HRW warns of attacks on freedom of expression and minorities in Pakistan

This content was published on 13 January 2022 – 05:1413 January 2022 –

Members of the Ahmadi Muslim community hold the names of victims as they stand over their graves in Chenab Nagar, located in Punjab’s Chiniot District, about 125 miles northwest of Lahore, Pakistan, on May 29, 2010. Chenab Nagar, also known as Rabwah, is the headquarters for the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan. Photo via Reuters

Islamabad, Jan 13 (EFE).- The Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization denounced this Thursday that freedom of expression and critical voices in Pakistan had to face pressure from the Government in 2021, while both women and religious minorities and ethnic groups continued to be victims of violence.

“The authorities persecuted, and occasionally detained, journalists and other members of civil society for criticizing officials and policies,” said HRW in its annual report published today on human rights in the world.

The organization also denounced the extensive use of anti-terrorism and sedition-related laws, as well as attacks against civil society groups and NGOs through legislation to “prevent the registration and operation of international human rights and humanitarian groups “.

“Security agencies were also responsible for numerous human rights violations, including detention without charge and extrajudicial killings,” HRW noted.

These abuses by the authorities occurred in the context of an increase in attacks by Islamist groups in the country such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or Al Qaeda, which killed hundreds of civilians and members of the security forces. .

In parallel, HRW denounced the “endemic” violence against women and girls in Pakistan, where so-called honor killings abound and claimed the lives of some 1,000 women while child marriages are a “serious problem”.

HRW also noted the attacks against religious minorities such as the Ahmadis, in a country where the Penal Code prohibits them from “impersonating Muslims”, calling their temples mosques or selling texts from their community, which could carry sentences of up to three years in prison. jail.

Added to this persecution of minorities are laws against blasphemy, the organization said, a crime that in Pakistan can carry the death penalty, although no convict has ever been executed in this regard. EFE


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