Pakistan Human Rights - History

Pakistan Human Rights - History

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Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape is a criminal offense, with punishment that ranges from a minimum of 10 to 25 years in prison and a fine to the death penalty. The penalty for gang rape is death or life imprisonment. Although rape was frequent, prosecutions were rare. Spousal rape is not a crime. In 2016 Parliament passed a new antirape law that provides for collection of DNA evidence and includes nondisclosure of a rape victim’s name, the right to legal representation of rape victims, and enhanced penalties for rape of victims with mental or physical disabilities.

As in previous years, the government did not effectively enforce the 2006 Women’s Protection Act. The act brought the crime of rape under the jurisdiction of criminal rather than Islamic courts. By law police are not allowed to arrest or hold a female victim overnight at a police station without a civil court judge’s consent. The law requires a victim to complain directly to a sessions court, which is considered a trial court for heinous offenses. After recording the victim’s statement, the sessions court judge officially lodges a complaint, after which police may then make arrests. NGOs reported the procedure created barriers for rape victims who could not afford to travel to or access the courts. Rape was a severely underreported crime.

In 2016 the provincial government of Punjab passed the Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act to provide greater legal protections for domestic abuse victims, including judicial protective orders and access to a new network of district-level women’s shelters, the first of which was inaugurated in Multan in March. The center provided women a range of services including assistance with the completion of first information reports (FIRs) regarding the crimes committed against them, first aid, medical examinations, post-trauma rehabilitation, free legal services, and a shelter home.

There were no reliable national, provincial, or local statistics on rape due to underreporting and a lack of any centralized law enforcement data collection system.

According to the Aurat Foundation and others, prosecutions of reported rapes were rare. Police and NGOs reported individuals involved in other types of disputes sometimes filed false rape charges, reducing the ability of police to identify legitimate cases and proceed with prosecution. NGOs reported police were at times implicated in rape cases. NGOs also alleged police sometimes abused or threatened victims, demanding they drop charges, especially when police received bribes from suspected perpetrators or the perpetrators were influential community leaders. Some police demanded bribes from victims before registering rape charges, and investigations were sometimes superficial. The use of postrape medical testing increased, but medical personnel in many areas did not have sufficient training or equipment, which further complicated prosecutions. Accusations of rape were often resolved using extrajudicial measures, with the victim often forced to marry her attacker.

No specific federal law prohibits domestic violence, which was widespread. Forms of domestic violence reportedly included beating, physical disfigurement, shaving of women’s eyebrows and hair, and--in the most extreme cases--homicide. In-laws abused and harassed the wives of their sons. Dowry and other family-related disputes sometimes resulted in death or disfigurement by burning or acid.

Women who tried to report abuse faced serious challenges. Police and judges were sometimes reluctant to take action in domestic violence cases, viewing them as family problems. Instead of filing charges, police typically responded by encouraging the parties to reconcile. Authorities routinely returned abused women to their abusive family members.

To address societal norms that disapprove of victims who report gender-based violence and abuse, the government established women’s police stations, staffed by female officers, to offer women a safe haven where they could safely report complaints and file charges. These women’s police stations, however, struggled with understaffing and limited equipment.

The government continued to operate the Crisis Center for Women in Distress, which referred abused women to NGOs for assistance. Numerous government-funded Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Centers for Women across the country provided legal aid, medical treatment, and psychosocial counseling. These centers served women who were victims of exploitation and violence. Victims later were referred to dar-ul-amans, shelter houses for abused women and children, of which there were several hundred around the country. The dal-ul-amans also provided access to medical treatment. According to NGOs, the shelters did not offer other assistance to women, such as legal aid or counseling, and often served as halfway homes for women awaiting trial for adultery, even though they were the victims of rape and domestic abuse.

Government centers lacked sufficient space, staff, and resources. Conditions in many dar-ul-amans did not meet international standards. Many were severely overcrowded with, in some cases, more than 35 women sharing one toilet. Few shelters offered access to basic needs such as showers, laundry supplies, or feminine hygiene products. In some cases, women were reportedly abused at the government-run shelters, found their movements severely restricted, or were pressured to return to their abusers.

There were some reports of women being trafficked and prostituted out of shelters. Shelter staff reportedly sometimes discriminated against women in shelters; they assumed that if women fled their homes, it was because they were women of ill repute. In some cases, women were reportedly abused at the government-run shelters, found their movements severely restricted, or were pressured to return to their abusers.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): No national law addresses the practice of FGM/C. According to human rights groups and media reports, many Dawoodi Bohra Muslims practiced various forms of FGM/C. Some other isolated tribes and communities in rural Sindh and Balochistan also practiced FGM/C. Some Dawoodi Bohras spoke publicly and signed online petitions against the practice.

Other Harmful Traditional Practices: At times women were victims of various types of societal violence and abuse, including so-called honor killings, forced marriages and conversions, imposed isolation, and being used as chattel to settle tribal disputes.

A 2004 law on honor killings, the 2011 Prevention of Antiwomen Practices Act, and the 2016 Criminal Law Amendment (Offenses in the Name or Pretext of Honor) Act criminalize acts committed against women in the name of traditional practices. Despite these laws, hundreds of women reportedly were victims of so-called honor killings, and many cases went unreported and unpunished. In many cases, the male involved in the alleged “crime of honor” is not killed but allowed to flee. In October 2016 the government passed the anti-honor-killing law, closing the loophole that allowed perpetrators in “honor killings” to go free if the victim’s family pardoned the perpetrator.

