Secretary General Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) former senator Farhatullah Babar has said that PPP is gravely concerned about the absence of anti-torture legislation amid reports of torture in police stations and opaque detention centers and demands early legislation to declare torture a crime. He stated this in a statement issued on Saturday on the eve of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, observed across the globe on June 26. Farhatullah Babar said that the Convention against Torture (CAT) was ratified during PPP government in 2010 and it was obligatory to make domestic legislation. A private member bill criminalizing torture was also passed unanimously by the senate in March 2015 but there has been no progress despite many public assurances by the government during the past three years, he said. “We live in a state of denial. Official reports submitted to the UN human rights bodies deny torture in state’s detention centres. When the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) in 2019 refuted the no-torture claims in its shadow report the Commission itself became dysfunctional since May that year,” he added. The PPPP Secretary General said that as per universally accepted practice the Bill passed by the senate also stated that war, threat of war, internal political instability or an order of a superior authority shall not constitute a defence against the commission of offence of torture. However, during a meeting of the senate human rights committee it transpired that the government had reservations over it. Not making this provision in the law will defeat the very purpose of legislation and raise more questions about internment centres in the country, he said. Farhatullah Babar said that allegations of securing confessions under torture are not entirely unfounded. In October 2018 Peshawar High Court set aside convictions of over 70 people in internment centres on the basis of questionable “confessional statements”. The Supreme Court has suspended the PHC verdict. He called for an independent inquiry into the allegations of involvement of state functionaries in torture in all detention centres.