Half Fry Full Fry – A New Torture Technique Used By Pakistani Police
“Man has no right to kill his brother. It is no excuse that he does so in uniform: he only adds the infamy of servitude to the crime of murder” – Percy Shelley.
In case you are wondering what the culinary term connotes, it is the new colloquial used by the law enforcement agencies particularly the police in the province of Sind to indicate the state of the suspect. The term half fry indicates maiming a person for life. For example, if the police officers are convinced that the arrested suspects are involved in crimes they (the suspect) will be shot in the leg to render them disabled before they are sent to jail. This practice of maiming suspects gained notoriety during the tenure of former SSP Farid Jan Sarhandi of Hyderabad. The term “full-fry” on the other hand is used when the person is extra judicially murdered.
The use of the term “full-fry” to indicate extrajudicial killings illustrates how common and acceptable this outrageous practice by law enforcement officials has become. Judges and murderers all rolled into one, extrajudicial killers in uniform, have been using the pseudonyms of ‘half-fry’ and ‘full-fry’ to indicate the condition of a suspect.
The formation of the Apex Committee in Sindh Province, ushering increased presence of the Military and the Pakistan Rangers, has made the terms “half-fry” and “full-fry” common in the ranks of the police and other law enforcement agencies. The Apex Committee was formed to control serious crimes like terrorism, abduction, extortion, and target killings. But it resulted in a tremendous upsurge in extrajudicial killings
The trend of half-fry and full-fry is accelerating particularly in Sindh where innocent people are being abducted and killed in fake encounters by police. As per Chairperson Pakistan People’s Party Shaheed Bhutto (PPP-SB), more than 700 innocent people had been killed by the police in fake encounters since the promulgation of Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO)
The Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Sindh, Sanaullah Abbasi, on being asked about the legality of the “half-fry full-fry” formula in a press briefing last year, said he was confident that society had come to accept the “formula”. In a press briefing on 7 March 2015 Sanaullah Abbasi, claimed that extrajudicial killings are the best modus operandi to curb crime. The official was quoted by print media saying that “Extrajudicial killings and other actions cannot be justified officially but society has come to accept this ‘modus operandi’ of police to eradicate crimes and make streets safer. It is not necessary for an encounter to be seen as genuine only if a policeman loses his life in it. You can see police have restored peace and order in the city through this modus operandi.”
He also stated that several districts of Sindh Province such as Hyderabad and Khairpur had become model districts — thanks to this ‘modus operandi’. “If this [formula] continues then I can assure you that we will be able to create ideal conditions in crime control,” said the officer.
During the briefing the Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Irfan Baloch referring to his brave actions of “half-fry”, claimed that during the first quarter of the year 2015, 73 suspects were “arrested” after they were “injured” in encounters. He warned, “Remember, none of them [suspects] can obtain bail. We have made a strong case to ensure they were denied any chance of getting bail”.The Inspector General of police Ghulam Haider Jamali, told a meeting at the Central Police Office that the police killed around 998 criminals since July 2014.
Under Article 9 of the Constitution of Pakistan it is incumbent upon the state to ensure the safety and security of the people. The right to life as enumerated by the Supreme Court in Shezla Zia vs WAPDA Case expanded the meaning of the right to life to include a dignified life free from fear of being killed. Karachi, the capital of Sindh Province, the country’s largest metropolis is a hub of extrajudicial killings. It has been listed as the 10th most violent city of the world, according to Al Jazeera, with a murder rate of 12.3 per 100,000 residents. Yet, the Sindh Cabinet, on 11 February 2015, was briefed by the IGP Ghulam Hyder Jamali, that the crime rate had declined significantly in the Province.
The Jacobabad police officers are notorious for extortion and bribery, targeting innocent citizens and implicating them in frivolous cases. A victim of “half fry” Naved Ahmed Dangar was shot and injured for life by the Head Constable of City Police Station Jacobabad. Naved has accused the police officer of torture and extortion in a video that went viral on social media.
The rampant corruption in Sindh Police is an open secret. While hearing an application on 1 August 2015 regarding the withholding of funds meant for the police’s investigation wing the Supreme Court (SC) observed that the level of corruption in the Sindh police had increased threefold. An internal inquiry conducted by the Sindh police department identified more than 50 SHOs involved in crime cases. Nearly a dozen of them have links with political parties and members of the Lyari ( a no go area in the metropolis of Karachi )-based gangs and have also been accused of sheltering criminals affiliated with political parties and being involved in heinous crimes such as targeted killing, extortion, robbery, and land grabbing.
Pakistan ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture in 2010, but no concrete steps have been taken to enact a law. A draft Anti Torture Bill that purports to curb torture is eyewash and a mere formality to dodge pressure from the international community. In Pakistan, the justice system itself is riddled with gaping problems related to fair trial as conviction is based on statements extracted through torture or other forms of ill-treatment. A staggering proportion of the accused faced custodial torture, which is a serious indictment of due process of law in Pakistan and fairness of its criminal justice system.
Custodial torture in Pakistan is treated as an inevitable and vital part of crime investigation. Investigators adhere to the notion that if enough pressure is applied, the accused will confess. Nepotism, corruption, torture, misuse of power, and illegal detention form the crux of what is the criminal justice system in Pakistan. Torture is often used to extract self-implicating confessional statements from suspects who are often innocent. In the absence of modern forensic tools, the Judiciary and the prosecution rely upon confessional statements. These statements are never crosschecked against available circumstantial evidence, resulting in making torture the only tool available to the police. The criminal justice system in the country is therefore not adequate to seek justice; for many it is a labyrinth from where there is no escape.
According to figures compiled by several human rights organizations, over 30 people have lost their lives and around 150 have been injured in fake encounters. Such extrajudicial killings and torture are undermining the credibility of police action and creating mistrust amongst the local populace of Sindh, particularly residents of Hyderabad. Media reports quote forensic doctors saying that police on occasios bring in bullet-riddled bodies, shot at close range. Many times, the doctors have removed handcuffs of the victims of police encounter.
On 3 July 2015 a final year student in University, named Toqier Mashori, was tortured to death in the Central Prison of Hyderabad, Sindh, within three days of his arrest. His family was asked by the police and prison authorities to pay large bribes for Mashori’s relief or else he would be “full fried”. Two of his fellow students were released after they paid the bribes. The victims were taken in custody on charges of preventing the police from doing their duty. However, when the family could not comply with the bribe demand, Mashori was booked in a case involving drug peddling. The victim was continuously tortured for three days, up to 18 hours a day. The torturers put him in conditions of scorching heat and beat him mercilessly. His corpse bears the marks of torture. Senior police officials have pressured the family to bury the corpse, without a post mortem.
According to the yearly report of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) around 60 people who were wounded in separate encounters with the Rangers and police have been lying without any proper medical assistance at the Karachi central prison. If the suspect survives, conditions in the central jail make it difficult for them to survive for long, as there is no proper medical assistance available. Suspects who had been held during the joint operations led by the Rangers and police were subsequently killed.
The police and other law enforcement agencies in Pakistan are given unbridled power under the guise of maintenance of law and order. When a country has police officers who abuse citizens, it erodes public confidence in law enforcement resulting in further chaos and ultimately anarchy.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any organization with which she might be associated.