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REPORTS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AGENCIES: G
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN
DATE=1/28/95 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-173114 TITLE=PAKISTAN HUMAN RIGHTS (L-ONLY) BYLINE=JENNIFER GRIFFIN DATELINE=ISLAMABAD CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN HAS RELEASED ITS ANNUAL REPORT ON RIGHTS ABUSES IN PAKISTAN. JENNIFER GRIFFIN IN ISLAMABAD REPORTS THE COMMISSION SAYS 1994 SAW THE CONTINUED ABUSE OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN PAKISTAN.. TEXT: THE HEAD OF PAKISTAN'S HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION SAYS RIGHTS ABUSES IN PAKISTAN CONTINUED UNABATED IN 1994, AND HE SAID MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT WERE SOME OF THE WORST OFFENDERS. THE COMMISSION HEAD, ASMA JAHANGIR, PRESENTED THE INDEPENDENT GROUP'S ANNUAL REPORT SATURDAY TO A PRESS CONFERENCE IN ISLAMABAD. MS. JAHANGIR SAID POLITICAL POLARIZATION IN PAKISTAN HAD CAUSED THE GOVERNMENT TO TRY TO SQUASH OPPOSITION AND CRITICISM IN THE COUNTRY. PROMINENT OPPOSITION LEADERS WERE JAILED. FOUR JOURNALISTS WERE CHARGED FOR DEFAMING THE PROPHET UNDER THE CONTROVERSIAL BLASPHEMY LAW, FOR WHICH THE PUNISHMENT IS DEATH. AND SECTARIAN VIOLENCE RAGED WORSE THAN EVER IN CITIES SUCH AS KARACHI. MS. JAHANGIR SAID THE GOVERNMENT HAD TRIED TO CURTAIL PRESS FREEDOM, AND SIDESTEP THE LEGISLATURE BY PROMULGATING A SERIES OF PRESIDENTIAL ORDINANCES, INCLUDING THE DEATH PENALTY FOR DRUG OFFENDERS. THE HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT SAYS FUNDAMENTALISM FLOURISHED IN 1994, AND HOW WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND MINORITY RIGHTS WERE SYSTEMATICALLY IGNORED. IT SAYS THAT IN SOME RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS, CHILDREN WERE BOUND WITH CHAINS AGAINST THEIR WILL AND FORCED TO MEMORIZE THE KORAN. MS. JAHANGIR CALLED SOME OF THE JUDGMENTS UPHELD BY PAKISTAN'S SUPREME COURT SCANDALOUS. /// JAHANGIR ACT /// WE MAY SEE FOR THE FIRST TIME AN EXECUTION OF AMPUTATION OF FOOT AND HAND IN PAKISTAN. /// END ACT /// MS. JAHANGIR SAID RAPE OCCURED AT THE SAME RATE AS LAST YEAR -- ONCE EVERY THREE HOURS. BUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN INCREASED. /// OPT /// ONE MAN INTERRUPTED THE PRESS CONFERENCE TO TELL THE STORY OF HIS 35-YEAR-OLD SISTER, WHO HAD BEEN BURNED TO DEATH BY HER IN-LAWS IN DECEMBER AFTER GIVING BIRTH TO HER THIRD CHILD. /// OPT /// VICTOR GILL, A U-S CITIZEN BORN IN PAKISTAN, RETURNED FROM THE UNITED STATES TO PROSECUTE HIS SISTER'S IN-LAWS, WHO HE SAID BURNED HER TO DEATH WHEN SHE SAID SHE WANTED TO TAKE HER THREE YOUNG CHILDREN TO THE UNITED STATES. BUT HE SAYS THERE IS LITTLE RECOURSE FOR SOMEONE PROSECUTING A CASE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. /// OPT /// MR. GILL SAID 869 WOMEN WERE BURNED TO DEATH LAST YEAR IN PAKISTAN. HE SAID MOST WERE BURNED IN THEIR IN-LAWS' HOMES. HE SAID THIS HAD BECOME THE EASIEST WAY TO GET RID OF A DIFFICULT DAUGHTER-IN-LAW. /// END OPT /// THE HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT ACCUSED THE GOVERNMENT OF DOING NOTHING TO REVIEW DISCRIMINATORY LAWS. MS. JAHANGIR SAID POLITICIANS WERE UNWILLING TO ACT BECAUSE THEY DID NOT WANT TO LOSE THEIR MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT. SHE SAID, AS A RESULT, HUMAN RIGHTS HAS SUFFERED. (SIGNED) NEB/JG/JWH 28-Jan-95 9:40 AM EST (1440 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America
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US STATE DEPARTMENT
There are fewer than 10 known political prisoners. Several are serving sentences under the laws concerning the Ahmadi religious sect.
