I. Ranking in Human Rights Violators Index: 5th
II. Political Freedom
III. Human rights violations by the security forces
a. Arbitrary, summary and extrajudicial executions
b. Arbitrary arrest and illegal detention
c. Torture, inhuman and degrading treatment
IX. Violence against women
a. Restrictions on participation in public life
Ruled by quasi-military dictatorship of President
General Pervez Musharraf,
Repression of the political opponents by the ruling
parties has been a part of the military regimes. Thousands of activists of the
The administration of President Pervez Musharaff
continued to deny the right to freedom of association and assembly to the
opposition political parties. On 31 March 2005, police baton charged and
arrested two leaders, Dr Arshad and Malik Muhammad Husain, Nazim of New
Satellite Town, and about 18 activists of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)
from the Shaheen Chowk in
On 13 April 2005, Punjab Police reportedly launched
a crackdown against activists and leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)
On 15 April 2005, Pakistan People’s Party claimed
that over 50,000 of its activists, including women, were arrested all over the
country and the army had been deployed in Sindh to block the super highway to
prevent the PPP workers and supporters from welcoming Asif Ali Zardari, husband
of former prime minister and chairperson of the PPP, Benazir Bhutto, at the
Lahore airport on 16 April 2005. Besides, the party offices were sealed in
Raja Asad Khan, a Member of National Assembly (MNA) of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party from Jhelum alleged in September 2005 that the government had implicated him and his family members in a murder case because he did not defect to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League.
The arrest, detention and torture of political activists continued throughout 2005.
Local elections were held in August-October 2005 but these were not free and fair. Ruling party contestants allegedly harassed the opposition contestants. They forced the opposition contestants to withdraw nominations and many were implicated in false cases for not doing so.
Many opposition leaders were kidnapped to prevent
them from contesting elections. On 17 September 2005, the joint opposition
consisting of the PPP, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and MMA leaders
demonstrated outside the Lahore Press Club in protest against alleged
kidnapping of their candidate for
On 15 September 2005, proposer Syed Shabbir Shah and seconder Aziz Soomro of PPP’s Awam Dost candidate for Nazim district in Thatta, Arbab Muhammad Din, were allegedly kidnapped by ruling party thugs to cause rejection of nomination of Mr Din. Their absence on the day of scrutiny of the nomination papers due to the kidnapping led to rejection of Mr Din’s nomination.
On the night of 4 December 2005, nine political leaders including Attaullah Qasmi, the former Pakistan ambassador to Norway, Dr Farid Parracha, Khwaja Saad Rafique, a PML-N leader, Habibullah Shakir, a Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians leader, Chaudhry Mumtaz Ahmad Jujja, Samiullah Chaudhry, a member of Punjab Assembly, Sohail Warrich, Hassan Murtaza, PPP Bahawalnagar district president, Aqeel Najam Hashmi were arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance for speaking against the army at the launching ceremony of renowned journalist and Geo TV anchor Sohail Warraich’s book, Generaloon Ki Siyasat, The Rule of Generals.
Proceeding in a writ petition by former union council nazim, Naimat Ali, a political rival of the NWFP Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani, challenging his detention under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, on 31 August 2005, a two-member bench of the Peshawar High Court comprising Chief Justice Tariq Pervez and Justice Jehanzeb Raheem ruled that the provisions of Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance could not be invoked in an arbitrary manner without sufficient material on record against a detainee.
Security forces were responsible for serious human
rights violations including torture, rape and extrajudicial executions, with
virtual impunity. About 600 suspected terrorists were detained incommunicado
under anti-terror laws since September 2001 and hundreds were handed over to
The security forces were responsible for a large number of extrajudicial executions. Many victims were killed because of indiscriminate use of fire-arms by the security forces.
On 16 January 2005, a civilian identified as Farooq
died in arbitrary firing by a police constable posted at Pak Colony in
Inability to pay bribes and extortion demands proved fatal. In early June 2005, Assistant Sub-Inspector Hafeez Rind and police constables Mushtaq Rind and Mehar Ali Shahi of Buchheri police post, Daur police station reportedly shot dead Rustam Ali Sehto, a PCO owner in Buchheri town for demanding the money for the telephone calls made by the assailant policemen.
A few cases of extrajudicial executions were taken up before the courts. On 28 January 2005, the district and sessions judge, Khairpur issued notices to the District Police Officer of Sukkur, Town Police Officer, three Station House Officers and a doctor of the Sukkur Civil Hospital to appear in the court on 3 February 2005 in a case of alleged extrajudicial execution of Shah Dost and Kariman on 18 January 2005 in indiscriminate firing.
In another incident on 28 March 2005, the Lahore High Court ordered a Deputy Superintendent of Police to book 17 officers, including Station House Officer, Gulam Sarwar, Sub-Inspectors Muhammad Inayat, Muhammad Imanat, Mehdi Khan, Shaukat and Shafiq and Assistant Sub-Inspectors (ASIs) Ijaz, Rashid, Arshad Cheema, Muhammad Tufail and Khadim Hussain for alleged extrajudicial execution of Ghulam Mustafa on 2 March 2005.
In a few cases, court interventions resulted into
the arrest of the accused police personnel. On October 2005, the court ordered
the arrest of four policemen- Sub Inspector Tahseen Ahmed, Assistant Sub
Inspector Shamas, Head Constable Zulfiqar and Constable Abdul Sattar of Khosar
police station in
On 8 September 2005, Additional Sessions Judge Shaukat Iqbal ordered exhumation of the dead body of Daawat-i-Islami leader, Naeem Mehmood Qadri who was allegedly tortured to dead and secretly buried by the police. Medical examination reportedly confirmed physical torture. The deceased was picked up by a police team led by ASI Mohammad Aftab Baig from Rahamania police check post in Mandi Bahaudding district of Punjab on 20 May 2005.
