Human rights worsened in Pakistan during 2007: US -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Human rights worsened in Pakistan during 2007: US

WASHINGTON: Human rights in Pakistan worsened in 2007 despite President Pervez Musharraf’s repeated pledges to foster democracy in the key US ally, a State Department report said Tuesday.

“Despite President Musharraf’s stated commitment to democratic transition, Pakistan’s human rights situation deteriorated during much of 2007,” the department’s annual report on human rights said.

“Under emergency provisions, Pakistani authorities also arrested approximately 6,000 opposition political party workers, human rights advocates, lawyers, and judges,” the report said. By the end of 2007 “there still were 11 suspended judges and three lawyers under house arrest,” it added, also highlighting restrictions on the media.

But the report, which included a separate 60-page section on Pakistan, did say that on the positive side Musharraf had resigned as the chief of army staff in November and went on to lift the state of emergency the following month.

The State Department dropped China from its list of the world’s worst human rights violaters, but added Syria, Uzbekistan and Sudan to the alleged offenders. The State Department’s 2007 Human Rights Report showed China, which has raised hopes it will improve human rights by hosting the 2008 Olympics, had parted company with countries like North Korea, Myanmar and Iran.

No reason was given for removing China – which has been a key partner in talks with Washington to denuclearize North Korea – from the list but the new report said China’s “overall human rights record remained poor” in 2007.

In its report, the State Department listed 10 “countries in which power was concentrated in the hands of unaccountable rulers remained the world’s most systematic human rights violators.” The 2007 top 10 offenders included North Korea, Myanmar, Iran, Syria Zimbabwe, Cuba, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Eritrea and Sudan. Beijing had figured in the top 10 in the 2006 and 2005 reports.

Source: The News