‘Not a single case of missing persons heard by post-Nov 3 SCÂ’
Not a single case of human rights, including the sensitive issue of missing persons, has been heard by the Supreme Court after November 3, 2007, said Iqbal Haider of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). He said this during a press conference at the HRCP’s office on Monday to launch the organisation’s ‘Annual Report 2007’.
A substantial increase in human rights violations was recorded by the HRCP in the past year with officials terming 2007 one of the ‘worst years in PakistanÂ’s history’.
Haider said the ordeal began in March 2007 with the president’s attempt to remove the Chief Justice followed by his determination to secure a new term as president (ignoring the constitutional bar) that deepened the crisis of the state, especially Karachi.
“In a state where the judiciary is not respected, access to justice will remain a distance dream,” he said highlighting the fact that, since the imposition of emergency on November 3, not a single case of missing persons has been heard by the Supreme Court to date.
“The emergency rule did not bring any relief to the people from conflict with the militants either.” “We condemn the Legal Framework Order of 2002 and the constitutional amendments during the six weeks of emergency which was passed without consulting the parliament. That defies the purpose of an elected parliament. The present government should remember that law-making cannot be assigned to an individual,” he reminded.
The HRCP also condemned the amendments in the Hudood Ordinances which were approved despite calls from the Council of Islamic Ideology for a thorough revision of the law. The members also demanded an immediate repeal of this discriminatory law against women.
They reiterated the demand made by the Federal Shariat Court to amend the Citizenship Act of 1951 so that a Pakistani woman’s foreign husband could get Pakistani citizenship. A sharp increase in suicide bombings and attacks on security establishments and personnel was recorded in 2007 as compared to that in 2006, says the report. “927 people were targeted by 71 suicide bombers across the country,” said the report. Benazir Bhutto, the late chairperson of the PPP, was recorded as the most prominent victim of the murderous attacks in 2007.
The report, which was launched in Lahore last week, also includes statistics of victims targeted in sectarian violence (580 killed and 1,120 injured) and journalists and media organisations that were attacked in the previous year.
They condemned the restrictions on freedom of expression in 2007 reminding the present government of the constitutional right of ‘freedom of expression and association’. Furthermore, the HRCP recorded 1,202 killings Ã± of which honour killing crimes were 636, 755 cases of sexual harassment, 377 cases of rape (in addition to 354 victims of gang-rape), 736 kidnappings, 143 burns victims and 339 suicides.
In the health sector, infant morality rate also remained high in 2007 (99 per 1000 births). Violence in academic institutions, problems of refugees, internally displaced people, religious minorities and environment are among the other areas covered by the HRCP.
The report also includes a summary of HRCP activities and fact finding missions conducted during 2007. Present at the conference were the newly-elected members of the HRCP including journalist Ghazi Salahuddin, Vice Chairperson HRCP-Sindh, Asad Butt, Advocate Amarnath Motumal and Ejaz Ahsan from the Karachi chapter.
Source: The News