Because honor crimes generally occurred within families, many went unreported. Police and NGOs reported that increased media coverage enabled law enforcement officials to take some action against a limited number of perpetrators. In July 2016 social media celebrity Fouzia Azeem (better known as Qandeel Baloch) was killed by her brother at their family home in southern Punjab. The brother said she had shamed the family with her “liberal” lifestyle. The government charged Baloch’s brother and accomplices with her murder, which made the state a party in the case and barred the family from “forgiving” the brother and setting him free, a common outcome in these types of killings.

The practice of cutting off a woman’s nose or ears, especially in connection with honor crimes, was reported, and legal repercussions were rare.

In March, Parliament passed the federal Hindu Marriage Act. The national law codifies the legal mechanisms to register Hindu marriages and to prove the legitimacy of Hindu marriages under the law. While leaders in the Hindu community generally saw the legislation as a positive step toward preventing forced marriages of Hindus to Muslims, the law contains one controversial provision allowing for the termination of the marriage upon the conversion of one party to a religion other than Hinduism. A similar provision was included in Sindh’s 2016 Hindu Marriage Act.

The 2011 Prevention of Antiwomen Practices Amendment Act criminalizes and punishes the giving of a woman in marriage to settle a civil or criminal dispute; depriving a woman of her rights to inherit movable or immovable property by deceitful or illegal means; coercing or in any manner compelling a woman to enter into marriage; and compelling, arranging, or facilitating the marriage of a woman with the Quran, including forcing her to take an oath on the Quran to remain unmarried or not to claim her share of an inheritance. Although prohibited by law, these practices continued in some areas.

The law makes maiming or killing using a corrosive substance a crime and imposes stiff penalties against perpetrators. As with other laws, these measures are not applicable in FATA and PATA unless the president issues a notification to that effect. There were numerous acid attacks on women across the country, with few perpetrators brought to justice.

The 2012 National Commission on the Status of Women Bill provides for the commission’s financial and administrative autonomy to investigate violations of women’s rights. According to women’s rights activists, however, the commission lacked resources and remained powerless.

Sexual Harassment: Although several laws criminalize sexual harassment in the workplace and public sphere, the problem was widespread. Laws require all provinces to establish provincial-level ombudsmen. Sindh was the first province to do so in 2012. Punjab Province and administrative district Gilgit-Baltistan also established ombudsmen.

Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, or other coercive population control methods. Estimates on maternal mortality and contraceptive prevalence are available at:

Discrimination: The law prohibits discrimination based on sex in general, but authorities did not enforce it. Women also faced discrimination in employment, family law, property law, and the judicial system. Family law provides protection for women in cases of divorce, including requirements for maintenance, and sets clear guidelines for custody of minor children and their maintenance.

The law entitles female children to one-half the inheritance of male children. Wives inherit one-eighth of their husbands’ estates. Women often received far less than their legal entitlement.

10 Facts About Human Rights in Pakistan

Pakistan, cushioned between India and Afghanistan, is home to more than 212 million people and is the sixth most populous country in the world. Each one of these people living in Pakistan should be given basic human rights no matter their ethnic origin, color, gender, religion or any other reason.

Even if human rights should be granted to everyone, not everyone is given the same rights as the other in some countries around the world. There is much to know how each human is treated or could be treated in the country of Pakistan. Here are 10 facts on human rights in Pakistan.

10 Facts On Human Rights in Pakistan

  1. Attacks on civil society. A civil society is a community of citizens linked by common interests, and in Pakistan some aspects of civil society are under attack. For instance, an attack on a school killing 140 people, mostly children, made those among the positive civil society in Pakistan protest against the government for supporting the “good” Taliban. When these protests arose, so did the safety concerns of Pakistan’s civil society. These people were attacked with laws and organizations put against them.
  2. Freedom of religion. In 2017, there were at least 19 people on death row under blasphemy charges, many of whom were members of religious minorities in Pakistan. This situation, combined with many others, has put Pakistan at a severe level of ‘violations of religious freedom’ — religious minorities and atheists are at a higher risk than ever before.
  3. Children’s rights. Child marriage is a major concern in Pakistan, with 21 percent of girls under the age of 18 already married. Along with child marriages, lack of education also heavily impacts children in Pakistan. There have been many attacks on the school, and children are frequently used in suicide bombings. Unfortunately, roughly five million children are not able to attend school in Pakistan.
  4. Women’s rights. Many women in Pakistan face rape, acid attacks, domestic violence and “honor” killings. It is estimated that there are about 1,000 “honor” killings a year on Pakistani women. If a woman is accused of adultery, fornication or an immoral behavior that violates societal and religious norms, she is then subjected to an “honor” killing.
  5. Refugees. Pakistan is host to the largest refugee population in the world. According to UNHCR, there are more than 1.45 million refugees in Pakistan, many of whom are from Afghanistan. In many areas, the Pakistani police have extorted money from registered and undocumented refugees from Afghanistan. Between January to August in 2017, up to 82,019 Afghan refugees returned or were deported back to Afghanistan.
  6. Terrorism. Many security forces in Pakistan are linked to terrorist intentions. Many times when suspects were to be charged, there were serious violations regarding torture and secret detention centers. Many of those who are detained were activists and human rights defenders.
  7. Forced Disappearances. Many minority groups are under attack in Pakistan, and forced disappearances can occur. In 2017, the government received 868 new cases of forced disappearances, a figure which is more than the previous two years. The government was able to locate 555 of those who had disappeared, but there are still 313 people missing.
  8. Freedom of expression. Many journalists, bloggers and social media users have been attacked in relation with Pakistan. For instance, there were five bloggers whose comments online led to forced disappearances. Four of the five bloggers were later released, but two of them said that they were tortured while in custody. The fifth blogger has still not been unfound.
  9. Human rights defenders. Whether lawyers, bloggers, journalists or activists, voices of truth are often subjected to harassment, threats and forms of violence. In 2016, the Pakistani government argued that human rights defenders did not warrant special legal status and the protection of human rights defenders was a conspiracy by western countries to interfere in domestic affairs in developing countries.
  10. A glimpse at progress. It may seem that human rights in Pakistan is lacking, but there have been some instances of progress over the years. In Punjab, Pakistani authorities are now accepting marriage licenses in the Sikh community, giving union protections under the law. Another progression in human rights for Pakistan is restoring section 7 of the Christian Divorce Act. In this section, Christians who wish to divorce can do so civilly without the threat of false accusations of adultery. Despite the many downfalls on human rights for women, there was an increase of 3.8 million women able to vote in the most recent election compared to 2013.

