LAHORE, 04 DEC (DNA) – The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly condemned the police violence on visually impaired protesters in Lahore and said that the violent action again exposed the savagery of the baton-wielding face of what passed for authority in the province.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Commission said: “HRCP is shocked and disgusted beyond words by the callous police beating of the visually impaired protesters as they tried to move towards the chief minister’s secretariat on Wednesday.
“Everybody is now in agreement that the protesters were within their rights to congregate to demand their rights. They were not a risk to public safety or order by any stretch of imagination. They had not turned violent or used force in any manner. Could it be that the white canes intimidated the baton-wielding police?
“Surely, heavens would not have fallen if the protesters had managed to reach the chief minister’s secretariat. In fact, perhaps the most appropriate thing would have been for the chief executive of the province, or whoever was exercising his authority, or a senior representative to come to the protesters and listen to their demands.
“However, these are sadly not the times when appropriate things get done. One fears that the irony of physically challenged protesters advocating for their rights being beaten by police on World Disability Day would be lost on the authorities.
If such disgusting events do not make the government wake up then perhaps who the visually impaired are seeking help from are indeed blind, and heartless.
“Anyone seeking to teach Punjab Police about the undesirability of the use of force unless it become absolutely necessary has their work cut out. Whenever Punjab Police, already well known as a symbol of brutality and inhumanity, has been asked if it could sink any lower, it has accepted that as a challenge.
The Punjab government should be ashamed and must not try and sweep this shameful incident under the carpet by ordering another one of those famous inquiries that go nowhere or suspend a few policemen. Of course, the personnel who beat up the protesters and those who ordered the beating must be brought to justice.
But the whole concept of policing and crowd control should be looked at from a pro-people perspective.“Few people have yet given much thought to why the physically challenged protesters in Lahore believed that the only way for them to be heard was to congregate outside the chief minister’s secretariat.
None of the many answers would bring much comfort to the ‘leaders’ across the country who has been gloating over their respective versions of good governance.” DNA