Minority groups fear that the Shari'a Law and its goal of "Islamizing" government and society may further restrict the freedom to practice their religion. Many reportedly live in terror because the religious legislation has encouraged an atmosphere of religious intolerance which has led to acts of violence directed at Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus, Zikris, and others. Several incidents in 1994 heightened the sense of insecurity and fear among the religious minorities.
A 1974 constitutional amendment declared Ahmadis to be a non-Muslim minority because they do not accept Muhammad as the last prophet of Islam. However, Ahmadis regard themselves as Muslims and observe many Islamic practices. In 1984 the Government inserted Section 298(c) into the Penal Code which prohibited an Ahmadi from calling himself a Muslim and banned Ahmadis from using Islamic terminology. The punishment is up to 3 years' imprisonment and a fine. Since 1984, the Government has used Section 298(c) to harass Ahmadis.
The Government classifies Ahmadis as "non-Muslims" on their passports. This has led the authorities in Saudi Arabia to prevent Ahmadis from performing the religious pilgrimage to Mecca. In 1992 the Government ordered national identity cards to convey the bearer's religion, but so far the Government has not submitted implementing legislation.
In 1986 the Government inserted Section 295(c) into the Penal Code which stipulates the death penalty for blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad. This provision has been used by litigants against Ahmadis, Christians, and even Muslims. In 1992 the Senate unanimously adopted a bill to amend the Blasphemy Law so that the death penalty is mandatory upon conviction.
When such religious cases are brought to court, extremists often pack the courtroom and make public threats against an acquittal. As a result, judges and magistrates often continue trials indefinitely, and the accused is burdened with further legal costs and repeated court appearances.
The security of religious minorities was a major issue of discussion in the Government and the press in 1994. The Government promised to introduce measures to reduce the abusive litigation under the blasphemy laws, but defended the laws themselves. At year's end, the Government had not taken any remedial action.
Human rights monitors and women's groups fear that the Shari'a Law would have a harmful effect on the rights of women and minorities. However, the Law states that women's and minority rights protected under the Constitution would not be affected. The Law's impact on these groups has been limited because the Government has not passed enabling legislation. Nonetheless, the Law reinforces popular attitudes and perceptions, and contributes to an atmosphere in which discriminatory treatment of women and non-Muslims is more readily accepted.
Officially designated as non-Muslims, Ahmadis in particular, suffer from harassment and discrimination and have limited chances for advancement in the public sector. Young Ahmadis and their parents complain of increasing difficulty in gaining admittance to good colleges, forcing many children to go overseas for higher education. Among religious minorities, there is a well-founded belief that the authorities afford them less legal protection than they afford Muslim citizens.
US State Department Annual Report on human rights in Pakistan in 1994
LCHR Critique of State Dept Report
It also gives a generally accurate account of human rights problems in Pakistan … However, it makes little mention of the government's failure to address the problem of widespread human rights abuses, beyond noting the complicity of the government in the sectarian violence that has plagued the country, marked by a routine failure to denounce, prosecute or punish those involved. Instead, the report states that while the government made a strong public commitment to address human rights concerns, "most human rights abuses are rooted deeply in the social fabric." This remark appears excessively indulgent of culturally relative views of human rights abuses, rather than taking a forthright position on the universality of human rights norms.
Three appeals were submitted to the government by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture in 1994. The Special Rapporteur expressed fear for the life and physical integrity of Bashir Qureshi, whose health was reportedly in jeopardy after his arrest and torture by members of the military in January. The Special Rapporteur also expressed concern over the alleged killings in March of Rana Riaz Ahmad and Ahmad Nasrullah by members of an armed Islamic group, and the failure of the police to provide protection to the Ahmadiyya community or adequately investigate the attacks.
