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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
IV. Judiciary and administration of justice
V. Status of National Human Rights Institutions
VI. Repression on human rights defenders
VII. Freedom of the press
VIII. Violations of the rights of the minorities
IX. Violence against women
a. Restrictions on participation in public life
b. Violence in the name of cultural practices
c. Custodial rape
X. Violations of the rights of the Child
a. Cultural cruelties
b. Juvenile justice
c. Child labour
XI. Violations of the prisoners’ rights
XII. Tribal rights I: Balochistan
XIII. Tribal rights II: FATA region
XIV. War against terror
XV. Violations of International Humanitarian Laws by the Armed Opposition Groups


I. Ranking in Human Rights Violators Index: 5th

Ruled by quasi-military dictatorship of President General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan continued to face democratisation problems with President Musharraf showing no interest to shed his uniform. While the constitutional court i.e. the Supreme Court had been accused of validating the military regime, the High Courts and the subordinate courts were found to be quite active in redressing violations of fundamental rights of the citizens. Such contradictions in the face of gross and widespread human rights violations put Pakistan at No. 5 SAARC Human Rights Violators Index 2006, behind Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

II. Political Freedom

Repression of the political opponents by the ruling parties has been a part of the military regimes. Thousands of activists of the opposition Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) were subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention by the regime of General Pervez Musharraf. Former chairman of ARD, Mr Makhdoom Javed Hashmi who was arrested, tried in a Kangaroo court and convicted on 13 April 2004 for 23 years jail term on various counts in an alleged sedition case, continued to remain in prison.

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 Sargodha in Punjab for staging a motorcycle rally and distributing handbills in favour of their proposed wheel jam strike on 2 April 2005.[1] Over 2,000 MMA activists, including two Members of National Assembly and two Members of Provincial Assembly were arrested by law enforcement agencies all over Sindh and in Islamabad in raids during the night of 1 April 2005 as a ‘pre-emptive action’ in connection with the MMA’s call for a nationwide strike on 2 April 2005 against inflation and unemployment.[2] On 1 April 2005, police reportedly arrested Senator Raza Mohammad Raza of Pakhtoonkhawa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) along with 27 other political activists in Peshawar for observing a complete strike on a call given by Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement (Ponam) to protest against price-hike, Kalabagh dam and for the restoration of provincial autonomy.[3]

On 13 April 2005, Punjab Police reportedly launched a crackdown against activists and leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in Lahore and arrested around 700 of them, including President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Misbahur Rehman and  75-year-old Paras Jan under Section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order. Police also raided the homes of PPP leaders, Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) Azma Bukhari, MPA Faiza Malik, Naveed Chaudhry, Munir Khan, Hur Bukhari, Altaf Qureshi and MPA Samiullah Khan.[4]

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 Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi.[5] On 18 April 2005, the courts granted bail to hundreds of PPP activists. However, on the ensuing night, the police added Section 7(a) of the Anti-Terrorism Act in the FIRs, charging them of anti-state activities in order to deny them bail.[6]

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.[7]

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[8] and many were implicated in false cases for not doing so.[9]

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 Nishtar Town, Dr. Zahid Akram Nutt by Punjab government.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12]

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.[13]

III. Human rights violations by the security forces

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 United States for interrogation. In a petition before the Sindh High Court, Mohammad Arif submitted that his son-in-law Mohammad Jamil Memon, who went to Swat on a Tablighi visit in January 2005, was allegedly arrested by law enforcement agencies in connection with the US consulate car bombing and conspiracy to assassinate President Pervez Musharraf.[14]

a. Arbitrary, summary and extrajudicial executions

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 Karachi. The bullet hit three people - Nasir, a truck driver and two passers-by Farooq and Tahir. All injured were taken to hospital, where Farooq died.[15]

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.[16]

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[17] in a case of alleged extrajudicial execution of Shah Dost and Kariman on 18 January 2005 in indiscriminate firing.[18]

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.[19]

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 Islamabad for allegedly torturing to dead Amjad Masih, a suspect in an abduction case. Masih, a resident of France Colony in Islamabad was declared brought dead in a hospital[20] and the preliminary medical report confirmed his death as a result of torture.[21]

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.[22]

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 station in Lahore district of Punjab while searching for his brother, Asghar, an alleged dacoit.[23]

