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`Rape, torture rampant in Pakistan' - The Asian Age

UNI ()
7 February 1997

Title : `Rape, torture rampant in Pakistan'
Author : UNI
Publication : The Asian Age
Date : February 7, 1997

Extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest and detention,
torture or abuse of prisoners and detainees and rape of
women by security forces were widely reported in Pakistan
during 1996 with the overall human rights situation
remaining poor.

Although the Pakistani government publicly pledged to
address human rights problems, particularly those
involving women, child labour and minority religions, the
situation has not shown much change and remains bleak,
says the recently released US state department human
rights reports on 193 counties.

It said the police, investigative and intelligence
agencies and politically motivated court cases were used
to harass and arrest political opponents of the
government. Prison conditions remained bad. The judiciary
has been subject to influence through constitutionally
permitted transfers of judges and appointment of
temporary judges to the high courts and the supreme
court. A supreme court ruling in March, however, limited
the government's power over judicial appointments and

There was no serious government effort to reform the
police or judicial systems or to prosecute those
responsible for abuse. The police continued to conduct
illegal searches and infringe on citizens' privacy, for
example through mail censorship. Case backlogs led to
long delays in trials, and lengthy pretrial detention was
a problem, the report said and added that the government
imposed limited on the freedom of assembly, religion and
movement. It said that political groups, including the
Mohajir Qaumi Movement and their opponents were
responsible for a large number of killings in Karachi.
Religious zealots continued to discriminate against and
persecute minorities, basing their activities in part on
legislation that discriminate against non-Muslims.

Government-imposed procedural changes have made the
registration of blasphemy charges more difficult.
Religious and ethnic-based rivalries resulted in numerous
murders and civil disturbances. Social and legal
constraints kept women in a subordinate position in the

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