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Truth Speaker: An Interview with a Torture Victim Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Aftab Khan, United Arab Emirates Jul 27, 2004
Human Rights , Detention & Torture   Interviews
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Please tell us about you early life.

My complete name is Aftab Hassan Khan b and I was born in the Umerkot Sindh district in 1979. I graduated from The Karachi college of Computer Science, Karachi and completed Diploma of Associate Engineer in Electronics Engineering from Sindh board of Technical education Karachi. I now work as an Electronics and Computer system engineer. I started writing for weekly magazine 'Workers Struggle' on regularly basis my friends and father has encouraged me to write for the paper.

During my studies in the Karachi from 1996 to 2003, I was introduced to the ideas of Marxism by a Leftist student organization known as National Student Federation. We were in the opposite camp of Islami Jamiat Tulba. We had several clashes, both physical and ideological with IJT and were neck to neck in our support for the Left wing ideas. I was elected Hall secretary of our student house.

After my studies I joined a NGO working for the democratic development of Pakistan, bringing peace in south Asia and Labour rights in particular but was also working for women and Human rights in the country. I become the editor of the monthly magazine 'Democracy News' and started writing regularly for the magazine. During the course of fighting for a Democratic Pakistan, I have been arrested several times. All of my arrests were of political nature. It was some of my writings against the military dictatorship of General Musharraf that I had to leave the country in 2003. I opted to go to Sweden to seek asylum there.

Why did you start to work against the injustice in the country?

Leading an authentic life according to conscience, honesty and a commitment to truth can, at times, be very difficult. I was hardly of 18 years when, as a member of a suppressed society , my concerns for the poor, needy and oppressed people were continually troubling me.

In the General Musharraf's so called democratic ‘military government’, to speak of one's own rights, of lashes inflicted upon people, of independence, peace and democracy is deemed a great crime. Due to global interests, the United States maintains close relations with Musharraf and supports both him and his military government. In these days, the person who spoke of democracy is considered a member of Al-Qaeda or an agent of RAW.

The Pakistani army, Police and the Rangers raided our home several times. They took away everything; they did not even leave a single one of our pet chickens. They stripped my father, mother and sisters naked and rained lashes on their bare backs. Mortal pen sometimes stops to mention such things or flowing tears from the poor eyes vanish away the written matters. At the top of these tortures, which is actually very difficult to describe or write down, is the arrest of my own blood, my father, my mother and my sister, being dragged to the police station and inhuman insult, and they have killed my father.

Now I am constrained to disclose that in order to avoid torture and inhuman insult for championing the freedom of women, child labour, reduction of school fees, improvement in the standards of teaching and schools and universities in general, fostering love among the student community, and speaking against the torture of my parents, it was necessary for me to go into exile. Life is preferred to death; even if the cost is greater in choosing it, it makes possible the saving of even more lives. This exile continued from September 2003 and I have not seen my sweet mother and sisters during all this time. Until now, I am not in the position to correspond with them because of the strict espionage of the cruel government.

Thirst for human blood, the claws of brutes and savage animals, espionage and torture by sophisticated weapons are still obstacles that obstruct the expression of human values and the innate love between mother and son.

Which difficulties and torture have you faced during all your activities in Pakistan?

Now, I briefly relate the hardships and sufferings that I have experienced during my all exile period. Once the Pakistani law enforcement agencies has captured me and inflicted great inhuman torture upon me by strippig me naked and sprinkling very hot water on my body which caused blisters on my skin. The blisters and injuries took years together in their healing. They immersed chillies in my anus. My brown complexion had so much darkened that nobody could even recognize me. Anyway, after some time, I was able to escape the dark dungeons and remained fugitive to unknown places where God almighty kept me alive. Sometime afterwards, I was again captured by the brutes. But God is great who blinded their eyes and they released me saying that I was not the same Aftab. Thanks to God.

The personnel of the Pakistani law enforcement agencies in plain clothes arbitrarily arrested. After my arbitrary arrest, I was taken to the unknown place where I was brutally tortured including hitting of continuous blows on my chest and knees by batons. My both legs have been broken and I was in a critical condition fighting for my life. I was kept incommunicado detention and denied meetings with my family members. My lawyers have also been denied access. I was inhumanly tortured to force me to sign a pre-written confessional statement prepared by the State accepting crimes that I have not committed.

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Writer Profile
Aftab Khan

25 years old Electronics & Computer System Engineer by Education and an activist of Human rights and Women Rights. Presently living in exile in Sweden since october 2003 due to the involvment in a campaign against the injustice in the society and undemocratic Military Government in Pakistan

Nice Interview
Henry Ekwuruke | Jul 15th, 2006
Hi Aftab, You have captured and told the story and I feel like burying my head on the ground, but noticing that my body would be outside I moved into the house and slept. I wish you well

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