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.[24]

Police also used disproportionate force while arresting people. In late November 2005, a team of policemen from Gujjarpura police station in Lahore led by Assistant Sub Inspector Ahmad Din Butt reportedly beat up Minority Councilor Chaman Masih’s wife when she tried to prevent arrest of Mr Masih. She was severely injured and had to be rushed to hospital where doctors declared her dead.[25]

b. Arbitrary arrest and illegal detention

Arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention were common in Pakistan. In 2005, maximum number of cases were reported from Punjab and Sindh provinces. Security agencies, including police were found to have unlawfully detained citizens for multiple reasons. Many were unlawfully detained at the behest of influential rivals, many for extracting illegal gratification, and many others for just to settle personal scores. In the process, the detainees have been denied their constitutional rights and guarantees. Most often, they were tortured and held incommunicado.

The courts in Pakistan, especially Lahore and Sindh High Courts were found to be very sensitive to cases of unlawful detention. While proceeding in a habeaus corpus petition by one Iqbal Bibi of District Jhang in Punjab, Justice Sheikh Abdul Rashid of the Lahore High Court remarked on 13 September 2005 that his court would hold the District Police Officer (DPO) concerned responsible in case any citizen was found illegally detained in any police station within his/her jurisdiction.[26]

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 Pakistan were found to be creating more provisions for arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention especially in the name of war against terror, controlling crimes, maintaining law and order etc. Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhury Pervaiz Elahi announced on 19 May 2005 that his Government authorised the Patrolling Police to detain criminals for 48 hours at the posts, even though it was in conflict with the provisions of Article 10 of the Pakistan Constitution[27] which provides that every person, who is arrested and held in custody, shall be produced before a magistrate within twenty-four hours of such arrest.

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 Pakistan was unprecedented in South Asia. Some of the cases documented by Asian Centre for Human Rights are given below.

On 16 February 2005, Tariq Hashmani, a bailiff appointed by the sessions court in Hyderabad district of Sindh reportedly recovered Mohammad Shahid from the custody of A-section police station in Latifabad. The bailiff did not find any record of Shaid’s detention in the police station.[28]

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.[29]

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 Lahore. The bailiff reported that no case was registered against Rehman and his arrest was not mentioned in the record.[30]

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.[31]

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.[32]

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.[33] 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.[34]

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[35] - 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.[36]

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.[37]

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.[38]

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.[39]

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.[40]

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.[41] 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.[42]

c. Torture, inhuman and degrading treatment

Torture is prohibited under Pakistan’s criminal justice system and Sharia laws. Article 38 of the Law of Evidence provides that “no confession made to a police officer shall be permissible against a person accused of any offence”. Article 39 of the Law of Evidence further provides that “no confession made by any person whilst he is in custody of a police officer unless it be made in the immediate presence of a Magistrate shall be proved as against such person.” Under the Qisas and Diyat Ordinances, causing of hurt by any person to extort “any confession or any information which may lead to the detection of any offence or misconduct” is defined as a distinct punishable offence.

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 Pakistan during 2004, of which 828 victims of such atrocities were men, 180 women, 65 boys and 27 were girls, who were subjected to various sorts of physical abuse by police.[43]

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.[44]

In a case of beastly torture, police officials of Vehari police station of Punjab allegedly sewed the lips of a detainee, Muhammad Hussain using a needle and jute yarn to silence him when he fought with a fellow detainee, tore an officer’s shirt and shouted while being taken to court on 23 June 2005. Confirming that the incident did take place, Malik Muhammad Iqbal, deputy inspector general of police in Multan ordered an investigation on 24 June 2005.[45] On 25 June 2005, seven policemen were suspended.[46]

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 Punjab so that he could not speak up against brutality of the jail staff. Earlier Waheed had the prisoner’s head, beard, moustache and eyebrows shaved off as well.[47] On the other hand, Waheed claimed that Ijaz had sewed his lips by himself to defame the jail staff. The Khanewal Civil Judge Muhammad Iqbal Goraya rejected Mr Waheed’s plea and summoned him and his abettors Habib and Zafar Kamboh on the next day.[48]

