Islamabad [Pakistan], May 10 (ANI): Pakistan is facing one of its most severe human rights crises amidst the country’s prevailing political and economic chaos.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, in its latest report, has highlighted the failure of the legislature, judiciary and executive in fulfilling their duty to safeguard citizens from political and economic exploitation.
The incidents of enforced disappearances, the safety of religious minorities or lack thereof, and the diminishing rights of women and children have remained a grave cause of concern. The year 2022 was chaotic and fatal for the people in Pakistan. The devastating floods last monsoon led to extreme poverty, high inflation, medical crises, and unemployment.
The country’s economy not only took a nose dive, but a political upheaval unfolded following the ousting of former Prime Minister Imran Khan through a no-confidence motion in April of last year.
These calamities added to the woes of the people in Pakistan. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, in its almost 300-page annual report, has raised concerns over Pakistan’s human rights situation — not only economic and political but security as well.
Terrorism-related incidents in the country claimed 533 lives in 2022. The report hit the government hard for their growing intolerance towards dissenting opinions and free speech and for the enforced disappearances of political activists and journalists.
The report also highlighted custodial torture and sedition charges against political opponents, journalists and activists.
Taha Siddiqui, an exiled Pakistani journalist highlighted the dark deeds of the army of Pakistan and said that the reason why enforced disappearances are increasing or this method is used by the military, again the is involved in this is because they do not have a justification for imprisoning people. So they just put them in secret prisons. These are political prisoners but they have no political representation because they are in private prisons and where they are tortured and sometimes even killed.
The instances of enforced disappearances of political activists, journalists and human rights defenders remain a grave concern for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
As per the report, at least 2,210 enforced disappearances cases remained unsolved by the end of 2022. (Source: The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances).
Last year, Punjab reported 57 cases of enforced disappearances, whereas Sindh reported 67 cases, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reported 202, and in Balochistan, a staggering 257 such cases came to light.
The human rights commission also voiced concern over the extrajudicial killings of missing persons in the country.
It cited an incident in July of 2022, when the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI claimed to have killed nine militants in the Ziarat area of Balochistan. However, after protests by the relatives of these missing persons in Quetta, it emerged that five of those killed were forcibly disappeared persons and were not militants.
Munir Mengal, the chairman Baloch Voice Association commented on Pakistan’s way of suppressing its own people and said that Pakistan still thinks that these are the people whom they have to suppress and oppress till they have no muscles. So they are using their muscles to control the land. On the other side, they are using their muscles to control the land. On the other side, the Baloch people are being systematically eliminated, disappeared by force, displaced from their areas, and are facing extrajudicial killing.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also articulated their concern over the country’s decline in the Press Freedom Index, as Pakistan currently ranks 150 among 180 countries and territories across the globe.
The report cited the journalists and the vernacular press who said that they were still compelled to tow the government line and could not report independently for fear of reprisal by state and non-state actors.
People’s issues from Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa received negligible coverage in the mainstream media, especially on private TV news channels.
This was especially true of issues such as the ongoing conflict between the state and Baloch nationalists, grievous human rights violations such as enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, poor governance, as well as matters of economic and social concern.
As the economic and political situation remains grim in Pakistan, the human rights situation is expected to deteriorate, leaving Pakistani citizens with one more area of despair in their already grim lives. (ANI)
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