Departmental inquiries were ordered in a number of
cases of alleged extrajudicial executions including execution of one Anees, a
garment trader in Rampura on 28 July 2005 by six policemen from Batapur police
An autopsy on the body of Sajid Ali who was arrested and detained at Machiwal police station in Vehari district of Punjab on 27 May 2005 reportedly confirmed marks of torture on the chest, shoulder and foot. The four accused policemen- SHO Rana Tanveer and constables, Haq Nawaz, Imam Ali and Bagh Ali were reportedly suspended.
Police also used disproportionate force while
arresting people. In late November 2005, a team of policemen from Gujjarpura
police station in
Arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention were common
The courts in
However, the situation did not improve despite such
stringent orders of the courts as the executive continued to abuse their
powers. On its part, the federal and provincial governments in
The High Courts and the lower courts played crucial
role to appoint bailiffs to raid the police stations to rescue the detainees.
The number of judicial interventions to raid the police stations in
On 16 February 2005, Tariq Hashmani, a bailiff
appointed by the sessions court in
On 9 March 2005, the district and sessions judge of Moro ordered registration of an First Information Report (FIR) against the SHO of Moro police station for wrongful confinement of Ayaz, son of Qadir Bux Soomro of Moro in Noushero Feroze district of Sindh province. Ayaz was arrested and detained without any charge. Second judicial magistrate of Moro, Mr Zafarullah Solangi, raided the Moro police station on the directives of the district and sessions judge, and found Ayaz there in unlawful detention.
On 14 March 2005, the Lahore High Court set free
Waheed-ur-Rehman after a bailiff recovered him from the custody of Kot Lakhpath police station in
On 21 March 2005, police from Noor Shah registered a case of kidnapping, torture and violation of the Police Ordinance-2002 against an Assistant Sub-Inspector, Muhammad Ashraf, and five constables of Tandlianwala police station at the orders of the Lahore High Court. The police personnel entered the house of Thiraaj in Bothna village in Sahiwal of Punjab on the night of 4 December 2004 and allegedly beat the women and looted valuable from the house and took away one Thiraaj. A bailiff appointed by the Lahore High Court recovered Thiraaj on 13 December 2004 from police custody and a medical examination confirmed his torture in custody.
In April 2005, the Lahore High Court appointed a bailiff who recovered 12 detenues from Sabzpir police lock-up. The police could not show the record of their arrest and no FIR was registered against any of them either.
In May 2005, the Lahore High Court directed the District Police Officers at Chakwal and Hafizabad to register criminal cases against Assistant Sub-Inspector Khurshid Baig of Hafizabad Sadar police. A bailiff appointed by the Court raided the police station and rescued Jaffar Ali, Riasat Ali and Liaquat Ali, Akmal Husain, Shaukat Ali, Saifullah and eight-year old Mohammad Tufail from illegal detention. The bailiff also reported to the court that the Hafizabad officers, ‘moharrar’ Deedar Husain, ASI Khurshid Baig and constable Mukhtar misbehaved with him and that the SHO did not turn up to show him the official record. The police record had no entry of the arrest of the seven persons.
Civil judge-II of Sinjhoro, Syed Abdul Qayoom Shah reportedly found seven detainees - Dilbar Shar, Sattar, Abdul Sattar Brohi, Yousuf Brohi, Ghulam Rasool, Ali Hassan and Sain Bux - in illegal confinement at Jhol police station in Sanghar district of Sindh during a raid on 23 May 2005. The judge had raided the police station upon repeated complaints that a large number of innocent persons were being arrested in connection with the Photo Mari murder case and were being released after taking bribes.
In May 2005, a bailiff appointed by the district and session judge rescued Fatima and Zulekhan from Shah Jewna police post after a raid by the police led by ASI Javed Iqbal from Chak Daulat Khan under Qadirpur Police station in Jhang district of Punjab. After recording the statement of the two women, the judge ordered the arrest of the accused police officers.
In October 2005, a raid commissioner appointed by the Sindh High Court found one Asghar Khoso, a resident of Mehar town, in wrongful confinement after being picked up by SHO of Mehar police station Abu Bakar Chandio, and in-charge of Baledai police post Rafique Khoso in Lakarna district of Punjab. The accused police officers were suspended and a case was registered against them on 25 October 2005 on the directive of the Sindh High Court, Larkana circuit bench.
The courts also ordered the arrest of many police officers. With regard to the illegal detention of Munawwar Ali, the second additional sessions judge-II of Khairpur, Sindh, ordered registration of an FIR under section 364, 342 F-I PPC against Khuhra police out-post in charge, ASI Hakim Ali Jalbani, and seven other police personnel on 23 February 2005.
In early March 2005, Lahore High Court set free Tahir, Qayyum, Mazhar, Imanat, Ansar, Qurban, Rehan and Saddiqui from illegal detention and ordered the arrest of the accused police officers- Lal Muhammad, Station House Officer, Iqbal Bhutta, investigation officer, and Abdul Ghafar, sub inspector, from the courtroom.
On 31 October 2005, Lahore High Court ordered the arrest of Sub-Inspector Raza Husain and registration of a case of kidnapping against him and seven others for unlawfully arresting one Talib Husain, s/o Fateh Muhammad of Kot Khadim Ali Shah in Sahiwal district of Punjab. In another case, on 10 November 2005, the Lahore High Court ordered the Sialkot police to register criminal cases against three officials of Daska police station in Sialkot distict of Punjab viz., inspector Tariq Mahmood and sub-inspectors, Munawwar Husain and Zulfiqar Ahmad for framing Arshad Mahmood in a false drug trafficking case, unlawfully detaining and torturing him.