On 3 June 2005, ASI Allahditta of North Cantonment police station in Lahore and two accomplices reportedly entered forcibly into the house of one Surraiya and started beating her son, Mohammed Nawaz. Later, the three dragged him to the police station. A medical examination of Nawaz reportedly confirmed torture. Upon an application by Surraiya, Additional Sessions Judge Muhammed Yar Wallana directed the North Cantonment station house officer Khalid Saeed to record the petitioner’s statement in the prescribed register to act in the matter as provided under sections 154 and 155 of Criminal Penal Code. However, the SHO allegedly refused to register a case against the accused ASI Allahditta despite court orders.[49]

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.[50] While one of the brothers, Naseer somehow managed to escape from the labour camp, Farid fell unconscious due to torture and hard labour.[51]

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 Peshawar. He was wanted in a theft case. When his wife, Nazo, who was in an advanced stage of her pregnancy, tried to resist his arrest, the police severely beat her. She received injuries and had to be rushed to the Lady Reading Hospital, where she suffered a miscarriage and also lost her eyesight. Later, she succumbed to her injuries.[52]

IV. Judiciary and administration of justice

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.[53] 

In September 2005, the Supreme Judicial Council formed a committee comprising Pakistan Chief Justice Rana Bhagwandas and Justice Javed Iqbal to draft rules for taking “disciplinary action” against the judges of higher courts. A proposal to amend the code of conduct for judges under article 209 of the constitution was also approved.[54]

In 2005, Pakistan could not adopt any measure for significant legal or judicial reforms. The federal Government introduced Law Reforms Bill 2005[55] and Punjab provincial government introduced the Punjab Criminal Prosecution Service (Constitution, Functions and Power) Bill 2005[56]. Amongst others, the Law Reforms Bill suggested amendments to the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898.[57] At the end of the year, the Law Reforms Bill 2005 was under consideration of the Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights.

Judicial delay was rampant. As of August 2005, there were as many as 0.2 million pending cases in the courts across Pakistan.[58] The Supreme Court had a backlog of over 30,000 cases.[59] 

The Access to Justice Programme introduced in 2001 reduced the numbers of pending criminal cases in the districts where it was implemented.[60] 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.[61]

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 Karachi, was finally acquitted by the court after remaining in prison for more than 17 years without any conviction. Afzal had been facing the trials since 1987. He remained in Lahore jail for almost ten years. Thereafter he was shifted to Karachi jail in May 2004 but since then he was not produced before any court[62] until his release.

The conduct of some subordinate judges was found questionable.[63]

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.[64]

V. Status of National Human Rights Institutions

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.[65]

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 Pakistan”. In view of Pakistan’s ratification of only a few international human rights treaties, the scope of the proposed National Human Rights Commission was severely restricted.

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.

VI. Repression on human rights defenders

Human rights defenders in Pakistan faced threats to their life and liberty from the law enforcement agencies and non-state actors alike, especially for taking up the equality of women and atrocities against minorities. On 12 April 2005, police picked up Aslam Pervaiz Sahotra, President of Bonded Labour Freedom Front Pakistan under Baghbanpura police jurisdiction in Lahore and allegedly tortured him.[66] In August 2005, Khalida Ahmad of an NGO, War Against Rape, was threatened with life for assisting a victim of rape. Those who were accused of rape threatened her.[67]

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.[68]

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.[69] In September 2005, Additional district and sessions judge Lahore directed Deputy Inspector General, Lahore to arrest SHO Gulberg for his failure to appear before him during the hearing of Asma Jahangir’s complaint on 30 July 2005. Earlier, the court had issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of the said SHO, directing Senior Superintdent of Police (operation) to arrest and produce him before the court. But SSP did not do so.[70]

On 4 June 2005, a heavy contingent of the Karachi and Hyderabad police raided the house of Jam Saqi, an activist and council member of the HRCP and senior political leader. During the raid at his house at Naseem Nagar, Qasimabad, the police arrested his wife Akhter Sultana on the charge of kidnapping her six-year-old nephew (sister’s son) Mohammed Rafi for ransom. It was claimed that Jan Saqi’s arrest was an act of revenge by Sindh Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim for Jam Saqi’s investigative report on behalf of HRCP which found that members of a sizable Hindu community were being oppressed by the Chief Minister’s relatives.[71]

