PAKISTAN: Council should help developing judicial infrastructures

An Oral Statement to the 32nd Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

Mr. President.

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) draws attention to Pakistan, where the writ of the State is unraveling and even the façade of the rule of law is vanishing.

Decaying political and justice institutions are perpetuating gross abuse of human rights. Where even a whiff of justice is a distant memory, intolerant mob justice rules the streets, while a crumbling court system delivers only to those with deep pockets.

Since the start of Zarb-e-Azb, the Military operation against the terrorism, extrajudicial killings have ballooned. In virtually all such killings, victims have been picked up by law enforcement agency officials, without warrants, and killed in custody, or in staged encounters.

Barbaric violence against women has increased manifold. Only a fraction of cases are reported; innumerable victims suffer in silence. Honour killings, live burning of girls, and acid attacks continue without relent.

Pakistan has been ranked the fourth most dangerous country in the world for journalists, with a total of 115 killings since 1990. Pakistan is rated “Not Free” in the Freedom of Press Index 2016.

To counter terrorism and militancy, the State set up last year a parallel judicial measure: military courts. Since inception, these courts have passed several death sentences after summary trials. These sentences have added to swell in arbitrary deprivation of life in Pakistan that has claimed over 400 lives since the moratorium on death sentences was lifted. Death sentences passed by an archaic and broken judicial system do not conform to the canons of justice on evidence. Though the government initially promised to hang militants; only around a dozen of those killed have been terrorists; rest of them were ordinary citizens.

The ALRC is concerned that in the absence of the rule of law and a judicial system that upholds justice human rights abuse recur. The Council is urged to consider the judicial infrastructure in Pakistan to help protect Pakistani citizens from abuse.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Webcast video: Link (Please scroll down and click number 30 on Asian Legal Resource Centre)

Document ID : ALRC-COS-32-004-2016
Countries : Pakistan,