HRCP’s State of Human Rights report: 1,723 Pakistanis lost their lives in terrorist attacks in 2014

A mother mourns her son Mohammed Ali Khan, 15, a student who was killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School on December 2014,

A mother mourns her son Mohammed Ali Khan, 15, a student who was killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School on December 2014,

(Originally Posted on Daily Times)

By Faizan Ali Warraich

LAHORE: The annual report on The State of Human Rights in 2014 has revealed that 1,723 Pakistanis lost their lives and 3,143 were injured during 2014 in 1,206 terrorist attacks, including 26 suicide hits.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) issued its annual report titled “State of Human Rights in 2014” on Friday at its head office. HRCP Chairperson Zohra Yusuf and members of the HRCP Policy and Planning Committee from all parts of the country were also present on occasion. The report stated that Pakistan in 2014 witnessed surge in sectarian violence, attack on minorities, media censorship, and remained the worst polio-affected country. The report stated that no laws were made by the federal government to safeguard the interests of religious minorities.

According to the report a total of 144 incidents of sectarian violence were reported from across the country, out of which 144 were sectarian-related terrorist attacks and three sectarian clashes. On freedom of thought the report stated that 11 Hindu temples and churches were attacked in Sindh, two attacks were carried out against the Zikri sect in Balochistan. The HRCP annual report said that Shia pilgrims’ buses passing through Balochistan and passenger buses and vans plying between Gilgit-Baltistan and the rest of the country had to travel in convoys under security escorts.

A Christian couple in Kot Radha Kishen, Punjab, was lynched and burned by a mob for allegedly desecrating a copy of the holy Quran. A total of 11 Ahmadis lost their lives in targeted attacks. According to HRCP research 37 cases were registered during the year for offences relating to religion. Seven of the cases were registered under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code that carries a mandatory sentence of death, while 1.793 million cases were pending in courts across the country. The annual report stated that major media issues surrounded allegedly “blasphemous” content. The media faced crippling fines and blanket bans on coverage forcing many outlets to practice self-censorship.

Pakistan was termed the most dangerous country in the world for media, with 14 journalists and media workers killed in 2014 alone. The country recorded 627,116 cases of crimes against people and property during 2014 as against 634,404 in 2013 – a nominal fall. Sindh Police registered 1,261 cases of kidnapping of women for forced marriages in 2014. There were 114 cases of acid attacks in Pakistan, involving 159 victims, reports said. According to the report, 1,723 people were killed and 3,143 were injured during 2014 in 1,206 terrorist attacks – including 26 suicide hits. Sectarian violence killed 210 people, 45 members of polio teams — vaccinators and their facilitators —were killed.

No laws were made by the federal government to safeguard the interests of religious minorities and only two bills related to minorities were passed at the provincial level by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, report said. According to the report under ‘Law and law-making’ section, parliament made 10 laws, less than half the previous year’s 22, nine presidential ordinances were promulgated. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa passed the highest number of provincial acts and ordinances followed by Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan in 2014, the provincial legislation amounting to 137, and provincial assemblies performance were better than national assembly.

There were 3,392 encounters in 2014 as against 2,616 in 2013 in Sindh. 925 suspects were killed in shootouts and 160 personnel of police and Rangers fell in the line of duty in Karachi. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police killed 26 persons in encounters. Punjab police killed 276 suspected criminals and arrested 322 while 27 policemen died and 59 suspected criminals and 73 policemen got injured in 283 encounters in 2014. While, 231 persons were sentenced to death by the courts. The government lifted the moratorium on executions in the last fortnight of 2014 and by the year-end seven persons had been hanged. On freedom of assembly report said that 14 persons were killed and several hundred injured when clashes erupted between the police and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers on June 16. While, Thousands of people, predominantly women and children, took to the streets in Panjgur, Balochistan to protest against closure of private schools under militants’ threats. As per the report, 134 political activists were killed in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province.

According to HRCP’s monitoring of 48 volatile districts in Pakistan, journalists and human rights defenders suffered 19 attacks in 2014. HRCP’s South Punjab Coordinator and human rights activist Rashid Rehman was shot dead on May 7 in Multan for defending a blasphemy accused, report said. According to the National Internal Security Policy, a document published by the government, about 60 banned organisations were operating in Pakistan.

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According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in 2014: 597 women and girls were gang-raped; 828 raped; 36 stripped in public; 923 women and 82 minor girls – including 21 in Gilgit-Baltistan — fell victim to “honour” killings. Seven women died in acid attacks on 92 women and 13 minors. 60 women expired in other incidents like cylinder blast, stove burning and setting on fire.

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