Islamabad [Pakistan], April 13 (ANI): US State Department has issued its report on human rights condition in different countries across the world. It has also discussed Pakistan, in terms of different issues including human rights violation, freedom of expression, the plight of minorities, militancy and other issues.
In the chapter on Pakistan, the report has mentioned "threats of violence, or unjustified arrests or prosecutions against journalists, use of criminal libel laws to prosecute social media speech and censorship, and site blocking."
A prominent feature of the rights report is the plight of women in Pakistan. The US State Department underlined a wide array of reasons for the plummeting women's rights in Pakistan and the increase in female marginalization in the country. The report said that the reasons include bureaucratic corruption, a dearth of accountability and investigation, especially when it comes to violence against women, reported Pakistan Today.
The report also highlighted human trafficking as a crime that directly impacted women in the country.
As per Pakistan Today, this was considered a major contributor to the marginalization of racial and ethnic minorities. Furthermore, violence and threats of violence, in addition to women, also impact other gender and sexual minorities including LGBTQ.
Talking about the rights of minorities, the report mentioned that there are incidents of attack on them in different parts of Pakistan.
"There were occasionally reports of mob violence against religious minorities, including Christians, Ahmadi Muslims, and Hindus. Shia Muslim activists reported continuing instances of targeted killings and enforced disappearances in limited parts of the country," the report mentioned.
Linked to this, the report also talked about the state misbehaviour with different ethnic leaders and activities. As per the report, "human rights organizations reported some authorities disappeared or arrested Pashtun, Sindhi, and Baloch human rights activists, as well as Sindhi and Baloch nationalists without cause or warrant."
The situation on the freedom of expression, attitude with journalists and media, Pakistan Today reported citing the report, was not so encouraging.
As per US State Department, unknown actors abducted journalists including the likes of Matiullah Jan, Bilal Farooq and Ali Imran. Furthermore, the department mentioned the attack on journalists by terrorists.
"In addition, threats, harassment, abductions, violence, and killings led journalists and editors to practice self-censorship. Government failure to investigate and prosecute attacks on human rights defenders and peaceful protesters led to de facto restrictions on freedom of assembly and association," the report stated.
The major concern was especially with freedom of expression and the plight of ethnicities and minorities (read missing persons). Quoting Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), the report said: "Only 450 of 5,128 missing persons had been found since 2018, and a further 1,800 disappeared during this period."
The issue of missing persons has been there in Pakistan for the last two decades, as relatives of these people have been demanding justice from the government to Supreme Court, but the issue has remained unresolved.
Also, the censorship on media has increased in the last few years, the latest bill about "intentional disrespect of Pakistan Army" is a fresh example.
Under this new bill, "anyone who shall be guilty of said offence could face up to two years imprisonment or fine that may extend to Rs 500,000, or both." There are multiple incidents of strict media codes, which have limited the freedom of expression in Pakistan.
In the last couple of years, it seems that there is a constant sense of fear and threat in Pakistan, be it media, social media activist or rights activist, the free voice doesn't seem so free in the country, and this is the biggest concern, reported Pakistan Today. (ANI)