‘Beaten with pipes, given electric shocks’: Salman Haider recalls days in captivity


One year ago, a few social workers and bloggers, who were actively involved in advocating for human rights in Pakistan went missing. Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) professor Dr Salman Haider was also one of them.

On the one year anniversary of his “abduction” allegedly by the state’s intelligence agencies, Salman Haider penned an article for BBC Urdu, in which he described in detail the ordeal that he went through.

Giving excruciating insight into the torture that he went through, Salman Haider writes,” ….. some half an hour ago I had come from one such interview where for an hour I was handcuffed and my face was covered by a black cloth and regardless of the truth or incorrectness of answers to my captor’s questions, sometimes even before I gave the answers, I was slapped, punched, beaten with sticks and pipes and was intermittently given electric shocks….”

Speaking of one of the interrogations that he faced during his three weeks in confinement, Haider states,” In my opinion, the ones interrogating me could be five to six in number. The last question that they asked me was where would I like my dead body to be thrown, Chiniot or Faisalabad? I remember I said Chiniot, it is a small city, my family could recognise me and the chances of my getting buried as an unidentified body were slim”.

Salman Haider states that during his confinement, physical torture was just one of the ways his captors broke his spirit, the other favoured method was launching into a tirade of criticism against the politicians and their wayward ways, the harms of democracy and the perils of liberalism.

“From 18 Amendment to Dawnleaks, at least my knowledge increased due to the constant lecturing,” Salman Haider writes, finding humour in an obviously painful situation.