice. She appealed to the newly elected government to take notice of the issue and take steps to get innocent Pakistani prisoners released from Indian jails.

Death certificate: Fateh Muhammad, Mehmood’s elder brother added that the Batapur police station had still not registered an FIR against the Indian government. He also said that the ‘cause of death’ was not mentioned in Mehmood’s death certificate issued by Indian authorities. He criticised Burney for doing “nothing to help the Pakistani prisoner whereas he helped an Indian prisoner (Kashmir Singh) return home safely”. He said, “He (Burney) did not even show up at the border when Khalid’s body was being received.”

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Asghar Ali of the Batapur Police Station said that the police had not received any autopsy reports from the city morgue due to which no FIR could be registered. Explaining the delay in the process, he said, “We will send the people concerned to inquire about the delay in the release of the autopsy reports.”

Ansar Burney was not available for comment. However, the PRO of the Directorate of Human Rights told Daily Times that Burney had promised the aggrieved family that Mehmood’s body would be retrieved, but could not go to the border due to official engagements and security reasons.

Khalid Mehmood, a resident of Dera Abdul Hakim near Baseen village, Batapur, had gone to Chandigarh in India in 2005 to watch the test match series between India and Pakistan. The Indian authorities seized his passport and arrested him under suspicion of spying. Mehmood died in an Indian jail on February 12 and the Pakistan High Commission was informed about his death the next day.
Source: Daily Times
Date:3/27/2008