Situation of human rights in Pakistan By: - Articles Detail
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Situation of human rights in Pakistan  Back
Highlights of Human Rights Commission Report 2012

Laws and law-making
The most significant enactments in 2012 included the 20th Constitutional Amendment which was related to electoral matters.
The law for the establishment of a National Commission of Human Rights came into force but remained unimplemented.
The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) became autonomous. It sponsored four bills concerning minority rights but little progress was made concerning their passing.
Bills on accountability, freedom of information, and one aimed at increasing minority seats in the National and Provincial Assemblies failed to complete the legislative process.
No domestic legislation to facilitate implementation of international human rights instruments was possible.
22 Acts were made and eight ordinances issued.

Administration of justice

A state of confrontation between the judiciary and the executive persisted as the Supreme Court extended the limits of judicial activism and the government was found wanting in compliance.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani was convicted of contempt of court and lost his office and seat in the National Assembly. His successor barely escaped the same fate and eventually complied with the SC order.
242 people were awarded the death penalty in 2012.
The Asghar Khan case, regarding the manipulation of the 1990 election by the ISI and a special cell in the presidency, was at last decided. The Supreme Court said that any election cells in the presidency or ISI, MI shall be abolished immediately and legal action initiated against the parties involved in the 1990 rigging.
In the case about the law and order situation in Balochistan, the SC said the Balochistan government had lost the constitutional authority to govern and had to go.
The Memo case caused much sensation but remained undecided.

Law and order

350 police encounters were reported from across the country in 2012 in which 403 suspects were killed.
48 drone attacks took place in FATA in 2012, compared to 74 in 2011. Estimates of casualties varied between 240 and 400.
1,577 terrorist attacks took place across Pakistan in 2012, claiming the lives of 2,050 people and causing injuries to another 3,822. More than 100 Shia Hazaras were killed in Balochistan alone.
At least 2,284 people died in ethnic, sectarian and politically-linked violence in Karachi in 2012.

Jails, prisoners and

While HRCP received reports of 87 persons going missing across Pakistan, 72 were either traced or released. At least 72 dead bodies were recovered from Balochistan of individuals who had gone missing in previous months.
In March, hundreds of attackers blew up the gates of Central Prison in Bannu and succeeded in releasing 384 prisoners, including one who had been on death row for trying to assassinate former president Pervez Musharraf.
There were a total of 75,444 detainees in Pakistan's prisons against the authorised capacity of 44,578.
There were 1,289 juvenile prisoners in jails across the country, and an overwhelming majority of them was under trial.
59 detainees died in the custody of prison authorities in 2012, another 81 were injured and 10 incidents of alleged torture of detainees were reported.
Freedom of movement

In Moharram, the Punjab government barred 929 clerics from entering Punjab and 439 clerics were banned from making speeches.
After attacks on Shia pilgrims travelling through Balochistan in 2011, it was made mandatory for the pilgrims to obtain a no-objection certificate from the authorities before starting off on their journey to Iran via Balochistan but killing of Shia pilgrims continued in 2012.
People's travel within the country was affected by shortage of gas. According to the chairman of All Pakistan CNG Association 1,800 out of the country's 3,395 gas filling stations were closed down for weeks on end and the government closed another 800 stations because of non-payment of bills.
Excessive delays were experienced in the issuance of both normal and urgent passports owing to the breakdown of machinery used for issuing machine-readable documents.

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

Violence against and harassment of religious and ethnic minorities continued and little effort was made to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The issue of blasphemy law reform was left untouched. Rimsha (14), a Christian girl, charged with burning the Holy Quran was acquitted but Ryan (17) stayed in jail, and Sherry Rehman, envoy to the US, faced being booked for blasphemy.
583 people were killed and 853 injured in 213 incidents of sectarian-related terrorist attacks and sectarian clashes.
As many as 20 Ahmadis were killed on account of their religious identity.
In Karachi, at least six churches were attacked, two of them within a period of 10 days in October.
In March, the 150-year old Baba Karam Singh temple was demolished overnight by the land mafia in Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Freedom of expression

At least 14 journalists were killed in Pakistan in 2012.
According to Press Freedom Index, Pakistan was one of the deadliest countries for journalists for the second year running, with a ranking of 151 out of 179 countries.
Two journalists filed a petition in the Supreme Court, asking for formation of an accountability commission to probe the sources of income of different channel owners, anchors and advertising agencies and the Supreme Court called for reports.
The Fair Trial Bill of 2012 was unanimously passed in the National Assembly.
Numerous artists, civil society activists and citizens protested against the ban on YouTube, labeling it a gross violation of the right to freedom of expression and access to information.

Freedom of assembly

The trend towards violent assembly and protests grew and was used as a pretext to curtail people's right to assemble.
Members of the Shia Hazara community of Balochistan repeatedly protested against recurring target killings of members of their community.
The government of the Punjab province announced a policy for restricting and regulating rallies, processions and demonstrations on busy thoroughfares such as the Mall in Lahore.
Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was used rather profusely by district governments in order to restrict the fundamental rights of citizens.