Torture is prohibited under
Yet, numerous instances of torture by security
forces including sewing of lips of detainees were reported in 2005. As many as
1,100 cases of police torture were reported throughout
In the early hours of 17 July 2005, ASI Abad Khan and seven other police officials from Hala police station in Nawabshah district of Sindh allegedly barged into the house of one Mukhtar Ahmed in Hala and thrashed him and his family members including women and children. Mukhtar Ahmed’s mother, Sharifan 70, died on the spot due to alleged police torture.
In a case of beastly torture, police officials of
Vehari police station of
In yet another case of similar beastly torture, in
October 2005, Mazhar Waheed, Deputy Superintendent of New Central Jail Multan,
allegedly sewed the lips of Ijaz alias Chiri just before he was scheduled to be
produced before the court in Khanewal in
On 3 June 2005, ASI Allahditta of North Cantonment
police station in
On 8 July 2005, Noorshah police, at the orders of the district and sessions judge, reportedly registered a case against Bahadar Shah police post in-charge SI Raees Ahmed, along with his three accomplices Qalab Ali, Iqbal and Amir for abducting and detaining two brothers at a ‘forced labour camp’. The four allegedly picked up two brothers Naseer Ahmed and Farid Ahmed from Bhhuhar village under Noorshah police station in Sahiwal district of Punjab on 25 January 2005. The police detained the brothers in police lockup and subjected them to physical torture. Later, they were handed over to three Pukhtoons, who took them to a forced labour camp, where they subjected them to violence, and rigorous labour. While one of the brothers, Naseer somehow managed to escape from the labour camp, Farid fell unconscious due to torture and hard labour.
The police did not spare even women in an advanced
stage of pregnancy. On 17 July 2005, the police raided Alam Khan’s house under
Banamari police station in
The Supreme Court of Pakistan had been blamed for being subservient to the political establishment especially validating the military regime and giving judgements that failed to resolve deadlocks over important constitutional matters.
In September 2005, the Supreme Judicial Council
formed a committee comprising
The Access to Justice Programme introduced in 2001 reduced the numbers of pending criminal cases in the districts where it was implemented. However, the lack of facilities and personnel such as judges, and police guards and vans to transport the under-trial prisoners to and from court and the frequent adjournments had been causing judicial delay and contributing to the overcrowding of prisons.
On 18 January 2005, Afzal Haider, an accused booked
in as many as 17 cases, mostly under section 17(3) and 14 of Enforcement of
Hudood Ordinance and for robbery in different police stations in
The conduct of some subordinate judges was found questionable.
In August 2005, Chief Justice of Sindh High Court suspended Civil Judge Khair Mohammad Solangi and Judicial Magistrate Lakhi Ghulam Shah on the grounds of misconduct, in-efficiency and corruption. In October 2005.
The Chief Justice reportedly appointed Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali as inquiry officer to conduct an inquiry against them.
A draft National Commission for Human Rights Bill was presented to the National Assembly in February 2005. In May 2005, the Bill was referred to the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights for further consideration and deliberations.
The Draft National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) Bill of 2005 failed to meet the Paris Principles of National Human Rights Institutions.
Under section 2(d), human rights were defined
restrictively to mean “the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and
dignity of individuals guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan or embodied
in the International Instruments on Human Rights which the Government of
Pakistan has ratified and are enforceable by the courts in
The composition of the NHRC as provided for in sections 3(2)(ii) and 3(2)(iii) of NCHR bill did not ensure sufficient representation of all sections of society and negates the guarantees of independence and pluralism as provided under Principle 4 of the Paris Principles. There was also no guarantee for representation from religious minorities or the tribals.
Moreover, section 10 of the NCHR Bill provided that the office and other staffs who were to assist the NHRC in the discharge of its functions were to be appointed from amongst employees of the federal government.
Under Sections 4 and 5, President would retain the power to appoint and dismiss members of the NHRC thereby severely impacting independence of the members.
There was no financial autonomy under section 20 of the National Commission for Human Rights Bill.
Human rights defenders in
Those who took up the equality of women have been specific targets. On 14 May 2005, police detained about 40 human rights defenders, including Ms. Hina Jilani, UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders, Ms. Asma Jehangir, Chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), former law minister Iqbal Haider, Gulnar Tabassum, working for an NGO providing shelter to homeless women and Joseph Francis, a minorities’ rights activist in an attempt to prevent them from participating in a mixed gender marathon organized in Lahore jointly by HRCP and Joint Action Committee for Peoples Rights to raise awareness on the issue of violence against women in Pakistani society. The police imposed Section 144 Criminal Procedure Code banning assembly of more than five persons and beaten up the participants including women. Women participants were allegedly pulled by their hair and their clothes were torn by the police. All the detainees were released without charge.
Ms Asma Jahangir moved the Lahore High Court in a
writ petition seeking registration of criminal cases against the policemen who
allegedly outraged her modesty on 14 May 2005.
In September 2005, Additional district and sessions judge
On 4 June 2005, a heavy contingent of the
The journalists in
On 16 May 2006, the National Assembly adopted amended Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to empower the authorities to shut down broadcasting channels on the grounds of telecasting “offensive to commonly accepted standards of
decency”. Under the amended Act, PEMRA is authorised to seize equipment, withdraw licences and conduct investigations and empowers the police to arrest electronic media journalists without a warrant. Violations are punishable by prison sentences of up to three years and fines of some ten million rupees.
