Dawn: NEW YORK: Pakistan’s new government should urgently address serious human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today in a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif outlining “10 Steps to Improve Human Rights.”
The abuses include attacks on religious minorities, disappearances in Balochistan, and impunity for abusive militant groups.
In May 2013, Pakistanis went to the polls, effecting an historic transition of power from one democratically elected government to another. Prime Minister Sharif has an important opportunity to create a rights-respecting government that abides by the rule of law and restores the public’s faith in democratic institutions, HRW said.
“Pakistan has made impressive gains in very challenging circumstances since democracy was restored in 2008,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at HRW. “But unless the government calls a halt to serious human rights abuses, these gains may slip away.”
Since 2012, well over 650 Shia Muslims have been killed in targeted attacks across Pakistan, the majority from the Hazara community in Balochistan province. Sunni militant groups, such as the ostensibly banned Lashkar-e Jhangvi, operate with widespread impunity across Pakistan.
The government should apprehend and prosecute those responsible for attacks on the Shia and other groups at risk, HRW said.