Human rights body calls 2023 a dismal year for Pakistan

Human rights in Pakistan took a nosedive and civic spaces contracted to an extraordinary degree in 2023 in the wake of violent political protests, the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in a new report reviewing the past year.
Human rights:- Human rights in Pakistan took a nosedive and civic spaces contracted to an extraordinary degree in 2023 in the wake of violent political protests[VOA]
Human rights:- Human rights in Pakistan took a nosedive and civic spaces contracted to an extraordinary degree in 2023 in the wake of violent political protests[VOA]

Human rights:- Human rights in Pakistan took a nosedive and civic spaces contracted to an extraordinary degree in 2023 in the wake of violent political protests, the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in a new report reviewing the past year.

“This year was remarkable for the State’s blatant disregard for its own Constitution, adherence to a bare, notional democracy, and civic spaces having shrunk to an all-time low,” said the report released Wednesday.

The document covers a wide range of human rights issues that weakened Pakistani democracy last year, from unelected caretaker governments exceeding their constitutionally mandated term to the parliament hastily passing laws including those granting more powers to security agencies.

Political repression

The commission said the human rights situation reached a new low on May 9, 2023, “a defining day” on which supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan stormed military and government installations to protest his arrest.

“The state retaliated with a fierce crackdown and mass arrests of thousands of party workers and leaders, including women,” the report said. “Many [were] kept in military custody, not allowed to meet their families. Internet and social media shutdowns were imposed.”

The report recorded at least 15 instances of internet services being shut down in the last year. Following the violence on May 9, government suspended internet services for nearly four days across much of Pakistan.

The HRCP said the authorities repeatedly banned gatherings of more than four people in a bid to restrict political activities.

Missing persons

According to HRCP’s monitoring of media reports, 82 men and seven women were forcibly disappeared during 2023. The report said some of the disappearances were short-term, targeting political party members.

Referring to data provided by the government’s Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, HRCP said nearly 2,300 cases of missing persons remained unresolved at the end of last year.

A weekslong protest movement led by Baloch women seeking recovery of missing family members returned empty-handed from Islamabad after talks with caretaker government officials stalled. The protesters were brutally dispersed upon arrival in the capital.

“Baloch women were not even given the dignity of a conversation,” said Munizae Jahangir, co-chairperson of the HRCP. VOA/SP

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