Freedom of association

Restrictions on forming trade unions remained in force in 2012. Trade union leaders also faced serious risks to their lives.
At least 356 political activists were killed in 2012 in Karachi alone on account of their party affiliation.

Political participation

The CEC stated that 84 million voters, 47 million male and 36 million female, had been registered and the list was prepared comprehensively after house to house visits.
The Supreme Court disqualified many lawmakers for holding dual nationalities.
The ECP failed to uphold its promise of cancelling voting results of constituencies where less than 10% women voted and giving overseas Pakistanis the right to vote in the general election.
The Ahmedis were kept out of the electoral mainstream.

Pakistan stood at number 52 in the world ranking of countries according to the percentage of women in parliament.
Women made up only 2 percent of the trade union memberships in the country.
According to UNESCO, at least 5.1 million Pakistani children were out of school, 63 percent of whom were girls.
As many as 913 girls and women were killed in the name of honour in 2012. These included at least 99 minor girls.
74% of the girls married off in Charsadda and Mardan districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2012 were under 16.


A marginal decline was observed in infant mortality and under five year mortality rates in 2012 but Pakistan still lagged behind other South Asian countries.
58 cases of polio, a disease that afflicts only two other countries in the world, were reported from 28 districts of Pakistan.
Pakistan had the world's second highest number of out-of-school children aged five to nine years. At 2.8 percent of its gross national product (GNP), Pakistan's expenditure on education was the second lowest in South Asia.
During the first six months of 2012, 1,573 incidents of child sexual abuse were recorded.
Almost 10 million children were engaged in child labour.


Pakistan suffered one of the worst industrial disasters in its history when a fire in a Karachi garments factory claimed at least 270 lives.
Thousands of workers were rendered jobless due to increasing gas and electricity shortages which led to downsizing in both public institutions and private companies.
Out of approximately 10,000 brick kilns in Punjab, only 3,836 were registered.
Of the 58 million workers in Pakistan by official reckoning, only 2.1 million were registered for social security benefits.
Although 60 percent of the population is dependant on agriculture, lack of responsible innovation and investment in infrastructure, high input costs, failure to impart the requisite skills to the farmers, and salinity and wate-logging, continued to cause decline in the produce.


The literacy rate in the country stood at 58 percent.
At least 121 schools were targeted by militants opposed to education, especially girls' education.
In the budget for 2012-13, primary education got Rs 71.6 billion and secondary education Rs 69.4 billion - too little to realize MDGs.
22 out of every 25 primary school-age children were expected to fail or drop out of school before the fifth grade. Around 10.9 percent of schools in Pakistan lacked proper buildings, 37.7% lacked boundary walls, 33.9% had no drinking water facility, 36.9% lacked toilets, and 59.6% schools had no electricity.
As many as 70 public sector universities faced financial difficulty due to non-receipt of funds from the HEC while HEC itself was denied the resources it needed.


In the 2012-13 fiscal, the allocation of funds to the health sector further declined to a mere 0.2 percent (Rs. 7,845 million) of GNP.
There were around 9 million drug addicts in Pakistan and the number was on the rise. Two million of the addicts were aged between 15-25 years and the number of female addicts was around 200,000.
Pakistan ranked sixth among the 22 high-risk tuberculosis countries. About 1.6 million cases of malaria occurred annually. One out of every nine women in Pakistan faced the risk of breast cancer which resulted in 40,000 deaths every year, higher than in any other country in Asia.


Housing shortage continued to be acute and the number of people in main cities who slept in the streets increased.
The floods destroyed 275,720 dwellings in Sindh and parts of Balochistan while the rehabilitation of the people rendered homeless by natural disaster or conflict since 2005 was yet to be completed.
Despite notice of their excesses being taken by the Supreme Court, the land mafia in Karachi remained unconquered.  
A woman died and many others were injured in fires in two of Karachi's slums.
Use of blasphemy law to get a slum cleared was the latest tactic in the hands of land-grabbers.


National Policy on Climate Change was approved by the cabinet
Green benches were established in high courts across Pakistan to deliver environmental justice. However, only 15% of the cases filed at these benches could be decided and 20% of the fines imposed by them could be collected.
10 air pollution monitors set up in Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar and Karachi were shut down and no subsequent efforts were made by the government to develop a mechanism for monitoring of air quality.
World Health Organization deemed water from Keenjhar Lake, a protected wetland under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands,  unfit for consumption.
Over 2,500 trees were cut down for development projects.


Even though 83,000 Afghans were repatriated to Afghanistan in 2012, 1.6 million registered and one million unregistered Afghans still remained in Pakistan.
At least 800 Afghan nationals were taken into custody in 2012 under Foreigners Act for their presence in Pakistan without valid documents.
Nothing was done to bring home a quarter of a million Pakistanis stranded in Bangladesh since 1971.
At least 757,996 Pakistanis (163,102 families) remained internally displaced by conflict.
The monsoon floods and drought in Tharparkar forced over a million people from their homes.