The report's discussion of the Blasphemy Law (Section 295-C of the Penal Code) is detailed and comprehensive. It does not, however, mention the government's decision in June to modify the procedure for reporting cases that may fall under the jurisdiction of this law. The government decided that cases should not be registered automatically on complaint, but only after the complaint had been examined by a magistrate and some basis for it established. In order to deter the filing of frivolous or malicious complaints, the individual making the accusation should be liable to a fine in the event that the complaint proves to be without foundation. Conservative religious groups declared that they would accept no changes to the law, and after an episode in which the law minister's comments to an Irish newspaper were misrepresented to suggest that the Blasphemy Law would be repealed altogether, the government backed down in the face of pressure and the law remained unchanged. Amid the controversy, militant religious groups called upon "those who love Islam" to kill Asma Jahangir, general secretary of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. These demands for her death arose as a result of her position as defense lawyer for Rehmat and Salamat Masih, two Christians charged with blasphemy.
Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights
Amnesty_International@io.org AI: PAKISTAN: ANOTHER AHMADI DELIBERATELY KILLED BY ISLAMISTS 19 Apr 1995 16:02:09 GMT ? Newsgroups: misc.activism.progressive This News Service is posted by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, 1 Easton Street, London WC1X 8DJ (Tel +44-71-413-5500, Fax +44-71-956-1157) Sender: Amnesty_International@io.org Precedence: bulk AMNESTY-L: ******************** News Service 75/95 AI INDEX: ASA 33/10/95 18 APRIL 1995 PAKISTAN: ANOTHER AHMADI DELIBERATELY KILLED BY ISLAMISTS A violent mob attacked two members of the Ahmadiyya community in Shab Qadar, prompting Amnesty International to renew calls on the government of Pakistan to condemn such attacks and take immediate measures to prevent them. On 9 April 1995, Dr Rashid Ahmad and his son-in law, Riaz Khan, were attacked as they were about to attend a court hearing in Shab Qadar in the North West Frontier Province; Riaz Khan was stoned to death and his dead body stripped and dragged through the town on a rope. Dr Rashid Ahmad was taken to a hospital in Peshawar with serious injuries. A third Ahmadi, Advocate Bashir Ahmad, escaped unhurt. The tree men -- senior members of the Ahmadiyya community from Peshawar -- had come from the provincial capital to help another Ahmadi, Daulat Khan, who had been harassed following his conversion to the sect several months ago; local Muslin clergy reportedly called for the death of the convert. Daulat Khan was arrested on 5 April; when members of the Ahmadiyya community approached the police they were told that he had been arrested "for his own safety." Later police registered a case against him under sections 107 (abetment) and 151 (disturbing public tranquillity by joining an unlawful assembly) of the Pakistan Penal code. The three men attacked had gone to Shab Qadar in order to file a bail application on Daulat Khan's behalf; when they entered the court premises, a violent mob attacked the three men with sticks and stones. To Amnesty International's knowledge, no one has been criminally charged for the killing and Daulat Khan is still in custody. During the past year, at least seven Ahmadis have been attacked and killed with impunity by religious extremists. Though most of these deliberate and arbitrary killings have taken place in broad daylight and before many eye-witnesses, in none of the cases reported to Amnesty International have those responsible for the killings been arrested and charged. Amnesty International believes that the failure to criminally prosecute those responsible for attacks on members of religious minorities appears to indicate the acquiescence or connivance of the authorities with the perpetrators. "We once again urge the government of Pakistan to unequivocally and publicly condemn such attacks and to take all possible measures to protect the lives and security of members of Pakistan's religious minorities who appear to be at risk," said Amnesty International. ENDS/ ********** You may re-post this message onto other sources but if you do then please tell us at AINS@GN.APC.ORG so that we can keep track of what is happening to these items. If you want more information concerning this item then please contact the Amnesty International section office in your own country. You may also send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, an automatic reply service. A list of section contact details is posted on the APC conference. If there is not a section of Amnesty International in your country then you should contact the International Secretariat in London. END/ **********
