Pakistan’s human rights: the growing gulf between reality and rhetoric

GlobalPost: Evidence suggests its human rights record has ‘deteriorated substantially.’
Dawood I. AhmedNovember 24, 2012 09:24

Pakistan human rights 2012 11 20 0

Pakistani missing persons families hold pictures of their missing people as they staged a demonstration in Karachi in 2007. Scores of individuals and civil liberty groups observe the International Human Rights Day in Pakistan. (Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images)
GENEVA, Switzerland – Governments of developing countries sometimes engage in the rhetoric of international human rights for strategic and self-interested reasons. They create national human rights institutions, enact weak legislation, and ratify international human rights treaties to deflect international and domestic criticism of a worsening human rights record, rather than out of any genuine concern for rights.

A case in point is Pakistan, which was reviewed last week at the inter-governmental Human Rights Council of the United Nations. In her opening speech, Pakistan’s foreign minister Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar boasted of the achievements of the incumbent government. She was careful to play up words such as “democracy” and “women’s rights.” Even drone strikes – or their purported illegality – received a paragraph of attention. Freedom of the media was also mentioned, alongside economic rights.

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