Postive Push

While there may be progress budding in regard to human rights in Pakistan, the road to completely improved human rights will be long and difficult. If those pushing for their rights are heard and supported, the return of basic human rights and safety can return to Pakistan.

Persian Empire - First know empire to Charter Human rights in Human History

The charter of Cyrus the Great, a baked-clay Aryan language (Old Persian) cuneiform cylinder, was discovered in 1878 in excavation of the site of Babylon. In it, Cyrus the Great described his human treatment of the inhabitants of Babylonia after its conquest by the Iranians.

The document has been hailed as the first charter of human rights, and in 1971 the United Nations was published translation of it in all the official U.N. languages. "May Ahura Mazda protect this land, this nation, from rancor, from foes, from falsehood, and from drought". Selected from the book "The Eternal Land".

I am Cyrus.
King of the world. When I entered Babylon. I did not allow anyone to terrorise the land. I kept in view the needs of Babylon and all its sanctuaries to promote their well-being. I put an end to their misfortune.

From The First Charter of the Rights of Nations

Cyrus, The Great, 539 B.C.
Founder of The First Persian Empire

yrus The Great
Portrait of Cyrus King of Persia Cyrus (580-529 BC) was the first Achaemenid Emperor. He founded Persia by uniting the two original Iranian Tribes- the Medes and the Persians. Although he was known to be a great conqueror, who at one point controlled one of the greatest Empires ever seen, he is best remembered for his unprecedented tolerance and magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated.

Upon his victory over the Medes, he founded a government for his new kingdom, incorporating both Median and Persian nobles as civilian officials. The conquest of Asia Minor completed, he led his armies to the eastern frontiers. Hyrcania and Parthia were already part of the Median Kingdom. Further east, he conquered Drangiana, Arachosia, Margiana and Bactria. After crossing the Oxus, he reached the Jaxartes, where he built fortified towns with the object of defending the farthest frontier of his kingdom against nomadic tribes of Central Asia.

The victories to the east led him again to the west and sounded the hour for attack on Babylon and Egypt. When he conquered Babylon, he did so to cheers from the Jewish Community, who welcomed him as a liberator- he allowed the Jews to return to the promised Land. He showed great forbearance and respect towards the religious beliefs and cultural traditions of other races. These qualities earned him the respect and homage of all the people over whom he ruled.

In the Charter, after introducing himself and mentioning the names of his father, first, second, and third ancestors, Cyrus says that he is the monarch of Iran, Babylon, and the four continents: I am Kourosh (Cyrus), King of the world, great king, mighty king, king of Babylon, king of the land of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters, son of Camboujiyah (Cambyases), great king, king of Anshan, grandson of Kourosh (Cyrus), great king, king of Anshan, descendant of Chaish-Pesh (Teispes), great king, king of Anshan, progeny of an unending royal line, whose rule Bel and Nabu cherish, whose kingship they desire for their hearts, pleasure. When I well-disposed, entered Babylon, I set up a seat of domination in the royal palace amidst jubilation and rejoicing. Marduk the great god, caused the big-hearted inhabitations of Babylon to . me, I sought daily to worship him.

At my deeds Marduk, the great lord, rejoiced and to me, Kourosh (Cyrus), the king who worshipped him, and to Camboujiyah (Cambyases), my son, the offspring of (my) loins, and to all my troops he graciously gave his blessing, and in good sprit before him we glorified exceedingly his high divinity. All the kings who sat in throne rooms, throughout the four quarters, from the Upper to the Lower Sea, those who dwelt in . all the kings of the West Country, who dwelt in tents, brought me their heavy tribute and kissed my feet in Babylon. From . to the cities of Ashur, Susa, Agade and Eshnuna, the cities of Zamban, Meurnu, Der as far as the region of the land of Gutium, the holy cities beyond the Tigris whose sanctuaries had been in ruins over a long period, the gods whose abode is in the midst of them, I returned to their places and housed them in lasting abodes. I gathered together all their inhabitations and restored (to them) their dwellings. The gods of Sumer and Akkad whom Nabounids had, to the anger of the lord of the gods, brought into Babylon. I, at the bidding of Marduk, the great lord, made to dwell in peace in their habitations, delightful abodes. May all the gods whom I have placed within their sanctuaries address a daily prayer in my favour before Bel and Nabu, that my days may be long, and may they say to Marduk my lord, "May Kourosh (Cyrus) the King, who reveres thee, and Camboujiyah (Cambyases) his son . "

