ISLAMABAD: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) was appalled to learn that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has promulgated an ordinance that extends certain powers of the armed forces that were applicable to erstwhile the erstwhile FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) and PATA (Provincially Administered Tribal Areas) under the 2011 regulations ‘in aid of civil power’ to the entire province.
The HRCP is gravely concerned that serious violations of human rights may be given legal cover under this ordinance. The merger of FATA with KP was intended to provide FATA’s residents with basic rights and access to justice. Ironically, the ordinance may now compromise the rights of citizens across the entire province.
HRCP’s recent fact-finding report reveals a strong trust deficit between the state and citizens of KP – the local communities that HRCP consulted are already wary of what shape law enforcement and access to justice will take.
They have already voiced concerns to HRCP over the fairness of the recent elections amid the continued presence of the armed forces, and are unhappy with the lack of transparency surrounding the Kharqamar incident. The promulgated ordinance does nothing to allay these fears.
Responsibility for maintaining law and order in KP lies squarely on the shoulders of the KP government, and should not be outsourced in this manner. HRCP strongly urges the KP government to heed the aspirations of KP’s people and focus instead on strengthening civilian authority and capacity in the province.