An eight-year-old boy was brutally beaten by the police in Lahore when a mobile phones shopkeeper suspected him of being an accomplice in a crime. He was taken into custody by the Raiwind police and he was tortured to confess his crime. We are referring to an eight-year-old kid here whose crime has not yet been proven and this is the kind of treatment that the police offered him, despite knowing his age. There are marks of abuse all over his body and the policemen forced him to sit on a heater and asked him to confess to committing mobile phone theft. This is just one of the ways in which he was tortured throughout the night, before finally letting him go in the morning because there was nothing to confess and the child was in severe pain.

Police brutality is not a well-kept secret of the police force in Pakistan. Many a time, police brutality is considered a vital part of extracting information. While that in itself may be true, the use of torture cannot be justified, especially in the cases of minors. This is a direct abuse of the power which the state has granted the police force. It also shows their eagerness to resolve cases without any investigation and coercing the suspect to confess to the crime by torturing him or her. IGP Amjad Javed Saleemi had to get involved in the case after it was picked up by several media houses. Saddar Division SP Syed Ali said he had conducted an inquiry into the incident and had ASI (trainee) Mohammad Saeed arrested for inhuman treatment with a child.

While the ASI has been arrested for the torture, there is a severe need for reforms in the police force. In this particular case, the child could have been an accomplice in the crime but he is only eight years old. There should be a framework for investigating children of that age rather than subjecting them to violence to the point that they are left scarred and unable to walk. These precedents help set the narrative about the police force and its politicisation. It is about time that measures are taken to limit their authority and the excessive use of power.