Now that I put the crown of kingdom of Iran, Babylon, and the nations of the four directions on the head with the help of (Ahura) Mazda, I announce that I will respect the traditions, customs and religions of the nations of my empire and never let any of my governors and subordinates look down on or insult them until I am alive. From now on, till (Ahura) Mazda grants me the kingdom favor, I will impose my monarchy on no nation. Each is free to accept it , and if any one of them rejects it , I never resolve on war to reign. Until I am the king of Iran, Babylon, and the nations of the four directions, I never let anyone oppress any others, and if it occurs , I will take his or her right back and penalize the oppressor. And until I am the monarch, I will never let anyone take possession of movable and landed properties of the others by force or without compensation. Until I am alive, I prevent unpaid, forced labor. To day, I announce that everyone is free to choose a religion. People are free to live in all regions and take up a job provided that they never violate other's rights. No one could be penalized for his or her relatives' faults. I prevent slavery and my governors and subordinates are obliged to prohibit exchanging men and women as slaves within their own ruling domains. Such a traditions should be exterminated the world over. I implore to (Ahura) Mazda to make me succeed in fulfilling my obligations to the nations of Iran (Persia), Babylon, and the ones of the four directions.

The Cyrus the Great Cylinder
Edited by: Shapour Ghasemi

The Cyrus the Great Cylinder is the first charter of right of nations in the world. It is a baked-clay cyliner in Akkadian language with cuneiform script. This cylinder was excavated in 1879 by the Assyro-British archaeologist Hormuzd Rassam in the foundations of the Esagila (the Marduk temple of Babylon) and is kept today in the British Museum in London.

Cyrus the Great Cylinder, The First Charter of Rights of Nations

On October 12 (Julian calendar October 7 by the Gregorian calendar) 539 BC, Achaemanid army without any conflict entered the city of Babylon. Cyrus the Great himself, on October 29, entered the city, assuming the titles of "king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four corners of the world". Cyrus The Great, on this cylinder, describes how he conquers the old city of Babylon and how his mighty army in peace marched into the city his claim that he entered the city peacefully supports the same statement in the Chronicle of Nabonidus. The last king of Babylon, Nabonidus, is considered a tyrant with odd religious ideas, which causes Marduk, patron deity of the city of Babylon to intervene. Cyrus considers himself chosen by a supreme god, is confirmed by Second Isaiah, the chapters 40-55 of the Biblical book of Isaiah. The Cyrus Cylinder then was placed under the walls of "Esagila" as a foundation deposit, following a Mesopotamian tradition.

Cyrus The Great Cylinder, in the British Museum, London
There were three main premises in the decrees of the Cyrus Cylinder: the political formulization of racial, linguistic, and religious equality, slaves and all deported peoples were to be allowed to return to home and all destroyed temples were to be restored.[1]

In 1971, the Cyrus Cylinder was described as the world&#8217s first charter of human rights,[1, 2, 3, 4] and it was translated into all six official U.N. languages.[4] A replica of the cylinder is kept at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City in the second floor hallway, between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council chambers.[5]

Passages in the text of cylinder have been interpreted as expressing Cyrus&#8217 respect for humanity, and as promoting a form of religious tolerance and freedom and as result of his generous and humane policies, Cyrus gained the overwhelming support of his subjects.[6]

The Cyrus Cylinder is not the only reason that the Cyrus legacy is admired. According to Professor Richard Frye[7]:

"In short, the figure of Cyrus has survived throughout history as more than a great man who founded an empire. He became the epitome of the great qualities expected of a ruler in antiquity, and he assumed heroic features as a conqueror who was tolerant and magnanimous as well as brave and daring. His personality as seen by the Greeks influenced them and Alexander the Great, and, as the tradition was transmitted by the Romans, may be considered to influence our thinking even now."

The size of Cyrus Cylinder is 23 cm long, 11 cm wide with 40+ lines of writing (although broken) and it is dated 539 BCE.

For the translation of the scripts on the cylinder plz go through below link

Religious Extremism

According to Shi'a and Sunni political leaders, as well as government officials, the violence against religious minorities is not the result of societal intolerance among religious communities, but is organized and carried out by groups of religious extremists.

Despite the closer cooperation established between our two governments following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the Pakistani government's finding and capturing al-Qaeda leaders, the forces of intolerance have gained ground in Pakistan. As a result of changes to the election rules initiated by the Musharraf government, Islamist political parties made strong gains in Pakistan's national and provincial legislative elections in October 2002. The legislature in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, dominated by a coalition of these parties, recently passed legislation imposing social controls reminiscent of the Taliban regime in neighboring Afghanistan. Pending provincial legislation would establish religious police and enforcement mechanisms unaccountable to the courts. This has led to intensified concerns about the potentially negative implications in these developments for freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and the rights of women.

Pakistan has a large number of Islamic religious schools that play an important role in the country's educational system. There have been reports that a very small percentage of these schools provide weapons and other training and thus contribute to religious violence. A scholar who testified before the Commission and who has studied Islamic religious schools has concluded that some of these schools run by particular religious groups provide ideological training and motivation to those who go on to fight in Afghanistan and Kashmir, and take part in violence targeting religious minorities in Pakistan as described above. The government has been criticized in Pakistan for not taking steps to disarm these schools and to put a stop to their involvement in acts of violence.