On 2 March 2005, PEMRA ordered the BBC World
Service to halt its Urdu-language news programmes relayed to
On 22 December 2005, the PEMRA issued an order asking the cable TV operators to stop airing some 30 foreign TV channels, including entertainment, sports and news channels such as MM Movie, Star Network, National Geographic and Fashion TV. Most of the banned channels were Indian.
On the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2005, 30 journalists
including Chairman of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Pervez
Shaukat, were arrested by the police in
In July 2005, a photographer of Sindhi daily Kawish, Munir Sangi and cameraman of private news channel KTN, Hadi Sangi were allegedly hit by Head Constable Gulzar Ali of Hyderi Police Station, Larkana with his submachine gun while covering a sit-in protests staged by hundreds of residents of Stadium Road Mohalla, Larkana.
Newspapers were often accused of publishing hate literature. On 19 July 2005, police reportedly raided the offices of three weeklies - Urdu weekly Friday Special, Wujood on Elander Road, weekly Ghazi off Tipu Sultan Road and daily Ummat near the National Hockey Stadium in Karachi and arrested Abdul Latif Abu Shamil of Friday Special and Mohammad Tahir, editor of Wujood on charges of allegedly publishing hate literature. Police had earlier raided the office of Zarb-i-Islam and arrested its editor and assistant editor. Police had also picked up newspaper hawkers from various localities.
Three European documentary film-makers identified
as Leon Flamholc, his son David Flamholc (Swedish nationals residing in London)
and Tahir Shah, a British writer of Afghan origin, were arbitrary arrested by
military police on 18 July 2005 on the charges of filming a military base in
the northwestern city of Peshawar. They were secretly held for 16 days,
including 15 days in solitary confinement, before forcibly expelling from
Academic freedom was severely restricted. Dr.
Mujahid Mansoori, Punjab University Mass Communication Department associate
professor was served a notice under the Removal from Service Ordinance 2000 by
Punjab Governor’s Secretariat on 8 July 2005 for writing a column under the
heading ‘Sir Par Khara Mehngai Ka Aik Aur Tofan’ in Jang on 5 July 2005.
On 28 July 2005, the Education Department served a similar notice to Dr Ajmal
Niazi, an associate professor of Urdu at
On 5 December 2005, Hayatullah Khan, a reporter for
the Urdu-language daily Ausaf and photographer for the European Press Photo
Agency (EPA), was kidnapped by five unidentified gunmen in Mir Ali in the
Tribal Zones bordering
The media also faced serious threats from the
fundamentalist groups. On 29 January 2005, members of a religious
fundamentalist group called Anjuman Tahafuz-e-Islami Aqdar attacked office of
the Jang group of publications in
On 24 July 2005, noted journalist Khursheed Ahmed of the Urdu-language national daily Khabrain was attacked with three home-made bombs at his house in Gilgit of the Northern Areas. Ahmed escaped unhurt. This was the second attempt on his life. He was earlier attacked in a similar way on 3 March 2005.
Religious minorities continued to be target of the
fanatics. In a grenade attack on the
The blasphemy law has been extensively misused not only to target the minorities but also by Muslims against fellow Muslims to settle personal score. Even Federal Religious Affairs Minister Ejazul Haq admitted in November 2005 that the blasphemy law was being misused and expressed the government’s desire to bring more amendments to it. According to All Parties Minorities Alliance Chairman, Shahbaz Bhatti, hundreds of innocent people had been imprisoned, forced to flee the country or killed by extremists under the pretext of punishing blasphemers. At least 60 persons were accused of blasphemy between January and July 2005. Of these 60, formal charges were leveled against 53 persons, while seven were acquitted. In 2004, a total of 23 blasphemy cases were registered. Of these, 14 cases were registered against 55 Muslims, seven cases against 24 Ahmadiyas and two cases against three Christians. According to a report by National Commission for Justice and Peace, 634 blasphemy cases had been registered between 1986 and 2004. Of these, 309 cases were registered against Muslims, 236 against Ahmedis, 81 against Christians and eight against Hindus.
The alleged desecration of the Koran invited street
justice. On 19 April 2005, angry mobs in Nowshera district in
On 28 June 2005, Muslim mobs attacked about 200
Christian homes in three areas near
On 10 September 2005, police arrested a Christian identified as Younis Masih at Waheed Park in Chungi Amer Sidhu under the Factory Area police station in Lahore on blasphemy charges and sent him to Kot Lakhpat Jail. But according to his wife, Meena, Younis had only requested a neighbour not to sing Qawali in loud voice as his nephew had died on the previous night i.e. 9 September 2005. A huge mob of Muslims attacked the house of Younis and beat him and his wife, Meena. By 11 September 2005, some 50 Christian families fled the area due to fear of attacks.
Those who faced blasphemy charges continued to live
in fear even after acquittal by the courts. In January 2005, a Christian named
Anwar Masih of
Minorities also faced physical violence. Syed Rahat
Shah Qadri, the Imam of Owais Qarni Mosque and his students allegedly attacked
a church at Miskeen Musharraf Colony in
The minority girls were also vulnerable to violence. On 8 February 2005, 13-year-old Fozia Zafar, daughter of Zafar Masih, a Christian, of Mohalah Islamabad Muncher Road, in Alipur Chatta in Gujranwala district of Punjab was kidnapped by three Muslim boys named Imran, son of Taj Muhammad; Irfan, son of Muhammad Anwar Khokher; and Mukhtar alias Kalo, son of Sharif of the same locality while she was going to her uncle Munawar Masih’s house in the same locality. Despite eyewitness accounts and confessions of two of those involved, police refused to register a complaint. Fozia’s father complained to the Gujranwala District Police Officer, who directed local officers to register the FIR and detain the two suspects. After filing the complaint, Masih was dismissed from his local government job. Local Muslims also put pressure on him to drop the complaint. Fozia and her third kidnapper, Mukhtar Kalo remained untraceable.