VII. Freedom of the press

The journalists in Pakistan were target of violence both by the State and the armed opposition groups. At least 120 journalists were allegedly attacked by law enforcement agencies, political activists and fundamentalists groups in 2005. This was in comparison to 70 journalists being attacked in 2004.[72] On 7 February 2005, Amir Nawab Khan, a cameraman with a broadcast news agency, APTN and a reporter with Pakistani daily The Frontier Post, and Allah Noor Wazir, reporter with Pakistani Khyber TV, The Nation and German news agency DPA, were killed in an ambush near Wana, South Waziristan. They were returning from Sararogha, South Waziristan after covering the surrender of Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud to the Pakistani authorities.[73]

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”.[74] 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.[75]

On 2 March 2005, PEMRA ordered the BBC World Service to halt its Urdu-language news programmes relayed to Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad via the radio station Mast FM103.[76] On 14 November 2005, police accompanied by representatives of the PEMRA seized Mast FM 103’s transmitter and antennae in Karachi and closed down the radio station for broadcasting BBC’s earthquake programmes.[77]

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.[78]

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 Islamabad. At least 9 journalists were injured in police lathi-charge in Lahore.[79]

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.[80]

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.[81]

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 Pakistan on 3 August 2005.[82]

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.[83] On 28 July 2005, the Education Department served a similar notice to Dr Ajmal Niazi, an associate professor of Urdu at Government College Lahore Township for writing articles.”[84]

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 Afghanistan. Hayatullah Khan was on his way to report on a protest against a missile  attack on a house in the village of Haisori in North Waziristan on 1 December 2005 that killed alleged Al-Qaida operative Abu Hamza Rabia. Hayatullah Khan had challenged the official account of the death by the missile attack and raised the sensitive issue of the US army’s participation in the fight against terrorism in Pakistan.[85] It was widely suspected that he might have been abducted by members of the security forces.[86] Hayatullah Khan’s whereabouts could not be known till the end of 2005.

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 Karachi to protest against an interview with the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, Shimon Peres. The attackers manhandled the security guards, damaged furniture and smashed windows. Seven vehicles parked outside were also damaged. The attackers, chanting ‘Allah-u-Akbar’, set fire to the main reception on the ground floor and ransacked newspaper and Geo TV offices on the first floor.[87]

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.[88]

VIII. Violations of the rights of the minorities

Religious minorities continued to be target of the fanatics. In a grenade attack on the Protestant International Church situated at the Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad on 17 March 2005, suspected Islamic fundamentalists killed five persons and injured 42 others.[89]

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.[90] 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.[91] At least 60 persons were accused of blasphemy between January and July 2005.[92] Of these 60, formal charges were leveled against 53 persons, while seven were acquitted.[93] 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.[94]

The alleged desecration of the Koran invited street justice. On 19 April 2005, angry mobs in Nowshera district in North-West Frontier Province reportedly chased Aasheq Nabi and shot him dead for allegedly burning the Holy Quran. The local police had already registered a case of blasphemy against him.[95]

On 28 June 2005, Muslim mobs attacked about 200 Christian homes in three areas near Peshawar after Yousaf Masih, a former sweeper in the army, was asked by an army major to burn a bag of papers which also allegedly contained pages from the Holy Koran. Yousaf Masih was illiterate and did not recognize the pages from the Holy Koran. But other workers saw him burning the pages of Holy Koran. Police arrested Yousaf Masih under the blasphemy laws on 29 June 2005.[96]

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.[97] 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.[98] By 11 September 2005, some 50 Christian families fled the area due to fear of attacks.[99]

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 Lahore had to remain in hiding to escape death threats from the Lashkar-e-Taiba after he was acquitted on charges of blasphemy by a court in December 2004. Masih had been arrested in July 2004 after a Christian convert to Islam allegedly reported to police that Masih insulted his Islamic beard.[100]

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 Islamabad on 16 March 2005 and beat up the worshippers. They were allegedly against the construction of the church, which was situated at a distance of about 100 metres from the mosque.[101] On the night of 12 April 2005, Shahbaz Masih, a Christian in Chak 2 (South) near Mandi Bahauddin district of Punjab was tortured for not reciting the kalma.[102]

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.[103] 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.[104]

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.[105] 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.[106] 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.[107]

IX. Violence against women

In South Asia, the condition of women was the most deplorable in Pakistan. They continue to be victimized under the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance of 1979. Under the Hudood Ordinance, victims of rape face insurmountable legal barriers to securing a conviction of the accused, including production of at least four adult male Muslim eyewitnesses, who must be truthful persons and abstain from major sins (kabair) and have physically seen the act of rape against the victim in order to prove her case. If unable to prove rape, a woman who goes to the police is vulnerable to prosecution as the Ordinance considers sexual intercourse as adultery whether it is with or without the consent of a woman, who is not married with the man.

