Ata ur Rehman Pakistan ratified the UN Convention against Torture (CAT) 1984 on June 23, 2010. It is, therefore, under an international obligation to implement the convention through its domestic laws. Article 1 of the convention, articulates the definition of torture in the following words: .......when such pain or suffering (torture) is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity....... Article 2(1) states: State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction. Article 4 adds:Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The basic essence of the convention is that the prohibition of the act of torture applies to all parties, including law enforcement agencies, and places an obligation on the State parties, who have ratified the convention to take steps to ensure that torture does not take place within its territory. By ratifying it, Pakistan has accepted this on its face value. However, whether it is able to apply the provisions of the convention, let alone effectively, is another story. In order to effectively integrate an international convention into national law two requirements have to be met. Firstly, Parliament should introduce the provisions in the national legislation either by creating new national legislations or repealing parts of the current active legislation that are contrary to provisions of a convention. Secondly, the laws must be followed and practically implemented by the law enforcement agencies, such as the police. Pakistan, after withdrawing original reservations to various CAT provisions such as Articles 3, 4, 6, 12, 13 and 16, accepted the spirit of the convention. From a legislative point of view, it had prohibited torture even prior to ratifying the 1984 convention. The most glaring examples include the Police Order 2002 and the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) 1860. Section 35 of the Police Order 2002 (Responsibility on complaints of neglect and excesses by police), Section 113 (Punishment), Section 156 (Penalty for vexatious entry, search, arrest, seizure of property, torture, etc), and Article 161 (public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect to an official act) and 162 of PPC 1860, show the compliance with the Article 4 of the convention that requires the legislature of the State Party to make torture a criminal offence. Hence to the extent of legislative compliance, Pakistan is at par with its international obligation under the 1984 convention. However, as respectable as that seems the implementation of an international convention does not stop there. The law enforcement agencies need to follow the code of conduct required of them, denoted in the convention and in this case, the Police Order 2002. The compliance of the Pakistani police with one, let alone both, is negligible at best. But placing the blame solely on the members of the police force is to miss the point altogether. The reason for their non-compliance should be considered in its context before jumping to any conclusions. In this case, it appears that the lack of resources and facilities might be of prime importance when it comes to the failure of police officials in the practical compliance with CAT provisions. The resources in question are those that are needed to effectively conduct a criminal investigation in a case. It includes forensic evidence, like finger prints and blood samples. Then the whole main process of matching the retrieved data and finally apprehending the perpetuators of a crime. Pakistan's resources run out on the first step. The finger printing technology is there, but they have no systematic approach to it, for example, an online up-to-date criminal database. There was not even one forensic lab in the entire country for the procedures mentioned above. One state-of-the-art lab was constructed, but the problem was the lack of expertise needed to utilise it effectively. All these costs incurred in conducting a criminal investigation, compared to the budget allocated to the police per case by the government is ludicrous. Lack of alternatives is the reason why the Pakistani police rely on torture. This, coupled with the pro-torture mindset of the law enforcement agencies, means that the ratification of the convention by the government is next to useless. If the government increases the allocated budget for expenses incurred in a criminal law case, not only will the police force have more effective evidence against the perpetrators, but their mindset will also change after considering the fact that forensic evidence is much more accurate than the statements received as a result of torture. It is apparent that Pakistan has fallen short of fulfilling its obligations under CAT. Although the required legislation for the prevention of torture is there, its implementation is absent as its practice is still rampant as being the only way the police can resort to for obtaining evidence in cases, given the circumstances, lack of resources and facilities. This not only affects Pakistans image in the minds of its own civilians, but also other countries. In particular, the failure to fulfil its international obligation is likely to lead to a tarnished image of Pakistan in the United Nations. n The writer is a research associate at Research Society of International Law (RSIL), Pakistan Email: a.rehman08@yahoo.co.uk