Pakistan’s Human Rights Situation Remains Unchanged, Says US Report

The human rights situation in Pakistan has remained largely unchanged, according to the 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released by the US State Department. The report indicates that Pakistan has seldom taken substantial measures to identify and penalize officials implicated in human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and torture.

The report underscores a range of significant human rights issues in Pakistan. These include credible reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and instances of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by government agents. The report also highlights harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, arbitrary detention, and political prisoners.

Furthermore, the report points out serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media freedom, including violence against journalists, unjustified arrests and disappearances of journalists, censorship, criminal defamation laws, and laws against blasphemy. It also notes serious restrictions on internet freedom, substantial interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, including overly restrictive laws on the operation of non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations, restrictions on religious freedom, and restrictions on freedom of movement.

In addition to these issues, the report also draws attention to serious government corruption, serious government restrictions on domestic and international human rights organizations, extensive gender-based violence, and crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting members of religious, racial, and ethnic minorities in the country.

The report states that violence, abuse, and social and religious intolerance by militant organizations and other non-state actors, both local and foreign, have contributed to a culture of lawlessness. It also mentions that terrorist and cross-border militant attacks against civilians, soldiers, and police have caused hundreds of casualties. Military, police, and other law enforcement agencies have continued to carry out significant campaigns against militant and terrorist groups.

Recent reports have shed light on the ongoing human rights issues in Pakistan. Human rights organizations have accused government agents of implementing a ‘kill and dump’ policy, targeting dissidents through abduction, torture, and murder. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) recently expressed concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi.

The World Sindhi Congress (WSC) highlighted unlawful land accusation in Pakistan at the United Nations. The World Report 2024 by Human Rights Watch also pointed out that Pakistan’s political and economic crises deepened in 2023, with the government clamping down on the media, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and political opposition.

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