About 80% of the women prisoners in the jails were victims of the Hudood Ordinance relating to adultery, rape, kidnapping and abduction.[108] 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.[109]

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.[110]

a. Restrictions on participation in public life

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.[111] 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.[112]

Similarly in July 2005, political parties in Lower and Upper Dir districts barred women from contesting local body elections.[113]

In a worst case, Zubaida Begum, a former union council member in Daroda village in Upper Dir district of North West Frontier Province was assassinated in August 2005 for ignoring the warning not to participate in politics. Her 19-year-old daughter Shumaila was seriously injured.[114] During her first stint as a member of Union Council from 2000-2005, Zubaida Begum faced stiff opposition from the local tribesmen and religious fundamentalists.[115]

Pakistan established the first ever women’s police station in Islamabad in 1994. However, women police officials were not allowed to investigate criminal cases.[116] All the 268 cases that had been registered in the women’s police station since its inception, including the five cases registered during 2005, were investigated by male police officials.[117]

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.[118]

b. Violence in the name of cultural practices

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.[119]

The much vaunted Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2004 against “honour killings” failed to address the issue of impunity for violence against women.[120] It only enhanced punishments. However, under Qisas and Dayat Ordinance, relatives could pardon and exonerate alleged killers.[121] 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.[122]

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.[123]

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.[124]

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 Punjab province, as punishment for alleged rape of a Mastoi girl by Mai’s 12-year-old brother Shakoor that had allegedly brought shame to the Mastoi clan. At the trial court, it was revealed that the 12-year-old boy had in fact been kidnapped and sodomised by the same men who later made up the jury that convicted him. The Mai family had threatened to report the matter to the police and hence meted out barbaric punishment.[125] On 28 June 2005, a Supreme Court Bench of Pakistan overturned the Lahore High Court judgement that released five accused in the gang rape of Muktar Mai.[126]

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 Mitro Town in district Vehari of Punjab and beat him and his wife. They shot in the air to scare away the neighbours. Then the five assailants allegedly stripped Saifal’s daughter and dragged her naked into the street because they suspected a boy from their family of having a love affair with her.[127]

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 Chenab where she was gang-raped for three consecutive days to avenge an alleged affair of one of victim’s male cousins with a woman whose father disapproved of the relationship. Six men have been arrested in connection with the attack.[128]

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 Multan district of Punjab as punishment for her brother’s suspected affair with his wife.[129] Police arrested the seven assailants.[130]

c. Custodial rape

Custodial rape remained a serious problem in

Pakistan. Victims of rape who approached the police were subjected to custodial rape by the law enforcement personnel.

In April 2005, two policemen – a sub-inspector and a constable in Sialkot town in Punjab – allegedly confined Ms. Nazish Bhatti, a gangrape victim, in illegal custody and raped her for seven days. According to the victim, who is a first-year student of a girls’ college in Sialkot, she was kidnapped by some “influential” people, who kept her hostage for over three weeks and gangraped her. She reportedly managed to escape from their captivity and straight away reached the police station only to be illegally confined and raped for seven days by the two accused policemen.[131]

In May 2005, two boys and two girls were reportedly taken into custody by Shahzad Town police Station in Islamabad. The girls were allegedly raped while the boys Tahir and Billa were released after  a bribe of Rs. 29,000 was given. Following news reports about the incident in some national dailies on 22 May 2005, the Islamabad District Authorities reportedly constituted a two-member judicial committee comprising Additional Deputy Commissioner General Zafar Iqbal Awan and Rural Circle Assistant Commissioner Sajid Chauhan to inquire into the allegations.[132]

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.[133]

