Unscrupulous Pak's rights record degrading: Asia forum

ANI | Updated: Apr 22, 2018 06:49 IST

Brussels [Belgium], April 22 (ANI): Criticizing a European Union (EU) report for turning a blind eye towards Pakistan's unscrupulous human rights record, a senior member of the South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), has maintained that Islamabad's "kill and dump" policy has reached an even more degrading level.

Paulo Casaca, SADF's Executive Director said he could not agree with the EU's view that the human rights situation in Pakistan is improving. He said there is evidence to prove that the situation is actually worsening and too in a more intense manner.

In an article for EP Today, Casaca said human rights activists in Pakistan continue to be abducted and their bodies surface days later with visible signs of torture and mutilation.

"This practice of exposing the dead bodies with torture marks is symbolic as it signifies a demeaning act," Casaca writes, adding that Pakistan's laws target the most vulnerable individuals, including the religious minorities, the poor, people with mental disabilities and children.

Casaca cites the example of Amnesty International's 2017-2018 annual report on Pakistan to establish his point.

"In June, Taimoor Raza was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court in Punjab, southern province, for allegedly blasphemous posts on Facebook. In September, Nadeem James, a Christian, was sentenced to death by a court in Gujrat city for sharing a blasphemous poem over WhatsApp," he writes.

Casaca believes Pakistan's laws enforce what in reality amounts to a system of 'Apartheid'. This was glaringly evident when Christian woman Asia Bibi or Aasiya Noreen was sentenced to death by a district court for an act of blasphemy in November 2010. Subsequently, the Lahore High Court rejected her mercy plea in October 2014 and the Supreme Court of Pakistan temporarily suspended her death sentence in July 2015. She continues to languish in jail.

Her real 'crime,' according to Casaca, was that of being a non-Muslim drinking water from a cup reserved for Muslims.

He says he is not surprised that no minister dares to discuss 'blasphemy laws' or over the fact that an increasing number of people are being lynched by mobs for supposedly disrespecting Islam, Prophet Mohammad or them (Muslims).

Recalling the assassinations of former Punjab Province Governor Salman Taseer on January 4, 2011 and that of former Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti on March 2, 2011, Casaca says whoever dares to question these most barbaric laws in Pakistan, even at the highest level of the state, can be sentenced to death.

What is most alarming Casaca says is that Pakistan does not have any specific law in place to safeguard its citizens against enforced disappearances and it has still not ratified the 'United Nation's International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance' (CPED).

"Being that enforced disappearance is an international crime and that it is intensifying in Pakistan, it is immensely worrying that Pakistan has not ratified it yet," Casaca writes.

He concludes by saying that the European Union turning a blind eye to Pakistan's repeated violation of established UN human rights conventions in places like Balochistan is unacceptable and untenable. (ANI)

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