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.

Pakistan Newsroom

May 25, 2018 • Press Release

Pakistan: Historic rights advances for tribal areas and transgender people

Pakistan has secured historic advances for the rights of people in the tribal areas along the Afghan border with the passage of a new constitutional amendment that breaks with disgraceful laws rooted in the colonial era, Amnesty International said today. The passage of the constitutional amendment marks the second time this month that the Pakistani …

May 15, 2018 • Report

Pakistan: Campaign of hacking, spyware and surveillance targets human rights defenders

Human rights defenders in Pakistan are under threat from a targeted campaign of digital attacks, which has seen social media accounts hacked and computers and mobile phones infected with spyware, a four-month investigation by Amnesty International reveals. In a new report released today, “Human Rights Under Surveillance: Digital Threats against Human Rights Defenders in Pakistan”, …

April 18, 2018 • Report

Trump threat puts European role in lethal US drone strikes under new scrutiny

As the Trump administration prepares to further expand the US’s lethal drone program, increasing the risk of civilian casualties and unlawful killings, Amnesty International is calling on four European countries to urgently overhaul the crucial operational and intelligence assistance they provide to the program. Amnesty International and others have documented cases, under successive US administrations, where …

July 27, 2017 • Press Release

Village council ‘revenge’ rape order must prompt urgent reforms in Pakistan

The rape of a teenage girl ordered by a village council in ‘revenge’ for a rape allegedly committed by her brother is the latest in a long series of horrific incidents and must lead to urgent reforms, said Amnesty International today.

June 12, 2017 • Press Release

Pakistan: Quash conviction and death sentence for alleged blasphemy in Facebook post

Responding to an Anti-Terrorism court’s decision to convict and sentence to death a man for allegedly posting content on Facebook deemed to be ‘blasphemous,’ Amnesty International’s Pakistan campaigner, Nadia Rahman, said:

December 20, 2016 • Report

As good as dead: The impact of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are often used against religious minorities and others who are the target of false accusations, while emboldening vigilantes prepared to threaten or kill the accused, a new Amnesty International report says today.

November 4, 2016 • Press Release

Pakistan: Deportation of iconic National Geographic Afghan girl is a grave injustice

Reaction to Pakistan's decision to deport Sharbat Gula, the iconic 'Afghan girl' whose striking portrait adorned a 1985 cover of National Geographic magazine

October 31, 2016 • Press Release

Pakistan: End the crackdown on opposition protests

Pakistan’s authorities must immediately and unconditionally release hundreds of opposition activists, lift restrictions on their movement and take all appropriate measures to ensure that people are allowed to exercise their right to peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said today. The organization’s calls come as Pakistan’s authorities have intensified their crackdown on supporters of Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf …

October 11, 2016 • Press Release

Pakistan: Drop travel ban on Dawn journalist

Pakistan’s authorities must immediately revoke a travel ban on a leading journalist and allow the media to operate freely and without fear, Amnesty International said today. Cyril Almeida, assistant editor of Dawn newspaper, was placed on Pakistan’s Exit Control List by the Pakistani authorities after the Prime Minister’s Office took exception to a front page …

September 26, 2016 • Press Release

Pakistan: Stop execution of death row prisoner with mental disability

Pakistan’s authorities must not execute Imdad Ali, a death row prisoner with a history of mental illness, Amnesty International said today.