How 9/11 put the Taliban into Pakistan

It all started with the al-Qaeda attacks in September 2001 in New York and Washington.

When the US attacked Afghanistan in October 2001, the Taliban forces that had sheltered al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden melted away without a fight.

Pakistan, which was one of only three countries to have recognised the Taliban when they seized power in Kabul in 1996, had an interest in keeping the movement alive as part of its efforts to prevent Indian influence from spreading in Afghanistan.

So while Pakistan had been dependent on US military aid for decades and the then military regime of Gen Pervez Musharraf had joined the US "war on terror", it also allowed the Taliban to carve out sanctuaries in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal areas, notably the districts of North and South Waziristan.

But the Afghan Taliban did not cross the border alone. Militants from a complex array of different groups poured into the tribal region and some were far more hostile to the Pakistani state.

Jihadists with global ambitions also began plotting attacks from Waziristan, prompting demands from Washington that Pakistan do more to crush Islamist militancy.

As violence spread, Pakistan was caught "between an inclination to fight militant forces and yet having to partner with some to strengthen its future bargaining position", said Ayesha Siddiqa, a security analyst and author of the book Military Inc: Inside Pakistan's Military Economy.

In 2014, Pakistan launched a new operation in North Waziristan that increased pressure on militant groups and their safe havens and was credited with reducing attacks elsewhere in the country.


It is argued that slavery exists in the modern world in the form of human trafficking. Can it be claimed that this form of slavery is being reduced by actions of the state with regards to the international protection of human rights?

It has been 240 years since Great Britain abolished slavery in the United Kingdom.[2] It has been 150 years since slavery was outlawed in the United States of America[3] and the Indian subcontinent has been free from this horror since 1843.[4] Yet even today in the twenty first century there exists a form of slavery older, further reaching, irrepressible and more universal than any of the individual perversions of civil rights found across the world. This is of course, a reference to how prostitution and the human trafficking that ensues with it simultaneously are a modern form of slavery.

This paper on Prostitution and Human Trafficking will focus first on the position of international law on this particular issue, and then an introduction of the Pakistani perspective will follow. This will include the current legal status of prostitution as well as the problems that it is facing. The paper will then focus on future steps that Pakistan should be taking, their potential effectiveness and their accordance with the standard held out in the international legal arena.

In order for human rights infringement(s) to receive attention and possible enforcement it is extremely important that there should be an international standards that may be followed at a domestic level. One of the best standard at the international level, with respect to human rights in general and human trafficking in specific is the standard set in the charter[5]. It is surprising, rather shocking that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights makes no mention at all of human trafficking. The only way to cover it using the argument that human trafficking, because it is now widely regarded as a form of modern day slavery[6], falls under the purview of Article 8 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The fact, however, that the words ‘human trafficking’ are nowhere to be found within the Covenant itself is problematic.

As far as specialist treaties are concerned, two important treaties are the European Trafficking convention and the Trafficking protocol (also known as the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons). The European Trafficking Convention is jurisdictionally inapplicable to the state of Pakistan it may be regarded as irrelevant for our current purposes. The Trafficking protocol on the other hand is very relevant.

It is important to keep in mind that Pakistan can benefit immensely from a standard of legislative drafting to follow in this area of human rights. This will enable Pakistan to create positive action with regards to human trafficking.[7]

This particular protocol is currently the best guide to human trafficking law currently available for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is that not only does the protocol identify the trafficking of children independently from adult trafficking it also provides more practical solutions than simply stating that human trafficking is a crime. The protocol recommends steps to prevent and to discourage re-victimisation specifically of women and children.

Additionally, the protocol strongly recommends proportional punishments for perpetrators found guilty of being involved in human trafficking. Amongst these punishments is the recommendation that parental rights of parents, caregivers etc be suspended if they are found to be guilty. These seem like strong steps and this is precisely why this Protocol is so highly regarded with signatures from 117 from states around the world. The strength of the drafting within the Protocol gives a certain degree of importance to the problem of human trafficking that may have been missing in previous years.

The situation of prostitution and human trafficking in Pakistan is dire. An influential Pakistani Think Tank has provided an illustration of the level of criminal activity that is relevant for analysis. This particular report states statistics which highlight the struggle of the Pakistani state with these crimes. The report states:

  1. In the last 10 years two hundred thousand Bangladeshi women have been trafficked to Pakistan, two thousand of which are now in Pakistani jails.
  2. “Bangladeshi and Burmese women are kidnapped, married off to agents by naive unsuspecting parents, trafficked under false pretences, or coerced with wonderful stories of a better life…”
  3. There has been a significant rise in the trafficking of children between the ages of eight and fifteen.

These are some of the statistics within this report and they paint a harrowing picture where the prostitution which includes underage coerced and nearly unpaid girls is founded upon a system of human trafficking that is as vast as the prostitution is distressing.

Having briefly considered the urgency of the situation it needs to be seen what laws are present that should be preventing a situation such as this from taking place.

The statute in question was introduced by the state of Pakistan in 2002[8]. This act was known as the Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance 2002. In the 12 years that this Act has been in force the statistics seem to indicate that the situation has only gotten worse. It might be arguable to say that the act simply sets out to criminalise human trafficking instead of a more pragmatic solution to prevent and counteract against the occurrence of this phenomena.

