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Human rights watchdog reports dishonor

LAHORE – As many as 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 during 2014.

Briefing media about situation of human rights during the last year here Friday, Chairperson Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Zohra Yusuf said that seven women died in acid attacks on 92 women and 13 minors. As many as 60 women expired in incidents like cylinder blast, stove burning and setting on fire. Asma Jehangir and I A Rehman were also present. HRCP office bearers shared details with media about violation of rights of women, laborers and situation in health, education sector during the last year.

According to HRCP, Global Gender Gap Report (GGGR), 2014 ranked Pakistan second to last in gender equality globally in access to health care, education and work. Punjab government regularized 47,000 Lady Health Workers, announced the establishment of 65 day care centres for working women and introduction of training programmes for 4,000 women from rural areas. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recruited 36 women as the province’s first female anti-terror squad commandos who trained alongside men. The province also established women facilitation desks at the police stations to help the female complainants. Pakistan failed to achieve MDG 4 target of reducing under-five mortality to 52 per 1,000 live births by 2015.

As many as 650 children lost their lives during the year due to drought, malnutrition and lack of maternal care in Tharparkar, Sindh. Alif Ailaan Pakistan revealed that 25 million children, 47% of all Pakistani children, were out of school. Out of these out-of-school children, 68% never attended school while 32% did go to school at some point.

The much trumpeted legislation for child protection in Sindh, Sindh Child Protection Authority Act 2011, awaited implementation in the province despite the lapse of three years since its enactment. Sindh was the first province of Pakistan to approve a bill on prohibition of child marriage. Sahil revealed that around 311 cases of sexual abuse of children had been reported from January to September 30 in 2014, with 214 girls and 97 boys falling prey in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Pakistan ranked sixth on Global Slavery Index 2014 where child labour was most prevalent. As many as 1126 juveniles were incarcerated across prisons in the country including Punjab (764), Sindh (313) and Giglit-Baltistan (3). 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. As many as 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.

As many as 12 doctors, 13 lawyers, 45 members of polio teams — vaccinators and their facilitators were killed in targeted attacks. HRCP monitored 63 killings of people in custody – including four women and two minors – while FIR was registered only in 14 cases. Forty-seven people including seven women underwent custodial torture.

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.

As many as 1.793 million cases were pending in courts across the country. The gap between the laws and their implementation caused crime rates and low conviction rates to grow, especially in relation to crimes against minorities and vulnerable sections of society. No efforts were seen to institute judicial and legal reforms. The legislature seemed inclined to promulgate laws that sought to promote state security at the expense of citizens’ rights and liberties.

As many as 11 Hindu temples and churches were attacked in Sindh.
Two attacks were carried out against the Zikri sect in Balochistan.A total of 144 incidents of sectarian violence were reported from across Pakistan, out of which 144 were sectarian-related terrorist attacks and three were sectarian clashes. 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. Pakistan was termed the most dangerous country in the world for media, with 14 journalists and media workers killed in 2014 alone, making a mockery of the freedom of expression.

The Nation