Annual Report: Pakistan 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Pakistan 2011

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  • On 28 May, 93 members of the Ahmadiyya community were killed and 150 injured in attacks on two Ahmadiyya mosques in Lahore after the provincial government ignored requests for improved security following threats from armed groups. On 31 May, gunmen stormed the hospital where victims were undergoing treatment and killed six more people, including hospital staff.
  • On 1 July, 42 people were killed and 175 others injured in a suicide bomb attack on the Data Darbar Sufi shrine in the city of Lahore.
  • On 1 September, at least 54 Shi'a worshippers were killed and some 280 others injured when suicide bombers attacked a procession in Lahore.
  • On 3 September, a suicide attack killed at least 65 people in a Shi'a gathering in Quetta and injured another 150; the Taleban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Abuse of blasphemy laws persisted. At least 67 Ahmadis, 17 Christians, eight Muslims and six Hindus were charged with blasphemy and several cases were dismissed following dubious accusations or improper investigations by the authorities, according to the National Commission for Justice and Peace.

  • On 8 November, 45-year-old Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, was charged with blasphemy and sentenced to death after an unfair trial. Following an altercation with local women who regarded a bowl of water she brought as "unclean", Aasia Bibi had been saved by police from the ensuing mob violence but was arrested on 19 June 2009. An appeal was pending.

The state failed to protect several of those charged with blasphemy from subsequent attacks.

  • On 19 July, two Christian brothers, 32-year-old Rashid, a pastor, and Sajid Emanuel, aged 27, were shot dead in front of a court in Faisalabad city after they had been charged with blasphemy. The police did not adequately protect the brothers despite credible death threats.
  • On 11 November, Imran Latif, aged 22, was shot dead in Lahore after being released on bail on 3 November. The court had found little evidence to substantiate a blasphemy charge brought against him five years earlier.

Violence against women and girls

Gender-based violence, including rape, forced marriages, "honour killings", acid attacks and other forms of domestic violence, was committed with impunity as police were reluctant to register and investigate complaints. According to the women's helpline Madadgaar, 1,195 women had been murdered as of late November. Of these, 98 had been raped before they were killed. Madadgaar figures showed a total of 321 women raped, and 194 gang-raped.

On 22 December the Federal Shariat Court ruled to reverse several provisions of the 2006 Women's Protection Act. The verdict sought to reinstate certain provisions of the 1979 Hudood Ordinance which were extremely discriminatory against women.

  • On 29 April, three sisters, Fatima, aged 20, Sakeena, aged 14 and Saima, aged 8, were disfigured by acid thrown at them in Kalat town, Balochistan, apparently for violating a ban on leaving the house without a male guardian.

Death penalty

An informal moratorium on executions, begun in late 2008, continued. However, the death penalty was imposed on 356 people, including one juvenile, mostly for murder. Some 8,000 prisoners remained on death row, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.