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 Punjab for trying to expose Superintendent of Police, Khalid Abdullah’s excesses on her husband and other family members. Sonia alleged that Inspector Jamshed Chishti raped her in the presence of SP Khalid Abdullah. A Punjab Police inquiry committee comprising provincial investigation Deputy Inspector General of Police Zafar Qureshi concluded, “As regards the allegation of rape, there are sufficient grounds for registration of an FIR and subsequent investigation.” Yet, the Punjab government did not implement the recommendations of Zafar Qureshi inquiry committee. Instead DIG Zafar Qureshi was victimized by the Punjab government first by removing him from investigation department and then by transferring him to Surveillance and Inspection department without any office, staff, phone and car, and then by withholding his promotion from BPS-19 to BPS-20. Finally Punjab Police ordered that his services were not required and he should stay at home till further orders.[134] On 17 October 2005, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of Sonia Naz’s case and ordered the immediate arrest of SP Khalid Abdullah, Inspector Jamshed Chishti and eight other policemen on charges of abduction, torture and rape of Sonia Naz.[135] On 24 November 2005, the district and sessions court in Lahore granted bail to SP Khalid Abdullah and Inspector Jamshed Chisti.[136] Sonia Naz alleged that since their release, hired assassins were let loose to kill her. Yet, the IGP Punjab Major Ziaul Hassan refused, in writing, to provide her security.[137]

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,[138] 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.[139]

X. Violations of the rights of the Child

The conditions of the children in Pakistan remained deplorable. There were consistent and credible reports of sexual abuse, forced marriages of children, corporal punishments in schools and home, illegal detention, torture and maltreatment of children in prisons etc.

a. Cultural cruelties

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 Nishtar Hospital in Multan in critical condition. The local landlord, however, did not let Safia’s parents take the case to the police.[140]

In December 2005, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the Inspector Generals of Police of Punjab and North West Frontier Province to protect the girls and women given in marriage under the illegal custom of ‘vani’.[141]  For centuries, the custom of vani or delivering justice to the wronged party has been followed and girls were often “given away” in marriage to the aggrieved party for reconciliation of a dispute between two rival clans or tribes or to facilitate out-of-court settlement.

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 Punjab decided that once 2-year- old Rabia crossed her 14th birthday, she would have to marry now 40-year-old Altaf Hussain of the said village. Rabia’s uncle Muhammad Akmal was accused of sleeping with Husain’s wife. After an hour-long deliberation, the elders found him guilty and fined him Rs. 230,000 and ordered to marry his niece, Rabia, to Altaf Hussain once she passed her 14th birthday.[142]

On 6 August 2005, five-year-old Asia and six-year-old Fauzia, both daughters of Muhammad Khan under Wan Bhachran police limits in Mianwali district of Punjab were reportedly married off to 18-year-old Amir and 8-year-old Islam respectively as a reconciliation of a dispute that originated in 1955 between Sheray Khel and rival Joaiey Khel tribe.[143]

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 Fatima (7) – with the boys of the aggrieved family. However the nikahs were not registered. While the girls have become educated, all the five boys were illiterate. One of the girls was a student of MA (English) and did not agree to live with their “so-called” spouses. On the other hand, the family of the boys claimed that they had a right to the girls because “they were given to them under “Vani”.[144]

b. Juvenile justice

Plight of the children in conflict with the law in Pakistan remained deplorable. Government sources claimed that there were 2,200 juvenile prisoners in different jails in Pakistan as of 22 December 2005.[145] However, independent sources put the figure at more than 4,000.[146]

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.[147]  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.[148] Over 450 women along with their children were being kept in Adiala jail and there was no one to assist them.[149]

Most provincial governments reportedly failed to provide lawyers to the young offenders.[150] In July 2005, it was reported that Punjab government failed to provide lawyers to 28 juveniles jailed, some of whom have been in detention for two months without being produced before the court even once.[151] North West Frontier Province had acute shortage of Probation Officers.[152]

There were reportedly only three juvenile prisons in the country i.e. in Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad. No such facilities existed in the NWFP and Balochistan.[153] In the absence of separate accommodation, juveniles were kept with adult prisoners, some of whom were hardened criminals and murder convicts. Mohammad Haroon, a 17-year-old juvenile offender alleged that children were sexually abused and taken at night for adult prisoners.[154]