On 14 September 2005, a minority Hindu girl, Sapna, daughter of Gianchand of Jacobabad in Sindh was allegedly kidnapped by four unidentified Muslim youths at gunpoint and was kept in illegal confinement for a week by her captors. On 20 September 2005, she was produced before the judicial magistrate in Jacobabad. In her statement before the Judicial Magistrate and Session Court, Sapna named as Mehak after her conversion to Islam stated that she had embraced Islam on her own will and got married with one Shamsuddin. She reportedly claimed no one kidnapped her. On the other hand, the minority members of the National Assembly claimed that Sapna was forced to convert to Islam during her one-week illegal confinement by four accused men. According to them, Sapna was kidnapped, married and converted into Islam in a bid to threaten the Hindu minority in Sindh.
In South Asia, the condition of women was the most
About 80% of the women prisoners in the jails were victims of the Hudood Ordinance relating to adultery, rape, kidnapping and abduction. The federal and provincial governments failed to implement the recommendations of the National Commission on the Status of Women to repeal the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance of 1979.
Hundreds of women and girls were subjected to various forms of abuses such as discrimination, domestic violence, assault, kidnapping, forced marriage, rape, unlawful detention and honour killings both by civilians and security forces. There were many cases of custodial rape while the traditional jirgas pronounced harsh punishment against women.
Nothing more clearly demonstrated the apathy of the authorities towards the cause of the woman than the fact that in 2005, the National Commission on the Status of Women did not have a chairwoman for over 10 months.
Women faced serious obstacles for participation in public life. A record number of over 55,000 women candidates contested in the Local body elections held in August-October 2005. However, many faced serious threats.
In May 2005, local tribesmen and religious extremists reportedly barred women from filing their nomination papers for the 33 percent seats reserved for them in the local body elections in Diamer district of the Northern Areas. Women sitting alongside male were viewed as anti customs and traditions.
Similarly in July 2005, political parties in Lower
In a worst case, Zubaida Begum, a former union
council member in Daroda village in
In June 2005, in Haripur district of North West Frontier Province, the District Coordination Officer and District Police Officer, through circular to all police stations of Haripur directed the phone booth owners to shun out female telephone operators.
Women remained disproportionate victims of cultural cruelties in Pakistani society. Hundreds of women have been killed every year for alleged misdemeanours such as adultery, marrying without the family’s consent, pre-marital sex or having been raped. According to Sindh Additional Inspector-General of Police (Investigation), Nayyar H Zaidi, as many as 4383 women fell victims to honour killings and karo kari from January 2001 to December 2004 with 758 cases of honour killing in 2001, 1,015 cases in 2002, 1,261 in 2003 and 1349 cases in 2004.
The much vaunted Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2004 against “honour killings” failed to address the issue of impunity for violence against women. It only enhanced punishments. However, under Qisas and Dayat Ordinance, relatives could pardon and exonerate alleged killers. Under the “karo-kari” or the so-called honour killings whereby a man can kill a woman on the ground that she brought dishonour to the family, the killers can still be pardoned by the victim’s relatives. Once such a pardon has been secured, the state has no further writ on the matter.
The traditional jirga system of justice had also been responsible for atrocities against women. On 24 April 2004, the Sukkur Bench of the Sindh High Court banned jirgas. However, jirgas continued to be held, despite the High Court ban, under the chairmanship of MPAs, nazims, political party leaders and even ministers.
In April 2005, a local jury of the Wani tribe decreed the forced marriage of one Ms. Kaneez Kubra, daughter of Ghulam Hussain of Dera Ghazi Khan Town of Punjab to one Mujahid Hussain, whose sister, Ms Sumera allegedly had sexual relationship with the bride’s brother, Abdul Majid. After the wedding on 28 April 2005, as ordered by a panchayat (local jury), Kaneez Kubra went to the groom’s home. Her husband, Mujahid Hussain reportedly stayed with her till 11 pm and then left. Afterwards, Mujahid’s grandfather Shahroo Khan and his mother Mukhtar came in and told the bride that the wedding was just an excuse to take revenge on Majid for outraging Sumera’s modesty. Mujahid Hussain then invited his three friends Muhammad Rafiq, Shabbir Muhammad and Abdul Majid Almani, who gang-raped Kaneez Kubra. The next day, Mujahid Hussain also took her to the house of his friend Ghulam Mustafa, who also assaulted her. On 30 April 2005, when the bride’s father, who had come to take his daughter back as per tradition, approached the police, they refused to register a case against the groom and his friends. A case was later registered only when the Dera Ghazi Khan District Police Officer intervened.
Mukthar Mai gang rape case exposed the barbaric
Jirga system of justice. On 22 June 2002, Mukthar Mai was gang raped at the
orders of a Jirga at Meerwala village in
Women were also specific target of revenge by male especially for alleged love affairs.
