Peshawar Policemen Who Beat, Paraded A Man Naked Exposed How Deep The Rot Is

A video has gone viral on social media where the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police personnel are seen brutally assaulting a man, identified as Amir Tehkal, who had allegedly used derogatory language towards police officers without naming anyone in particular. The cops also paraded him naked.

First of all, let us all say thanks to the technology that brings about the camera, thus helping us see many things which existed forever but were only heard of, not seen before. Police brutality falls under such ‘forever’ phenomena. Sometimes, mere condemnation is not enough and the same is the case with respect to police's cruel conduct towards a citizen who, only under the influence of drugs, had uttered bad words for some police officers, and apologised too later on.

This is not just about the police brutality; it has now turned into a culture in Pakistan. Every entity can turn out to be a gangster. And, the forces in power don't bear a single word against them and claim divinity. Similarly, governments would label the voices against them as 'spies' of foreign countries. We saw Justice Saqib Nisar trying to turn the Supreme Court into an activist organisation rather than the court of law. And, how people as a collective force brutally murdered Mashal Khan inside a university, a place where people go to receive education. The police, as an entity, also sometimes depict the behaviour of a gangster but subjugate to entities stronger than themselves.

Suspending some officials over incidents of abuse of power and transgressions has become the norm, which usually yields no results. Merely punishing the perpetrators only paves the way for the cycle to repeat itself. Their fault is only peripheral; an error by default. Therefore, the whole ‘software’ needs to be upgraded. This incident has nothing to do with PTI or police as an institution. It is rather a reflection of the behaviour of this nation. In short, the 'whole thing' needs to be recycled. But how can it be done?

The only hope is to let the law take its course. As long as there is a discrepancy in the operation of law, in which some go punished and others do not, incidents like this will continue to happen. For instance, General (r) Musharraf, backed by power, got the sentence against him overturned, whereas a mentally-challenged theft accused Salahuddin died in police custody. Even when a vehicle of a powerful man gets stolen, all investigation agencies join forces and, within no time, the car is returned to the owner. But the same courtesy is not extended to other citizens.

This is just one classic example of the discrepancies that are rotting our system with the speed of light. The question is, are we, as a nation, willing to surrender our desperado mode?

The author is a barrister practicing law in Peshawar and Islamabad. He graduated from Cardiff University. The author can be reached at