Another issue was that the rules governing this statute[9] did not afford sufficient protection to the victims of Human Trafficking. The extent of protection accorded was that repatriation was provided and expected to take place at the earliest possibility On the other hand however the statute does not guarantee anonymity if the victim so requires, this is peculiar particularly in cases of victims who are minors, the act goes so far as to say that the victims ‘must’ be produced before the court for recording purposes.

The constitution of Pakistan[10] makes several guarantees against situations of Human Trafficking particularly in ss.10[11], 10A[12] and 11[13]. These constitutional guarantees are however meaningless without an effective, specialized legislation meant to deal entirely with human trafficking which unlike the 2002 act, has a more pragmatic way of preventing human trafficking within Pakistan.

Having considered the current situation of human trafficking law in Pakistan, it is reasonable to say that as the law stands, it could be regarded as unsatisfactory. Fortunately, the ineffectiveness of the current law has been recognised and the state of Pakistan has created a plan[14] to combat the worsening situation of human trafficking in Pakistan.

In order to assess the likelihood that this planned action will be successful in a volatile environment such as Pakistan it is essential to first scrutinise it in light of any flaws or deficiencies that it exhibits.

The so called ‘National Action Plan’ is aimed at preventing human trafficking through more comprehensive techniques than were previously employed. An area that this plan has failed to target is prostitution. According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), USA report[15] the majority of prostitutes expressed that prostitution was not their career of choice, wanted to leave or thought that they had no alternative for survival. One of the major reasons behind this is that human trafficking accounts for a large proportion of prostitution. The question then arises as to how this relates to the failure of the national action plan.

The answer lies in that prostitution has such a strong connection with human trafficking, so much so that there is a specific proportion of human trafficking that is accounted for solely by the demand for prostitutes in a country,[16] any action that does not account for this is substantially lacking. This is especially true when it is kept in mind that the National Action Plan has a portion reserved solely for what it calls an “Awareness Program”. The argument could, and probably should be made, that any awareness campaign designed to prevent or counter human trafficking is incomplete without creating a dialog with the citizens of the state in a positive effort to limit the demand for prostitution through this awareness.

This problem is further compounded by the fact that prostitution is either treated as an open secret[17] or the victims of human trafficking are treated as the real criminals, which is evident from the fact that 2,000 women who were trafficked for the purposes of sexual entertainment are living in Pakistani jails[18]. This particular injustice is also directly linked to the deficiency in the awareness program that does not cater to how the officials should treat the prostitutes linked with human trafficking as victims and try to rehabilitate them as is recommended by the aforementioned FBI report.

Unfortunately, this is not the only major problem in the National Action Plan and in Pakistan’s general stance on human trafficking. The Trafficking Protocol is the leading convention on human trafficking in the world and this may be seen from the fact that 159 states are party to it with 117 of them having also signed it. Pakistan is not one of these countries.[19] Despite the Nation Action Plan, this puts into serious doubt any hope of future amendments to the existing human trafficking law.

Furthermore, the non participation in this protocol raises issues of a different character. The credibility of any proposed actions that the National Action Plan puts forward must now be scrutinised because of this non participation. So when the Action Plan states that international cooperation will be on the agenda it is difficult to determine the credibility of this claim in light of the fact that the major convention in this regard has not been signed.

It is true however that the National Action Plan does state under the title, ‘Campaign Includes’ that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will arrange for the signing of international conventions and protocols but the positive effects of the signing will begin after it has actually been signed and until then the situation of human trafficking will be will be deteriorating, or at best at a standstill.

To call human trafficking in Pakistan a problem is an understatement. To say that the current rules governing this area of the law are not effective enough is quite clear from the statistics that researchers have found. The real question however is twofold, [1] Can Pakistan reverse the situation of human trafficking? And [2] How?

[1] Human trafficking is at a critical point in Pakistan the amount of people being forced or coerced to join the sex trade is truly astonishing. The difference between the current scenario and a reversal of it cannot be anything less than an overhaul in the thinking process and ultimately in the system of enforcement.

[2] This is a far more difficult and specific question. The first step that the state of Pakistan needs to take is the signing and ratification of the Trafficking Protocol. This is an extremely important step for a number of reasons. Firstly, because it will allow Pakistan greater cooperation with other states to combat human trafficking so as to create a double preventive measure, in the state importing and exporting the trafficking. Secondly, it will give the Pakistani state a model that it can follow whenever it decides to amend or repeal the current outdated legislature on human trafficking.

A positive sign that may be seen in the National Action Plan is the introduction of specialised enforcement authorities for human trafficking cases. An addition to this which should be proposed is the rehabilitation of trafficked prostitutes as well an attempt to disrupt the trafficking mafia by diminishing the demand for prostitutes by creating greater awareness.

The battle against human trafficking is an uphill one, but it is not one that cannot be fought. Pakistan must show those who compose the nation a higher standard- that this is the only way to abolish this slavery.

[1] The author is a final year student pursuing his law degree from the University of London external programme.

