Pakistan Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

Amnesty International has long been concerned about the persistent pattern human rights violations occurring in Pakistan.  Arbitrary detention, torture, deaths in custody, forced disappearances, and extrajudicial execution are rampant.  The government of Pakistan has failed to protect individuals – particularly women, religious minorities and children – from violence and other human rights abuses committed in the home, in the community, and while in legal custody.  It has failed to ensure legal redress after violations have occurred. In addition, Pakistan continues to impose the death penalty on persons convicted of crimes.

Since 9-11, individuals suspected of having links with “terrorist” organizations have been arbitrarily detained, denied access to lawyers, and turned over to U.S. custody or to the custody of their home country in violation of local and international law.

Recent military operations in North West Frontier Province, the Swat Valley and Waziristan, have resulted in the death and injury of civilians and the displacement of over two million people.

Armed groups, including Pakistani Taleban have committed serious human rights abuses, including direct attacks on civilians, abduction, and hostage-taking, torture, and killings. Women and girls are frequent targets of abuse.

Pakistan Flood Disaster

Catastrophic flooding in Pakistan in August and September has caused devastating damage to housing, infrastructure, livestock, and agricultural lands. The floods have displaced at least twenty million people. One-fifth of the country is estimated to be under water, and in some areas rivers are continuing to burst their banks. At least 1600 people have died, and health officials are warning of a health crisis due to waterborne illnesses. It will take many years and large amounts of aid to rebuild and recover. Millions of those most affected by the flooding were already living below the poverty line and lost everything that they had. Hundreds of thousands have lost small businesses, and millions of farmers may be unable to plant crops in the next planting season. The UN continues to issue urgent appeals for humanitarian aid to help rebuild people's lives.

While Amnesty International does not endorse any particular humanitarian organization, we recognize that all human rights are based on the fulfillment of basic human needs, and we urge you to donate what you can. A list of organizations providing aid to Pakistan's flood victims can be found at the InterAction website.

Judicial Commission on Enforced Disappearances – Update

In March 2010 the Pakistan government created a judicial commission to investigate disappearance cases, with a view to tracing individuals who had been disappeared. At the time of its formation, the Commission was criticized for having a very narrow mandate and for not recording evidence from individuals who had reappeared (in order to learn about the circumstances of their disappearance and to use this information to end impunity). It has also been criticised for its failure to investigate the role of the intelligence agencies, the main body accused of involvement in the disappearances, and to hold officials implicated in cases to account.

The Commission started holding hearings on April 28, 2010 and submitted its finding to the federal government on December 31, 2010, with a request that the government provide a response to the commission's report, and a recommendation that Pakistan's National Assembly should introduce legislation to curb the practice of enforced disappearances. To date, the Commission's report remains classified; authority to make the report public rests with Prime Minister Giliani.

On January 10, 2011, a three-member judges bench of the Supreme Court resumed hearings of disappearances cases . The Judicial Commission's report was presented in the court. During this hearing it was announced that the Commission was able to trace 134 missing persons, interestingly all of these cases are people who recent were disappearance (in 2009-2010). Those who disappeared during the Musharraf era have not been traced.

The cases of Masood Janjua, Faisal Faraz and Atiq-ur Rehman remain open and Amnesty continues to encourage members to work on these cases.