New Delhi (NVI) Pakistan has been slammed in a report of the US State Department for gross human rights violations being carried out by the state agencies and others, especially in Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The 2020 Country Report on Human Rights, released by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, mentions arbitrary killings and disappearances of Pashtun, Sindhi and Baloch human rights activists, often carried out by the security agencies.
Referring to Balochistan, the report says: “Security forces in Balochistan continued to disappear pre-trail suspects, along with human rights activists, politicians and teachers. The Baloch Human Rights Organisation noted 45 individuals had disappeared and that assailants had killed 15 persons in seven districts in July alone.”
The report adds that violations in Balochistan, where the people are struggling for freedom from Pakistani occupation, also include “attempts to control or block websites that advocated Baloch independence and that the government used surveillance software.”
Talking about Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it expressed dismay at the fact that the authorities have power to detain civilians indefinitely without charge in internment camps, occupy property, conduct operations, and convict detainees in the province. The authorities get these retrograde powers under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Actions Ordinance of 2019.
“The provincial high court ruled the ordinance unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court suspended this ruling. …pending the outcome of this appeal, the military retains control of detention centers and law enforcement activities in much of the former FATA,” it says.
The US human rights report talked about the intimidation of Pakistan’s media. It said: “Threats, harassment, and violence against journalists who reported on sensitive issues such as civil-military tension or abuses by security forces occurred with increasing frequency during the year.”
It noted that the government has not done anything to alleviate the situation for media organisations. It said: “Both the military, through the Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations, and government oversight bodies, such as the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), enforced censorship.”
The report slams Pakistan for lack of accountability by the government, fostering a culture of impunity among the perpetrators and sheltering officials for human rights abuses.