On 26 January 2005, five-armed men reportedly
identified as Haq Nawaz, Shehzad, Muhammad Qasim, Ghulam Mustafa and Allah
Wasaya raided the house of Saifal in
In May 2005, 11 armed persons, including Anwar,
Akbar, Ghulam Ali, Sajid and others, reached the house of Fauzia Bibi, a
resident of Chiniot on horses, dragged her out of her bed and forcibly took her
away. Thereafter, they took her to a deserted farmhouse on the bank of the
On 15 June 2005, Mohammed Yousaf and his six
accomplices allegedly stripped 18-years-old Shaheen, beat her with a shoe and
paraded her for 20 minutes through the square of farming village Chak 41EB in
Custodial rape remained a serious problem in
In April 2005, two policemen – a sub-inspector and
a constable in
In May 2005, two boys and two girls were reportedly
taken into custody by
On the night of 5 July 2005, Ms Shamshad was allegedly gang raped by three policemen, two of them identified as Soomar and Sharif at the cuustody of Rohri police station in Sukkur district of Sindh. The victim had been arrested by the accused policeman from her house near Rohri and detained at the police station for investigation.
In many cases, the government provided impunity to
the accused police officials. In May 2005, Superintendent of Police
(investigation), Faislabad Khalid Abdullah and Jaranwala Station House Officer
Inspector Jamshed Chishti allegedly kidnapped a 23-year-old housewife, Sonia
Naz, wife of Asim Yousuf of Faislabad in
In the case of rape of Dr. Shazia Khalid, an employee of Pakistan Petroleum Limited working at the company’s hospital at Sui in Balochistan province, all attempts were made to hush up the case and exonerate prime suspect Captain Hamad, Head of the Defence Security Guard. Even while the judicial inquiry was in progress, President General Pervez Musharraf exonerated the prime suspect, Captain Hamad of the DSG.
The conditions of the children in
Girls were disproportionate victims of violence.
Impunity under traditional justice system contributes to crimes against
children. On 15 May 2005, a panchayat (tribal jury) ordered blackening the face
of Maulvi Ghulam Qadir, 70, who was caught sexually assaulting seven-year-old
girl Safia. The girl was reportedly taken to
In December 2005, the Supreme Court of Pakistan
ordered the Inspector Generals of Police of Punjab and
Girl child, as young as two-year-old, was
reportedly decreed by village Panchayat to be married to the aggrieved man on
attaining puberty. On 21 April 2005, “The Daily Times” reported that the
village Panchayat of Kutcha Chohan in southern
On 6 August 2005, five-year-old
Very few dared to challenge the vani system in
rural areas. In November 2005, Iqbal Khan, a resident of village Sultanwala
Sharqi in Mianwali district of Punjab had appealed to save five girls of his
family, including his three daughters, from falling victim to the cruel social
custom of vani. Iqbal Khan was convicted of murdering his relative Zaman Khan
and was sentenced to death by a district and sessions court. He then appealed
to the Lahore High Court. However, during the pendency of his appeal both
parties reached an out of court settlement in December 1996 and the case was
withdrawn. A panchayat (village court) decided that five girls from his family
would be wedded to the boys of the aggrieved party because Iqbal could not pay
cash to compensate the other party. Maulvi Inayatullah of Ali Khel village
verbally offered nikahs of the five girls who were at these ages in 1996 – Asia
(8), Amina (9), Abida (7), Sajida (5) and
Plight of the children in conflict with the law in
The Juvenile Justice System Ordinance (JJSO) was introduced in July 2000 but rarely implemented. Amongst others, the JJSO consolidates at the federal level several provisions of provincial laws on children in conflict with the law, incorporated provisions as defining a child as under 18 years of age, the establishment of juvenile courts, the regulation of police arrests of child suspects, prohibition of the death penalty for children, prohibition of the use of handcuffs and fetters, and the appointment of special panels of lawyers to represent child offenders. However, the implementation of the JJSO has been found to be very slow. A study undertaken by the UNICEF and released in January 2005 found that nearly 100 percent of the juveniles convicted or being tried, and jail staff and prosecutors of the children, had no knowledge about the Juvenile Justice System and Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000 in Pakistan. Over 450 women along with their children were being kept in Adiala jail and there was no one to assist them.
Most provincial governments reportedly failed to
provide lawyers to the young offenders.
In July 2005, it was reported that
There were reportedly only three juvenile prisons
in the country i.e. in
Even in police custody children were subjected to
sexual violence. On 17 February 2005, a 17-year-old youth accused two
officials, Waheed and Jamshed of the Civil Lines Police station in
Under the JJSO, no child can be handcuffed, put in fetters or given any corporal punishment. In November 2005, 14-year-old Sher Afzal, son of Shahbaz of Gulshan, who was arrested by Mirpurkhas town police in Sindh colony for alleged stealing was handcuffed and produced twice before the first judicial magistrate with handcuffs.
The JJSO had no overriding effect in Federally
Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and
Children were also held in illegal detention. On 26 September 2005, judicial magistrate-I of Nawabshah in Sindh raided the Daur police station and recovered 11-year-old Irshad Ali Zardari from illegal detention.
Children were also taken as hostages. On 24
November 2005, a police team from Badami Bagh police station in
According to official statistics, there were more
than three million children engaged in tedious, often dangerous, occupations in
According to the Society for the Protection of the
Rights of the Child, more than 120,000 children in
According to a report by the Central Jail Staff
Training Institute, in August 2005, there were 86,194 prisoners in 81 jails of
An estimated 49,375 of the 86,194 or over 55%
prisoners were under-trial prisoners. Punjab had the highest number of
under-trial prisoners with 27,182 male and 585 female prisoners, followed by
Sindh with 14,868 male and 205 female prisoners,
On 3 February 2005, Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights decided to pay surprise visits to prisons with special reference to human rights violation in prisons. The Senators reportedly visited many jails in all the provinces and submitted their final recommendations. But these had little impact. On 26 October 2005, Supreme Court ordered Inspector General of Punjab Prisons to submit a detailed report within two weeks on allegations made by an under-trial prisoner of corruption, misuse of power, providing drugs to prisoners and sodomising of the juvenile prisoners.