[3] The Thirteenth amendment to the United States Constitution

[6] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Article 3 paragraph (a)

[7] Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Guide to the new UN Trafficking protocol

[8] Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance 2002 An Ordinance to prevent and control Human Trafficking

[9] Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Rules 2004

[10] The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1974

[14] Pakistan National Action Plan for combating Human Trafficking

[15] Prostitution and Human Trafficking: A Paradigm Shift by Steve Marcin

[16] The Brown Journal of World Affairs, vol. XIX, issue II, Spring/Summer 2013 by Ambassador Swanee Hunt, chair, Demand Abolition

[17] An Open Secret by Masood Nabi Khan,

[19] Chapter XVIII: Penal Matters, Trafficking Protocol

Childhood and early activism

The daughter of an outspoken social activist and educator, Yousafzai was an excellent student. Her father—who established and administered the school she attended, Khushal Girls High School and College in the city of Mingora—encouraged her to follow in his path. In 2007 the Swat valley, once a vacation destination, was invaded by the TTP. Led by Maulana Fazlullah, the TTP began imposing strict Islamic law, destroying or shutting down girls’ schools, banning women from any active role in society, and carrying out suicide bombings. Yousafzai and her family fled the region for their safety, but they returned when tensions and violence eased.

On September 1, 2008, when Yousafzai was 11 years old, her father took her to a local press club in Peshawar to protest the school closings, and she gave her first speech—“How Dare the Taliban Take Away My Basic Right to Education?” Her speech was publicized throughout Pakistan. Toward the end of 2008, the TTP announced that all girls’ schools in Swat would be shut down on January 15, 2009. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) approached Yousafzai’s father in search of someone who might blog for them about what it was like to live under TTP rule. Under the name Gul Makai, Yousafzai began writing regular entries for BBC Urdu about her daily life. She wrote from January through the beginning of March of that year 35 entries that were also translated into English. Meanwhile, the TTP shut down all girls’ schools in Swat and blew up more than 100 of them.

In February 2009 Yousafzai made her first television appearance, when she was interviewed by Pakistani journalist and talk show host Hamid Mir on the Pakistan current events show Capital Talk. In late February the TTP, responding to an increasing backlash throughout Pakistan, agreed to a cease-fire, lifted the restriction against girls, and allowed them to attend school on the condition that they wear burkas. However, violence resurged only a few months later, in May, and the Yousafzai family was forced to seek refuge outside of Swat until the Pakistani army was able to push the TTP out. In early 2009 The New York Times reporter Adam Ellick worked with Yousafzai to make a documentary, Class Dismissed, a 13-minute piece about the school shutdown. Ellick made a second film with her, titled A Schoolgirl’s Odyssey. The New York Times posted both films on their Web site in 2009. That summer she met with the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, and asked him to help with her effort to protect the education of girls in Pakistan.

With Yousafzai’s continuing television appearances and coverage in the local and international media, it had become apparent by December 2009 that she was the BBC’s young blogger. Once her identity was known, she began to receive widespread recognition for her activism. In October 2011 she was nominated by human rights activist Desmond Tutu for the International Children’s Peace Prize. In December of that year she was awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize (later renamed the National Malala Peace Prize).

Human rights in Pakistan

Human beings are born free but are encountering a number of issues that eventually snatch their freedom and make them slaves. The worst form of slavery is the inability of people to think independently and rationally. This kind of slavery grows when people stop demanding their rights.A nation can never become prosperous till basic rights for its citizens are ensured. A number of efforts have been made both at national and international levels to provide and protect fundamental human rights . However, many people, both in developing and developed countries, are still deprived of themPakistan is no exception. Followed by the right to quality education and employment, freedom of speech and expression has also become a rare commodity, whereas the constitution of Pakistan guarantees equal provision of rights.

The worst form of human rights violation taking place in Pakistan is child abuse. According to a private media report, around 3,445 cases regarding the sexual abuse of children were filed in, 2017. The actual number is most likely much higher, as child abuse is a sensitive issue that many parents feel reluctant to report. This happens due to lack of awareness among masses. This menace is increasing with each passing day. However, if a child abuse case is exposed, a number of promises are made by the authorities concerned to adopt proper measures in order to protect children. Speeches are delivered to put an end to this curse. But, after a few days another incident of the same nature takes place. Serious efforts are needed to eradicate this evil. This form of violation cannot be ended until the offenders are given exemplary punishments, to create future deterrence.

Moreover, women are considered an integral part of any society. Equal participation of women is important to put our country on the road to prosperity. Followed by domestic violence, honour killing is another issue that needs to be dealt immediately. Moreover, lack of employment and educational opportunities have paved the way for gender discrimination in our society. It is believed that when a woman is educated, positives impacts can be seen on that particular society. Our country can never be prosperous until Pakistai women are empowered. It is an alarming fact that women’s labour force participation in our country is around 22.7 %. Since female literacy rate is less than the male literacy rate, women don’t get equally employment opportunities. Many women are working on less than minimum wages.According to the Global Gender Gap Report (2017) Pakistan ranked as the second worst country among 144.It is the responsibility of our government to ensure the presence of women at educational institutions and work places by solving the issue of gender inequality. It is a sad fact that many organizations prefer to hire males under the assumption that that men are more competent and hard-working than women. Such biases deprive our women of their basic rights. Such factors show that human rights are deteriorating badly.

Moreover, the freedom of speech and expression is almost nonexistent in many areas of our country. If a particular group raises a voice for the rights of its people, it is rarely encouraged. According to article 19 of our constitution, every citizen has the right to express himself. The sad plight of this right is not a hidden secret. Many times people are killed or beaten to death if they give their opinion against the poor performance of the authorities or institutions.Moreover, many human rights activists are still absent in many areas of our country. Such circumstances make other people fearful and deprive them of their right to freedom of speech and expression. Sometimes people do not feel reluctant to take the law into their own hands, as proved by the murder of Mashaal Khan. Most of the time, such situations arise when people are not allowed to think critically and analytically. Unfortunately, our education system is far behind the needs of modern times. At our educational institutions students are not encouraged to raise questions that need to be answered. Even if a teacher tries to teach his students to think independently and critically, he faces dire consequences. It is not the certification, but learning that is the main purpose of education. At every educational institution, there must be different societies and platforms dedicated to providing every student with a chance to express his opinions. Such factors can decrease extremism, especially madrassas.

