Human rights in Pakistan
The situation of Human Rights in Pakistan (Urdu: پاکستان میں انسانی حقوق) is complex as a result of the country's diversity, large population, its status as a developing country and a sovereign Islamic democracy with a mixture of both Islamic and secular law. The Constitution of Pakistan provides for fundamental rights, which include freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of information, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and the (conditional) right to bear arms. The Clauses also provide for an independent Supreme Court, separation of executive and judiciary, an independent judiciary, independent Human Rights commission and freedom of movement within the country and abroad. However these clauses are not respected in practice.
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- [Hindus and Christians in Pakistan] face continued threats to their security and are subject to various forms of harassment and social exclusion.
- 2019 Annual Report, USCIRF. Quoted in Denial of food to Hindus, Christians in Pakistan 'reprehensible': US government By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury Apr 14, 2020
- Pakistan Hindu leader Raja Chander Singh... says that the Hindu migration to India is now (proportionally) bigger than during the Partition day: "The future of Hindus in Pakistan is very bleak... They are leaving because of fear". .... In Pakistan, the dwindling percentage of 1 % Hindus ekes out an existence in constant fear of the never-ending harassment's and attacks by the Muslim majority (which is untroubled by any minoritism). A secularist paper, prudishly and secularly titling: Ethnic violence drives Sinhis across the border, lets out the truth in the small print: According to refugee Sukh Ram, most of the Hindus are forced to desert their homes because of their religion. 'We are not allowed to pray peacefully in the temple of celebrate Hindu festival's he said.
- Raja Chander Singh, The Week, 11/11/1990. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society, quoting R. Singh and R. Sukh.
- It is always easy to blame the state and the men in uniform. But Islamic terror essentially does not emanate from uniforms and state power, but from a belief system which even the ordinary people have been fed. That is why a lot of Islamic terror never gets recorded by human-rights organizations like Amnesty International. A Christian Pakistani friend complained to me that Amnesty had not spoken out against the religious persecutions in his homeland, even when these are a grim and undeniable reality. The fact is that much of this persecution and discrimination is not ordered by the state (the type of culprit with which Amnesty is familiar), but is a spontaneous attitude among sections of the Muslim population, egged on by nothing except the omnipresent Islamic doctrine.
- Elst K. Negationism in India. (1992)
- DIRE. That’s the word the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan uses to describe the state of human rights in our country. Its annual report, released last week, makes for a distressing read, particularly in the midst of a pandemic. One wonders, given how widespread rights violations are, when this brutalised body politic will reach its breaking point. The PTI government has cited concerns of riots fuelled by starvation as a reason to impose light-touch lockdowns. But the HRCP’s report reminds us that the state's fear of its citizenry is rooted in a deeper knowledge of systemic fissures in our country; fissures produced by the disgraceful treatment of an underclass — including women, children, dissenters, religious minorities, labour, prisoners, and more — often by state institutions themselves.
- Not surprisingly, initiatives to criminalise disappearances are stalled. The thing is, you only silence critics when you have something to hide. And the HRCP’s report — documenting everything from miscarriage of justice to child abuse to poor enfranchisement — gives a sense of what this might be. The sad and shocking scale of rights abuses again raises the question of how efficacious the state's censorship strategy can be. When the public narrative significantly diverges from lived experience, the only outcome is more frustration among the people, who realise that on top of being poorly served, they’re also being lied to and manipulated.
- Pakistan has the somewhat unique problem that the concept of human rights has been deemed toxic among the middle classes because it is too often associated with curbs on media and religious freedoms. Decades of authoritarian state policy have entrenched a suspicion of democracy and secularism, and there is perversely a fair amount of support for policies targeting those labelled unpatriotic or blasphemous. But human rights are also about positive access to food, healthcare, safety, and education.
- Upholding human rights should underpin all policymaking. The challenges the report identifies will take years to address, but there are several ways this administration can signal a commitment to human rights. For starters, it can vow to protect the 18th Amendment. Such are the times, that the mere presentation of a report can be a political act.