Earlier in July 2005, the Supreme Court of Pakistan formed a judicial committee consisting of the attorney general and all the four provincial advocate generals to formulate recommendations for improving the condition of jails and prisoners and submit its report to the court. The Court directed to submit the complete data and statistics about prisoners and the facilities given to them in their respective provincial jails.
A delegation of the Federal Law, Justice and Human
Rights Ministry and some local reporters during a visit in September 2005 found
that a majority of prisoners in Kotlakpat Central jail in
Prisoners resorted to strikes to protest against the denial of basic facilities. On 12 May 2005, hundreds of prisoners in Central Jail-I and II, Sukkur protested against Ashiq Bozdar, Jail Superintendent and Jailer Pirzada and other officials for looting cash amounting to Rs 15 million from the prisoners during search operation in the first week of May 2005, not providing them food, water and electricity. The prioners took 10 jail staff as hostages. One prisoner Taj Mohammad Pathan was killed and 25 others were injured in firing and tear gas shelling by security forces and police. About 170 prisoners of the Mach jail in Balochistan province reportedly started hunger strike on 30 June 2005 to protest against violations of the jail manual by the jail authorities.
In the Sargodha District Jail, security forces resorted to teargas shelling and firing on 2 September 2005 following tortured to death of an under- trial prisoner, Ashraf Ali. Prisoners reportedly took his body in their possession and demanded suspension and arrest of the entire jail staff. While police tried to take possession of the body, protesting inmates broke open the locks of some barracks. The prisoners held three jail-staffers hostage at the jail mosque. Five constables and about a dozen inmates were injured in police firing.
The prison authorities sought to hide torture
perpetrated on the prisoners. The Supreme Court ordered exhumation of the body
of prisoner Sardar Ali, who was detained illegally in New Central Jail,
On 20 October 2005, Justice Sheikh Abdur Rashid of
the Lahore High Court ordered prosecution of three personnel of the Central
The conditions of female prisoners remained more despicable. No lady doctor has been appointed for the women’s section of the Peshwar central prison since 2003. District and Session judge Shahjehan Akhunzada during her visit to the jail in June 2005 expressed concern about the lack of a lady doctor and prepared a detailed report on the plight of prisoners. Most of the female convicts and under-trial prisoners have small kids and suckling babies with them who needed special attention.
The root causes of the Balochistan imbroglio pre-date General Musharraf’s regime and yet remain unaddressed. Upon assumption of Presidency in October 1999, General Pervez Musharraf promised to, among other things, work towards “strengthening the federation, removing inter-provincial disharmony and restoring national cohesion” but six years later, his promises remained unfulfilled. On the other hand, the federal government has been using regular troops and paramilitary forces for “strengthening the federation”. The launching of mega projects and constructions of new army cantonments in the province without taking into account local and provincial sensitivities further increased the conflict.
The Balochistan crisis exploded after
On 29 September 2004, a Parliamentary Committee headed by Pakistan Muslim League, President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain was formed “to examine the current situation in Balochistan and make recommendations thereon.” The committee was subsequently divided into two sub-committees - one headed by Wasim Sajjad to examine the question of provincial autonomy and the other headed by Hussein Sayed was mandated to address the immediate crisis in the province.
In March 2005, the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Balochistan headed by Wasim Sajjad recommended complete revision of the concurrent list, announcement of the National Finance Commission award before budget, biannual meetings of the Council of Common Interests and distribution of federal resources on the basis of poverty, backwardness, unemployment and development level of provinces instead of the existing criterion of population.
The Parliamentary Sub-Committe on Balochistan headed by senator Mushahid Hussain, recommended increase in gas royalty and surcharge; maximum representation to the province on the boards of the oil and gas companies operating in the province; implementation of the job quota of the Baloch; shifting of the Gwadar Port Authority head office to Balochistan; seven per cent of the gross port revenue to go to the province; training of local youth for jobs; probing of allotment of lands by a judicial body; construction of highways; announcement of National Finance Commission; taking of Confidence Building Measures such as keeping the visibility of the armed forces low; not disbanding the levy forces; holding in abeyance the construction of cantonments at Gwadar, Dera Bugti and Kohlu; harnessing water resources; maintaining Baloch-Pakhtoon parity in every respect - in terms of population and the regions.
A high-powered committee formed to implement the recommendations of the parliamentary committee on Balochistan held only two meetings in 2005. None of the recommendations was implemented.
While President Musharaff was visiting the area,
eight rockets were fired on 14 December 2005 at a paramilitary base on the
outskirts of the town of
There were also consistent and credible reports of repression of the political opposition by the police. On the night of 3 March 2005, police reportedly entered houses in Killi Qamrani suburb of the city in Quetta and apprehended 26 members of the Balochistan National Party (Mengal), the Jamhoori Watan Party and the National Party for opposing the construction of large projects in Balochistan.
On 31 March 2005, the
In response to a petition by Mir Noor Jan whose son Imdad Baloch, a student of Bolan Medical College, Quetta, was allegedly picked up, along with Allah Nazar, Nawaz Ali, Akhtar Nadeem and some others on 26 March 2005, a Deputy Attorney-General gave an undertaking to a Sindh High Court bench on 26 July 2005 that the interior and defence secretaries would file their personal affidavits regarding detention of three activists of the Baloch Students Organisation. The police and other law-enforcement agencies were not disclosing their whereabouts.