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 Rawalpindi of subjecting him to brutal physical torture, burning different parts of his body with cigarettes and committing sodomy after arresting him in a false drugs case. He made the allegations before Judicial Magistrate Asma Tehseen.[155]

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.[156]

The JJSO had no overriding effect in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and North West Frontier Province, and children as young as two years continued to be arrested and convicted under the colonial era Frontier Crime Regulations. In early July 2005, authorities of North West Frontier Province reportedly illegally detained and convicted 15 children and women belonging to the family of an alleged criminal, under the collective responsibility clause of the Frontier Crimes Regulations. The victims include Hukam Jana, wife of Qadir Khan, five of her six children Mohammad Siddique, 9 years, Khalil Mohammad 3 years, Razmeena 2 years, Wazir Azam 6 years and Islam Bibi 7 years, all of whom were sentenced for three years. One-year-old Khair Mohammad was also with his mother Hukam Jana. The other victims are Khair Bibi, wife of Arsal Khan alongwith with four of her five children viz., Wasil Khan, 10 years, Commissioner Khan 6 years, Shawal Bibi, 5 years and Eman Bibi, 7 years, was convicted for three years. Baby Amrozia was with her mother. Another woman, Tika Bibi, wife of Laees Khan alongwith her baby Momina and 70 years old mother-in-law Sanamullah Bibi, w/o Yaar Mohammad Khan were also detained in the Central Jail, Bannu.[157]

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.[158]

Children were also taken as hostages. On 24 November 2005, a police team from Badami Bagh police station in Lahore led by ASI Asghar Ali came to the Choudhry Baghdin village under Satellite town police, Mirpurkhas, to arrest Mohammad Aslam, an accused in a case of theft of gold ornaments. Not finding the accused, the police took away his 14-year-old nephew, Master Amjad Ali, son of Ghulam Mustafa, to Lahore. Later, the Badami Bagh police implicated 14-year-old Amjad Ali in a false case of stealing Rs 20,000 and sent him to Lahore jail. The three police officers of Badami Bagh police, ASI Azizur Rehman and constables, Amjad Farooq and Zulfikar were later arrested under sections 218, 451, 343, 109, 365 and 34 of Pakistan Penal Code.[159]

c. Child labour

According to official statistics, there were more than three million children engaged in tedious, often dangerous, occupations in Pakistan. Independent estimates put the figure of child labourers at 10 million. Children as young as four and five years continued to be employed in backbreaking tasks for long hours, and at great risk to their health.[160]

According to the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, more than 120,000 children in Pakistan were employed as industrial workers or earning livelihood as scavengers. The report stated that out of them, 106,500 rummage through the waste produced by the affluent in big cities while the rest toil in the glass bangles industry in Hyderabad, tanneries in Kasur, surgical instrument units in Sialkot or dig coal in Chakwal, Nowshera and Shangla districts.[161]

XI. Violations of the prisoners’ rights

According to a report by the Central Jail Staff Training Institute, in August 2005, there were 86,194 prisoners in 81 jails of Pakistan against the authorized capacity of 36,825.[162] In December 2005, Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao stated that Pakistan had three times more prisoners than the authorised capacity. By December 2005, there were 53,000 prisoners in 30 jails of Punjab against sanctioned capacity of 17,637. In 19 jails of Sindh, there were 19,700 against sanctioned capacity of 8,000 prisoners. In 10 jails of Balochistan, 26,000 prisoners were detained against sanctioned capacity of 1800 prisoners.[163]

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, Northwest Frontier Province with 5,310 male and 212 female under-trial prisoners, and Balochistan having 992 male and 21 female under-trial prisoners.[164]

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.[165] The Senators reportedly visited many jails in all the provinces and submitted their final recommendations.[166] 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.[167]

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.[168]

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 Lahore were suffering from scabies and other skin diseases, caused by overcrowding. A majority of the female inmates were suffering from Hepatitis.[169] Tuberculosis was spreading at an alarming rate in the jail.[170]

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.[171] 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.[172]

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.[173] Five constables and about a dozen inmates were injured in police firing.[174]

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, Multan and allegedly died of torture. Post-mortem by a medical board found the death as unnatural.[175]

