The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its ‘State of Human Rights in 2015 report’ found that anti-state violence in Pakistan over the past year fell below 2008 levels, while there was a 40 per cent decrease in violence-related deaths in 2015.
The report, released on Friday, examines Pakistan’s performance in various areas, including violence, human rights, rights of women and children, education, health and housing, among others.
Law and order:
There were 706 militant attacks in 2015, a number that is below 2008 levels of anti-state violence. At least 1,325 people were killed in these attacks, including 619 civilians, 348 security forces personnel, 33 pro-government razakars (volunteers) and 325 militants.
There were 18 suicide attacks during the year, a decrease of 31pc compared to 2014.
The report says 4,612 people in 2015 died as a result of violence, compared to 7,622 people in 2014.
The HRCP report found Punjab reported 6,622 fewer cases of crime in 2015 as compared to 2014, while Sindh saw a 42pc reduction in the number of murders in comparison with 2014.
However, crime in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa rose 1pc and 10pc, respectively, compared to 2014 levels.
Administration of justice:
The report says 324 people with no links to terrorism were hanged in 2015, with another 8,000 prisoners on death row.
“Dispensation of justice remained protracted with 2,700 cases pending before the Supreme Court and 60,000 each in the Lahore and Sindh High Court and 9,000 cases in the Balochistan High Court and 28,487 in the Peshawar High Court.”
But the report noted a “significant positive change in application and opinion of the judiciary in cases of blasphemy law”.
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion:
The report states 22 people were booked on blasphemy charges, including 15 Muslims, four Christians and three Ahmadis.
In 2015, 58 sectarian terror attacks were reported, and hundreds of people lost their lives while many more were injured in sectarian and religiously-motivated attacks.
Several thousand citizens belonging to religious minority communities are reported to have left the country over the past few years due “on account of faith-based violence, discrimination and persecution”.
HRCP found that in 2015, 939 women were victims of sexual violence, 279 were victims of domestic violence and 143 women were victims of acid attacks. At least 833 women were kidnapped and 777 committed or attempted to commit suicide.
A total of 1,096 women, 88 men and 170 minors were victims of honour crimes over the past year.
A 7pc increase in the number of child abuse cases was registered in 2015, with 3,768 cases occurring last year, or an average of 10 cases of child abuse per day.
Pakistan has seen an 80pc reduction in the number of polio cases, which dropped to 54 from 306 cases in 2014.
Around 25 million children remained out of school in 2015, and the literacy rate remained around 58pc.
As of 2015 end, there are approximately 10 million child labourers in Pakistan.
Freedom of movement:
The Pakistani passport, the report says, ranked the third worst in the world to travel with, sharing a spot with Somalia.
Some 65,000 names were removed from the Exit Control List in 2015, the report says.
Report Editor Waqar Mustafa said Pakistan “took some definitive steps to recover its lost writ” in the tribal areas and Karachi.
“The military crackdown on some of the militant groups sheltering in the country’s northwestern tribal areas brought terrorist attacks down by almost half, well over 2 million people were internally displaced yet again. And while statistics suggested that things had improved in Karachi after the paramilitary operation… little attention was paid to complaints of rights violations at the hands of the security forces.”
Mustafa adds: “While the state received full support for its efforts to reclaim its writ… deviation from human rights norms and discrimination against the disadvantaged could hardly be ignored.”