Stories about police brutality

Police brutality: Should we now fear the very people sworn to protect us?

While being tortured by the police, Salahuddin Ayubi asked his tormentors, “Who taught you these torture techniques?” Ayubi, who had been arrested for stealing money from an ATM machine, died in police custody two days after his arrest. Unfortunately, this case of police brutality is not an isolated incident. Pakistan has seen a troubling rise in the number of people who are not only subjected to police brutality, but also die as a result. With little to no action taken against these individuals and only muffled public condemnation, the police continue to carry out these practices with complete impunity. But will ...

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No peace under occupation: My parents are alive, but the conflict in IoK has ‘orphaned’ me

A few days ago, I celebrated my 19th birthday without my parents. No, I am not an orphan. But the conflict in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) has ensured I live like one.  I was born in Srinagar. My father, Dr Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, spent nine years in prison before I was born. He was briefly released and then arrested within months of my birth. It has now been 19 years that I have not seen him under the open sky. He is one of Kashmir’s longest-serving political prisoners, having languished in jail for 25 years now. Sometimes I want to tear the prison down and carry ...

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America’s race against itself

The United States has a long history of emphasising the value of personal freedom, liberty, and equality. It has also positioned itself as the champion of these values globally. There’s also good reason why the world largely accepts America as the leader of the free world. The American dream has promised its citizens social mobility, freedom from old world hierarchies, and a climate of innovation, all of which have combined to create tremendous economic opportunity. To say that the US has been a magnet, an El Dorado, for generations would not be an exaggeration. Wave after wave of immigrants have landed on its ...

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When did rape threats become a necessary technique for extracting confessions?

Early morning, Wednesday, October 28, 2015, will be forever etched on my mind and conscience as the day when my reserves of patience and equanimity were exhausted and emptied. My friend, the human rights activist, Rashid Orakzai uploaded and shared on Facebook a singularly brutal abuse of  force by a functionary of the so-called law-enforcing authorities of Pakistan. One could see a man in a Pakistani police uniform hitting a hapless burqa-clad woman, 30 to 35-years-old, on her head and face a number of times, hurling abuses and taunts of unprecedented obscenity. A young lad, perhaps eight or 10-years-old, can be seen ...

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Toy guns aren’t the problem, police officers with zero gun restraint are

A couple of days ago, a SHO in Faisalabad, without giving any warning, shot two 14-year-old teenagers who were taking a selfie with a toy gun. One of the victims of that shooting died yesterday while the other is still hospitalised. But this incident is not an isolated one. Just a month back, in Daska, a SHO opened fire on unarmed lawyers, resulting in deaths of two lawyers and a pedestrian. The same SHO is said to have killed a detainee in police custody when he was posted in Malakwal and he still managed to keep his job. Last year, the Lahore ...

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The problem isn’t good cop, bad cop, the problem is the systematic racism in US police

Over the past several years, there appears to be a rise in the instances of horrid brutalities, and murders, carried out by police officers, in the name of justice and safety enforcement, where Americans – mainly African-American and other people of colour – have been targeted, terrorised, and treated with much disdain and disrespect. And most, if not all, of these victims have not only been innocent of the crimes that they had been accused of, but they were also unarmed. Nevertheless, the latest of such staggering police brutality occurred last Friday, where police officers arrived at the Craig Ranch Community ...

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#Ferguson: Was it only about being black?

The world has rallied around Ferguson after a grand jury refused to indict an officer for killing Michael Brown. Add the deaths of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, revisit past cases of police brutality such as Abner Louima (1997) and Amadou Diallo (1999), and what’s the result? Marches in New York City and Washington DC, and thousands of protestors demanding an end to racism and murderous cops. The international press magnifies this narrative and creates morality plays out of American drama. Shehzad Ghias wrote, “Racism is still prevalent in the United States.” Ahson Saeed Hasan stated, “Cops essentially have a license to kill!” These views are shared by many inside and outside the US. But are they flawed? Do ...

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Ferguson, a window into our own cases of police brutality

I have been arrested. I have been handcuffed. I have been put in jail. I have had a police officer put a gun against my temple in the middle of the road in Defence. I have had a police officer threaten to indict me with charges of rape and murder if I do not give him money. There is no record of any of this because I never committed any crime. My “crimes” ranged from driving on the road at 2am to being in a car with a girl without possessing a ‘Nikkahnama’. I would not call them bribes, it was extortion. ...

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The logic (or lack thereof) behind the Protection of Pakistan Act 2014

The Protection of Pakistan Bill 2014 has been honoured with the presidential seal and is now officially the Protection of Pakistan Act 2014. We are told it is ‘an extraordinary law for an extraordinary situation’, having the validation of a strong legislature. That the act is a repressive law, impinging upon the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution is a settled matter, discussion whereof is now futile and can be equated with banging ones head against a wall. What we should discuss, however, is the thinking or logic which led our lawmakers providing legal sanction to such flagitious police practices as detention on ...

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When the policeman aimed his gun at us and my dad yelled ‘Shoot!’

It was Wednesday October 9, 2013 and I still remember how exhausted I was. I had just taken a test and was on my way back home from school. I just wanted to go home and sleep. On Khayaban e Ghazi, we saw two police mobiles and a bulletproof prison car. We were ahead of them, and one guard on the first police mobile gave us the signal to keep moving, so we kept going. On Gizri Boulevard, we were going down the slope leading to the Saudi house; my father was driving and had indicated that he was going ...

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