Annual Report: Pakistan 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Pakistan 2011

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  • On 1 March, two men accused of robbery were filmed being held down and whipped by police in a police station in Chiniot city, Punjab province. Following broadcast of the film on national television, five police officers were arrested. Their cases were pending.
  • On 15 August, two brothers accused of robbery, 17-year-old Hafiz Mohammad Mughees Sajjad and Mohammad Muneeb Sajjad, aged 15, were beaten to death by a mob in Sialkot city, Punjab. The incident was caught on film. A judicial inquiry found that the boys had been innocent of the charges and that police officers present at the scene of the lynching had failed to stop the attack.

Enforced disappearances

In March, a three-member panel constituted by the Supreme Court began to review cases of enforced disappearance. Its mandate included recording evidence of released people and investigating the role of the intelligence agencies. The Judicial Commission reached its conclusion on 31 December and submitted its findings and recommendations to the Federal government for review. The Commission's report remained classified at the end of the year.

Hundreds of people went missing, apparently after being held by the intelligence services or the army. The majority of cases were in Balochistan. Hundreds of habeas corpus petitions remained pending in provincial High Courts but the intelligence services refused to respond to court directions. Families of the disappeared were threatened for speaking out about their missing loved ones.

  • The whereabouts of two members of the Baloch National Front, Mahboob Ali Wadela and Mir Bohair Bangulzai, remained unknown. Mahboob Ali Wadela was taken by Maripur police from a bus in Yousuf Goth neighbourhood, Karachi city, on 2 April; Mir Bohair Bangulzai was taken by uniformed police from his car in Quetta on 1 April. Maripur and Quetta police refused to register a complaint by the men's relatives.

Freedom of expression

Journalists were harassed, ill-treated and killed by state agents and members of anti-government armed groups. State agents failed to protect journalists from attacks by armed groups; 19 media workers were killed, making Pakistan the most dangerous country for media workers in 2010, according to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists. The authorities blocked some online news sites.

  • Umar Cheema, journalist with The News, reported that he had been abducted and held for six hours on 4 September. He was taken blindfolded to the outskirts of the capital, Islamabad, stripped naked, hung upside down and beaten by people who warned him about criticizing the government. Prime Minister Gilani ordered a judicial inquiry and the Lahore High Court took notice of the case of its own accord but by the end of the year, no one was held to account.
  • Misri Khan Orakzai, aged 50, of the Daily Ausaf in Hangu city, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on 13 September after receiving several death threats from insurgents.
  • On 8 November, access to the online news site Baloch Hal was blocked by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority for allegedly publishing "anti-Pakistan" material. The site covered human rights violations including enforced disappearances.
  • On 18 November, the bodies of 24-year-old Abdul Hameed Hayatan, a journalist at Daily Karachi and Tawar, and Hamid Ismail were found in Turbat city, Balochistan. The whereabouts of the two men had remained unknown after their arrest at a security forces checkpoint near Gwadar city on 25 October. Their bodies bore torture marks. Nearby a message was found, saying: "Eid present for the Baloch people."

Discrimination - religious minorities

The state failed to prevent and prosecute discrimination, harassment and violence against religious minorities and, increasingly, moderate Sunni Muslims. Ahmadis, Shi'as and Christians were attacked and killed in apparent sectarian violence. Sectarian groups reportedly linked to the Taleban attacked Shi'as, Ahmadis and Sufis with impunity. Blasphemy laws continued to be misused against Ahmadis and Christians, as well as Shi'a muslims and Sunnis.