Two daughters of Sher Muhammad Baloch of Lyari area
Tribals living in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) continued to suffer from discriminatory laws, in particular the colonial-era Frontier Crime Regulation (FCR) of 1872. Section 21 of the FCR empowers the political agent to order: - a) seizure, wherever they may be found, of all or any of the members of such tribe and of all or any property belonging to them or any of them; b) the detention in safe custody of any person or property so seized; c) confiscation of any such property; and, with like sanction, by public proclamation; d) debar all or any member of the tribe from all access into the (country); and e) prohibit all or any person within the limits of British India from all intercourse or communication of any kind whatsoever, or of any specified kind or kinds, with such tribe or any section or members thereof.
Tribals living in FATA or tribal areas were deprived of the benefits of the judicial system such as the Supreme Court and High Court. Article 247 (7) of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan bars jurisdiction of these courts in the tribal areas. The Political Agent or Assistant Agents (APA) whimsically invoked the provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code alongwith the provisions of FCR against the accused but they cannot be challenged before the Supreme Court or High Court. This has resulted in miscarriage of justice.
On 30 June 1990, two tribesmen Tahir Khan and Nabi Hussain Bangash were sentenced to undergo a total of 42 years rigorous imprisonment on different counts by an assistant political agent of Kurram Agency under the Frontier Crimes Regulation on charges of carrying explosives. The Assistant Political Agent had also imposed Rs 1,50,000 fine on each of them and in default to undergo imprisonment of another 12 years. They have already completed 14 years of jail term but shall have to undergo 28 more years plus another term of 12 years each for failure to pay fines, as both are poor and cannot arrange the fine. Whereas under section 35 of the Criminal Procedure Code, sentence on different counts in one case should not exceed 25 years imprisonment.
In May 2005, tribal elder and political activist
Fazl Hameedwas arrested by the
In the war against terror,
The War Against Terror raised questions about
administration of justice in
Anti-terror laws were extensively used against the
political opponents. On 31 March 2005, Kabuli police in University Town in
Peshawar of NWF Province reportedly arrested 37 persons including Pukhtoonkhwa
Milli Awami Party (PMAP) central vice-president Arbab Mujeeb and provincial
president Mukhtiar Khan Yousafzai and charged them under section 6/7 of the
Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, read with sections 353, 341, 342, 324, 427, 148 and
149 of the Pakistan Penal Code. The police claimed that the detainees were
caught damaging public property and terrorized common people while trying to
enforce the strike called by the organisation. Some of the arrested accused
were small-time vendors and were illegally arrested after an enraged mob
ransacked public property on the
On 3 April 2005, local police arrested as many as
59 activists of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, including its local leaders of
In early June 2005, Sindh police arrested the representative of the Sindh assembly Zahid Bhurgari on fabricated charges under the anti-terrorist law.
In order to deny bail to the accused, in July 2005, the Sindh provincial government allowed the police authorities to book under the Anti-Terror law under which police can detain and arrest suspects for 12 months and the arrest cannot be challenged.
Similarly, Swat police in NWFP arrested Altaf
Hussain, Riaz, Ghulam Umer, Gulab Nawab, Tila Rehman, Jalal Hussain and
Mohammad Ayub on 20 July 2005 under section 11-EEE of the Anti-Terrorism Act,
1997 on the ground that they were activists of a defunct religious outfit
called Tanzim Nifaz-e-Shariat Mohammadi but without any criminal charges
against them. While proceeding in a writ petition by the detainees, a Double
Bench of the Peshawar High Court consisting of Chief Justice Tariq Pervez and
Justice Qaim Jan Khan on 5 October 2005, reiterated that a person charged in
criminal cases could be detained under the preventive laws. The NWFP home
secretary reportedly failed to produce any evidence to prove that there was
cause to detain them when asked by the court. The Court rejected the home
secretary’s contention that the detainees were arrested on information that
they continued their association with the banned organisation and ordered that
the petitioners be set free instantly. The NWFP Home Department had reportedly
extended their detention for two months despite the fact that the
On 29 November 2005, law enforcement personnel
allegedly picked up Arif Qasmani from his KDA Scheme residence in
Even children were not spared from abuses under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. A six-year-old girl was reportedly languishing in a Wana prison under the Terrorism Act.
The armed opposition groups targeted the tribal
elders on suspicion of spying or helping the security forces. A large number of
tribal elders were killed in
On 2 June 2005, unidentified assailants from a car
shot dead a tribal leader Sakhi Marjan in the Lawara Mandi area of North
Waziristan Agency. At the time of the incident, the deceased was reportedly
sitting at a shop in Datakhel near the Afghan border when some people in a car
opened fire on him and fled. A few days before the shooting, the deceased had
received anonymous letters, asking him to stop spying for the
On 22 July 2005, armed groups shot dead Chief of
the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe Mir Zalam Khan along with his two brothers and a
nephew near Wana in the
On 5 October 2005, unidentified individuals suspected to be members of armed opposition groups kidnapped and shot dead a tribal elder, Mohammad Alam from Sarwek Langar Khel in sub-division Ladha of the South Waziristan Agency. His dead body was found in a deserted area. Mohammad Alam had allegedly collaborated with security forces in the crackdown on militants hiding in the tribal areas.
On 19 October 2005, Malik Mashad Khan, 55-year-old pro-government chief of the Dotani tribe, who had been kidnapped by masked men from Wana in South Waziristan Agency, was found dead near the Wana bypass. The murders reportedly chopped his head off and threw his body into a dry watercourse.