In a nutshell, the provision of human rights guarantees not only peaceful coexistence of citizens but also prosperity for the country. Pakistan cannot be prosperous until its citizens get all their fundamental rights without any discrimination of race, class, creed and area. All the policies must be people centric rather than area centric. No one must be deprived of any of his rights. We will have to accept this fact before visualizing a better future.

Violation of Human Rights in Pakistan

In the course of your work, you may meet competitors, government officials and others from Pakistan and we should like you to take any opportunities to draw attention to Pakistan’s dreadful human rights record, of which we summarise some examples below.

The President, General Pervez Musharraf, has had absolute power since he took it in 1999 and is therefore responsible for all aspects of Pakistani law and public policy.

1. Under Section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code, there is an offence (vaguely defined) of “blasphemy” for which there is a penalty of death by hanging. Some people are in prison awaiting trials for “blasphemy”, some have been sentenced to death and some have appeals pending. The best – known case of a prosecution under this Section is that of medical lecturer Dr. Younis Shaikh. Details are available from the organizations below.

2. Many people have been murdered by mobs in Pakistan in recent years. We have no hard evidence to implicate General Musharraf but it is documented that he is unwilling to ask the United Nations to set up bases in Pakistan to:

a) Offer sanctuary and/or safe transport to people who claim to be in fear of violence (whether or not religiously motivated).
b) Carry out video surveillance aimed at identifying those who commit or attempt to commit violence against people and/or property.
c) Arrest anyone shown by video surveillance or witnessed by United Nations staff to have committed or attempted to commit any such violence.

3. In some court hearings in Pakistan, women are not allowed to testify. For example, in a rape trial, the alleged victim is not allowed to testify and even if a dozen other women claim to have witnessed the offence, none is allowed to testify.

4. According to BBC reports, families of some competitors in the Games have been forced by the Pakistani authorities to pledge bonds (similar to bail bonds) enforceable in respect of any competitors who fail to return to Pakistan. (A similar practice existed at the height of the Cold War in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the former German Democratic Republic.) (Anxiety over this matter might impair some competitors’ performances.)

Further information on human rights violations by the Pakistani authorities is available from the following organizations:

Pakistan apprises UNSC of grave human rights situation in IIOJK

Pakistan on Friday called upon the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to exercise its legal and moral authority for implementation of its resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir dispute guaranteeing an inalienable right to self-determination.

As the country observed annual Kashmir Solidarity Day, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi approached the UNSC president and the UN secretary general to apprise them of India’s continuing gross and systematic violations of human rights in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

As part of Pakistan’s sustained diplomatic outreach, he also apprised them of India’s unlawful campaign to colonise the occupied territory, and its belligerent and hostile actions against Pakistan, including persistent ceasefire violations, which posed a threat to peace and security.

The foreign minister, in his letter addressed to the UNSC president and the UN secretary general, underscored that all unilateral and illegal measures taken by India in the occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir in violation of international law, including relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and the 4th Geneva Convention, such as changes in the demographic structure, usurpation of land and farcical “elections”, were null and void, according to a Foreign Office press release.

Drawing attention to India’s perpetration of terrorism and subversion against Pakistan, Foreign Minister Qureshi recalled the detailed dossier presented to the United Nations containing irrefutable evidence of India’s active planning, promoting, aiding, abetting, financing and execution of terrorist activities against Pakistan.

India’s smear campaign to malign Pakistan internationally revealed through the EU DisinfoLab report had also been brought to the attention of the Security Council, he added.

The foreign minister noted that the recent exposé of transcripts in the Indian media further established its orchestration of “false flag” operations and belligerent actions for domestic political and electoral gains.

He also apprised the Security Council of alarming incident in December 2020 of firing upon a clearly marked vehicle of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), threatening the safety and security of UN peacekeepers and impeding the fulfilment of their mandate.

The foreign minister called upon the Security Council to urge India to immediately lift the continuing military siege, and rescind the illegal and unilateral actions in the IIOJK, remove restrictions on communications, movement and peaceful assembly, and release incarcerated Kashmiri political leaders.

He also called for freeing all arbitrarily and illegally detained Kashmiris, freezing and reversal of new domicile rules and property laws designed to change the demographic structure of IIOJK, and remove the draconian laws enabling Indian occupation forces to continue human rights violations with impunity, including extrajudicial killings in fake encounters.

Moreover, the foreign minister asked the UNSC to urge India to allow access to the occupied territory to the UN observers, international human rights and humanitarian organisations, observers and the international media.

The letter by the foreign minister is part of Pakistan’s continuous efforts to keep the UN Security Council and the Secretary General fully apprised of the grave situation in the IIOJK and the threat it poses to peace and security in the region.

The top diplomat on Thursday said Kashmir was a state issue and was not limited to a political party or government even though each country had economic and trade interests.

“P5 [the permanent members of United Nations Security Council] understand the position of Pakistan taken on the Kashmir issue and Kashmiris should not lose hope, as the entire nation stands by the oppressed people of India Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” the minister had said in an interview the other day.

Watch the video: Ministry of Human Rights