Taken from the newsgroup misc.activism.progressive on 19 April 1995
Human Rights and US Security Assistance
DATE=7/6/95 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT NUMBER=5-30520 TITLE=AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL BYLINE=DAUD MAJLIS DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= NOT VOICED: INTRO: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL HAS ISSUED ITS ANNUAL REPORT ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS IN 151 COUNTRIES DURING 1994. THE REPORT NOTES ABUSES IN ALL REGIONS OF THE WORLD. MANY CASES ARE NEVER INVESTIGATED AND RARELY ARE THE GUILTY BROUGHT TO JUSTICE. FROM WASHINGTON, VOA'S DAUD MAJLIS LOOKS AT THE SOUTH ASIAN ASPECT OF THE REPORT. TEXT: PRESENTING THE REPORT PIERRE SANE, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE LONDON-BASED ORGANIZATION, SAID AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL IS TRYING TO CREATE A CLIMATE WHERE THE PERPETRATORS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES WILL BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE AND THE VICTIMS WILL BE GIVEN BACK THEIR DIGNITY. IN AN INTERVIEW WITH V-O-A, MR. CASEY KELSO, A SPOKESPERSON FOR AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL TALKED ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS IN THREE SOUTH ASIAN COUNTRIES -- PAKISTAN, INDIA AND BANGLADESH. ACCORDING TO THE REPORT MORE THAN 100 PRISONERS IN PAKISTAN HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH BLASPHEMY. THE PRISONERS CONTEND THEY WERE EXERCISING THEIR RIGHTS TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION. MR. KELSO SAID AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL WAS PARTICULARLY CONCERNED THAT BLASPHEMY LAWS WERE BEING ABUSED IN PAKISTAN. HE SAID THESE LAWS IN PAKISTAN ARE USED TO TARGET THE AHMEDIA COMMUNITY IN PARTICULAR. // KELSO ACTUALITY // WHILE THERE ARE NO EVIDENCE TO PUT CHARGES AGAINST THE AHMEDIA MEMBERS, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN PUT ON TRIAL AND HAVE BEEN THREATENED WITH DEATH BY ISLAMIST MILITANTS WHO EITHER DISRUPT THE COURT TRIAL OR WHO HAVE TAKEN, ON CERTAIN OCCASIONS IN 1994, STEPS TO BEAT OR EVEN KILL THOSE WHO WERE ACCUSED OF BLASPHEMY. // END ACTUALITY // THE AMNESTY SPOKESPERSON SAID THE GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN HAS ANNOUNCED INTENTIONS TO CURB THE ABUSE OF BLASPHEMY LAWS BUT NO ACTION HAS SO FAR BEEN TAKEN TO RESTRICT FALSE ACCUSERS. ACCORDING TO AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AT LEAST 35 EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS WERE REPORTED IN PAKISTAN DURING 1994. THE AMNESTY REPORT SAYS CIVIL CONFLICT HAS BEEN THE CONTEXT FOR HUNDREDS OF POLITICAL KILLINGS AND SCORES OF DISAPPEARANCES IN INDIA. IN THE 1994 REPORT AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL FOCUSED ON THE STATE OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR. // KELSO ACTUALITY // IN THE STATE OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR WE HAD ALMOST DAILY REPORTS OF SHOOTINGS OR PEOPLE BEING TORTURED. THERE AGAIN WE HAVE 350 POLITICAL PRISONERS -- MANY OF THEM POLITICAL PRISONERS -- THAT WERE HELD IN PRISONS. THERE WERE POLITICAL DETAINEES AND CRIMINAL SUSPECTS WHO WERE TORTURED IN A ROUTINE MANNER. // END ACTUALITY // MR. KELSO EMPHASIZED THAT AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL HAS APPEALED NOT ONLY TO THE GOVERNMENTS BUT ALSO TO THE ARMED OPPOSITION GROUPS BOTH IN PAKISTAN AND IN INDIA TO STOP HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES. HE SAID IN JUNE AMNESTY MADE AN APPEAL TO OPPOSITION GROUPS TO RELEASE ALL HOSTAGES HELD IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR. THE