On 20 October 2005, Justice Sheikh Abdur Rashid of the Lahore High Court ordered prosecution of three personnel of the Central Jail, Faisalabad, including the superintendent and deputy-superintendent for severely torturing a prisoner Mohammad Ghufran making him almost disabled.[176]

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.[177]

XII. Tribal rights I: Balochistan

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.[178] 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.[179]

The Balochistan crisis exploded after Pakistan government launched full scale military operations in December 2005. In early January 2005, similar military operation was carried out to suppress the armed protests by the tribal militias, consisting mainly of tribesman against the gang rape of a doctor, Shazia Khalid on 7 January 2005 allegedly by an Army officer.[180] The region has been highly militarized, as Pakistan reportedly established one paramilitary post for every 500 people.[181]

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.[182] 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 Kohlu, a stronghold of the Marri tribe. Three days later, security forces began aerial bombardment of Kohlu. Hundreds have been allegedly killed since 17 December 2005. Jamhoori Watan Party Chief and former Governor and Chief Minister of Balochistan, Nawab Akber Bugti alleged that 80 to 85% of those either killed or injured were women and children.[183] The fighting caused widespread damage to buildings, and 85 percent of the 25,000 or so people of Dera Bugti were forced to flee the town.[184] The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan found number of  cases of arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, extrajudicial executions, disappearances and use of excessive force by security and intelligence agencies since early 2005. Amongst the victims were women, children and many political activists.[185]

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.[186]

On 31 March 2005, the University Town police in Peshawar arrested 13 leaders and activists of the Pukhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance. They were charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, and various other provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code. The PMAP activists were arrested along with 24 other people during the strike observed by the Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement on that day.[187]

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.[188] The police and other law-enforcement agencies were not disclosing their whereabouts.[189]

Two daughters of Sher Muhammad Baloch of Lyari area in Karachi – Ms Arifa and Saba Baloch – reportedly disappeared after their arrest from Swat on 4 June 2005 by Pakistan security and intelligence officials. They have not been produced before the court since their arrest. Neither their parents had any access to them.[190] On 16 September 2005, an intelligence agency reportedly dropped Ms. Gul Hamdana, mother-in-law of Saba Baloch near the Daewoo company bus-stand in Peshawar from alleged illegal detention for more than three months while her son Bilal Ahmad  and the Baloch sisters were allegedly in the custody of the intelligence agency.[191]

XIII. Tribal rights II: FATA region

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.[192]

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.[193]

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.[194]

In May 2005, tribal elder and political activist Fazl Hameedwas arrested by the North Waziristan authorities under the FCR in May 2005. He was kept in illegal detention and was not reportedly produced before any court till November 2005.[195]

In the war against terror, Pakistan has launched massive war against Al-Qaeda suspects in the FATA region and extensively invoked the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.

XIV. War against terror

The War Against Terror raised questions about administration of justice in Pakistan. Hundreds of suspects were held incommunicado. In an interview to The Herald magazine in October 2005, Pakistan Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao stated that Pakistan security agencies had arrested over 600 foreign nationals since September 2001.[196] Many were handed over to the United States for interrogation without trial.

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 University Road.[197]

On 3 April 2005, local police arrested as many as 59 activists of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, including its local leaders of Faislabad in Punjab in connection with a strike call by it and booked them under the Anti-Terrorism Act.[198]

In early June 2005, Sindh police arrested the representative of the Sindh assembly Zahid Bhurgari on fabricated charges under the anti-terrorist law.[199]

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.[200]

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 Swat Anti-Terrorism Court judge had already issued their release order on bail.[201]

On 29 November 2005, law enforcement personnel allegedly picked up Arif Qasmani from his KDA Scheme residence in Karachi for his suspected links with Al Qaeda and Taliban but his whereabouts remained untraced. No case was registered against him, nor was he produced before a magistrate for remand. The police even denied having arrested Arif when his wife, Javeria Arif informed them.[202]

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.[203]

XV. Violations of International Humanitarian Laws by the Armed Opposition Groups

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 Waziristan.

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 US or face consequences.[204]

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 South Waziristan. Mir Zalam Khan was considered a staunch supporter of the government in the military operation against armed groups and was one of the 30 tribal elders whom the armed groups warned to withdraw support from the government or face consequences.[205]

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.[206]

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.[207]

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