AMNESTY REPORT EXPRESSED CONCERN ABOUT TORTURE AND MISTREATMENT OF DETAINEES THROUGHOUT INDIA. LEGAL REFORMS WERE PROMISED BUT WERE NOT IMPLEMENTED TO SAFEGUARD THOSE DETAINEES. MR. KELSO POINTED OUT THAT THE TERRORIST AND DISRUPTIVE ACTIVITIES PREVENTION ACT (TADA) HAS REMAINED IN FORCE EVEN THOUGH THERE IS A PUBLIC FEELING THAT THE ANTI-TERRORIST LEGISLATION SHOULD BE REVIEWED AND PERHAPS REPEALED. // KELSO ACTUALITY // MINIMUM LEGAL SAFEGUARDS SHOULD BE APPLIED FOR THOSE WHO ARE BEING TRIED UNDER T-A-D-A YET THE MINISTRY OF INTERNAL SECURITY EVEN THOUGH IT ADMITS THAT T-A-D-A HAS BEEN MISUSED EXTENSIVELY AGAINST MOSLEMS STILL HAS NOT TAKEN THOSE STEPS TO ESTABLISH SOME SORT OF SAFEGUARDS. // END ACTUALITY // IN BANGLADESH, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL HAS BEEN SPECIALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE. MR. KELSO SAID JUST AS ANTI-TERRORIST LAWS HAVE BEEN ABUSED IN INDIA, IN BANGLADESH THE SPECIAL POWERS ACT HAS BEEN USED TO IMPRISON DOZENS OF PEOPLE ON CRIMINAL CHARGES SIMPLY FOR EXPRESSING THEIR POLITICAL BELIEFS. // KELSO ACTUALITY // WE HAVE POLITICAL PRISONERS WHO HAVE BEEN TRIED UNDER ANTI-TERRORIST LEGISLATION. WE BELIEVE THEY HAVE NOT RECEIVED A FAIR TRIAL. AND AGAIN TORTURE IN POLICE STATIONS AND JAILS HAVE CONTINUED. ONE OF THE THEMES IN BANGLADESH, AS WELL AS IN PAKISTAN, WAS THE UPSURGE OF ISLAMIST FUNDAMENTALISM OR ISLAMIST FEELINGS THAT DID NOT GUARANTEE PEOPLE WHO ARE ACCUSED OF BLASPHEMY OF A FAIR TRIAL. // END ACTUALITY // MR. KELSO SAID ONE OF THE CONCERNS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL HAS ALL OVER THE WORLD IS THAT PEOPLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET A FAIR TRIAL REGARDLESS OF WHATEVER CRIMES THEY ARE ACCUSED OF. (SIGNED) CENA/DM/CF 06-Jul-95 9:17 AM EDT (1317 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America
Amnesty International Annual Report Summaries 1995
Amnesty International Annual Report Summaries 1995
Amnesty International Annual Report 1995 Updates
Amnesty International Annual Report 1995 Updates
… Persecution and intimidation of minority sects and religions appears to be increasing with active or tacit approval of public authorities. Such developments are disturbing indeed, but they become alarming when they are validated by the superior judiciary. Pakistan's constitution, which enumerates guaranteed fundamental rights and provides for separation of state power, ensures judicial protection of vulnerable sections of the society against unlawful state action. Unfortunately, Pakistan's superior judiciary has seen fit to abdicate this role completely when it comes to the protection of religious minorities. …
… pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Dard Case. … the pronouncement is an impermissible variance of foundational constitutional jurisprudence of the country, the implied covenant of fredom of religion between religious minorities and Pakistan movement, and the dictates of international human rights law.
… The bulk of this opinion is devoted to establishing that Ahmadis are not Muslims because their theological doctrines are at variance with beliefs of the majority of Muslims, disregarding the appellants' plea that this issue was not before the court and that protection of Article 20 is afforded to the Ahmadis irrespective of classification of their religious beliefs. The court argued that in prohibiting the use of distinguishing characteristics of Islam by the Ahmadis, the ordinance was in line with statutes that regulate commercial activity, target deceptive trade practices, and protect trade marks …
The polemical tone of the judgment and repeated use of rhetorical questions by the court is remarkable. For example, the court asked: "Can then anyone blame a Muslim if he loses control on hearing, reading, or seeing such blasphemous material as has been produced by Mirza Sahib?" The ordinance was upheld on the grounds that "if an Ahmadi is allowed by the administration or the law to display or chant in public, the Shar'i Islam, it is like creating a Rushdi' [sic] out of him. Can the administration in that case guarantee his life, liberty and property, and if so at what cost?"
The Dard Case rests on some rather spurious assumptions and propositions, some express and others implied …