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Pakistan

    July 27, 2017
      The rape of a teenage girl ordered by a village council in ‘revenge’ for a rape allegedly committed by her brother is the latest in a long series of horrific incidents and must lead to urgent reforms, said Amnesty International today. While 20 people from a village council near Multan have been arrested for ordering the rape, Pakistan’s authorities must end impunity for sexual violence and abolish so-called village councils that prescribe horrific crimes as revenge.   “Pakistan’s authorities must end impunity for sexual violence and crack down on the so-called village councils that prescribe horrific crimes against women, often in revenge for acts committed by others. For far too long, there has been an indulgence of these unspeakably cruel practices,” said Nadia Rahman, Amnesty International’s Pakistan Campaigner.
    July 24, 2017
      Responding to a bombing near a vegetable market in Lahore that has claimed the lives of at least 11 people, Amnesty International's Pakistan campaigner, Nadia Rahman, said:   "This is a horrific attack that was targeted at ordinary people and has caused an appalling loss of life. The authorities must immediately order an independent and effective investigation. The victims of the bombing deserve justice. The perpetrators must be held accountable in line with international human rights standards."
    June 12, 2017

    Responding to an Anti-Terrorism court’s decision to convict and sentence to death a man for allegedly posting content on Facebook deemed to be ‘blasphemous’, Amnesty International’s Pakistan campaigner, Nadia Rahman, said:

    “Convicting and sentencing someone to death for allegedly posting blasphemous material online is a violation of international human rights law and sets a dangerous precedent. The authorities are using vague and broad laws to criminalize freedom of expression. He and all others accused of ‘blasphemy’ must be released immediately.

    “Instead of holding people accountable for mob violence that has killed at least three people and injured several more in recent months, the authorities are becoming part of the problem by enforcing laws that lack safeguards and are open to abuse.

    March 22, 2017

    Pakistan’s lawmakers must immediately reverse their decision to reinstate military courts, Amnesty International said today.

    Two months after their original mandate of two years lapsed, Pakistan’s parliament passed a bill to reinstate military courts that violate international law, strip defendants of key rights, and operate in notorious secrecy.

    “Military courts have no business trying civilians. There is no fair process involved where trials are held in secrecy, there is no right to appeal, and judges may be unqualified to preside in judgment,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Senior Adviser on South Asia.

    “By surrendering the judicial system to the military, Pakistan’s lawmakers have failed in their duty to support an independent civilian judiciary. They are recklessly abandoning people to a court system that has in the last two years produced coerced confessions, unfair trials and executions.”

    Under Pakistan’s military courts, no information about the charges or evidence against the suspects, or the sentences given, is made available in the public domain.

    November 17, 2016

    In response to Pakistan’s politically motivated decision to expel more than 100 Turkish school teachers, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director Champa Patel said:

    “With 24 million Pakistani children out of school, Pakistan’s decision to expel teachers from the Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges will only hurt Pakistan’s children.

    “What the country needs is more classrooms and more teachers, not a politically-motivated decision to purge educators at the behest of the Turkish government.”

    Background

    Pakistan has ordered more than 100 Turkish teachers from the PakTurk schools to leave the country by the end of the week.

    The order comes as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is visiting Pakistan.

    The PakTurk schools deny the Turkish government’s allegation the network is linked to Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, currently in exile in the USA and a former ally of the ruling AK Party.

    November 04, 2016

    Reacting to Pakistan's decision to deport Sharbat Gula, the iconic 'Afghan girl' whose striking portrait adorned a 1985 cover of National Geographic magazine, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director Champa Patel said:

    "Pakistan’s decision to deport Sharbat Gula is a grave injustice. For decades, she was known as the world’s most famous refugee and seen as a symbol of Pakistan’s status as a generous host.

    Now, by sending her back to a country she hasn’t seen in a generation and her children have never known, her plight has become emblematic of Pakistan’s cruel treatment of Afghan refugees.

    “By forcing Afghan refugees to return across the border into the arms of an increasingly deadly conflict, Pakistan is in breach of the principle of non-refoulement. It is putting the lives of vulnerable people at risk of serious human rights abuses.”

     

    Background

    Sharbat Gula is poised to be deported to Afghanistan after serving a 15-day jail sentence and paying a fine, a special anti-corruption and immigration court in Peshawar ruled 

    today.

    November 04, 2016

    Reacting to Pakistan's decision to deport Sharbat Gula, the iconic 'Afghan girl' whose striking portrait adorned a 1985 cover of National Geographic magazine, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director Champa Patel said:

    "Pakistan’s decision to deport Sharbat Gula is a grave injustice. For decades, she was known as the world’s most famous refugee and seen as a symbol of Pakistan’s status as a generous host. Now, by sending her back to a country she hasn’t seen in a generation and her children have never known, her plight has become emblematic of Pakistan’s cruel treatment of Afghan refugees.

    “By forcing Afghan refugees to return across the border into the arms of an increasingly deadly conflict, Pakistan is in breach of the principle of non-refoulement. It is putting the lives of vulnerable people at risk of serious human rights abuses.”

    Background

    Sharbat Gula is poised to be deported to Afghanistan after serving a 15-day jail sentence and paying a fine, a special anti-corruption and immigration court in Peshawar ruled today.

    October 31, 2016

    Pakistan’s authorities must immediately and unconditionally release hundreds of opposition activists, lift restrictions on their movement and take all appropriate measures to ensure that people are allowed to exercise their right to peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization’s calls come as Pakistan’s authorities have intensified their crackdown on supporters of Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party, including by using unnecessary and excessive force. The police fired tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters and detained hundreds in indiscriminate and arbitrary mass arrests.

    Amnesty International has received credible reports that hundreds of people have been arrested under Section 144 of the Penal Code, a draconian colonial-era law that forbids the gathering of more than four people, and represents an undue restriction on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

    October 11, 2016

    Pakistan’s authorities must immediately revoke a travel ban on a leading journalist and allow the media to operate freely and without fear, Amnesty International said today.

    Cyril Almeida, assistant editor of Dawn newspaper, was placed on Pakistan’s Exit Control List by the Pakistani authorities after the Prime Minister’s Office took exception to a front page report he wrote, dated 6 October, on tensions between the civilian government and the military.

    “The travel ban on Cyril Almeida is a crude intimidation tactic designed to silence journalists and stop them from doing their jobs,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Issues.

    “Journalism is not a crime. They should be able to work freely and without fear. The Pakistani authorities must break with a longstanding practice of subjecting media workers to intimidation, threats, restrictions on movements, enforced disappearances and violence.”

    Earlier this year Reporters without Borders ranked Pakistan 147th out of 180 countries for press freedom, the lowest position in South Asia.

    September 26, 2016

    Pakistan’s authorities must not execute Imdad Ali, a death row prisoner with a history of mental illness, Amnesty International said today.

    “With this warrant to execute Imdad Ali, Pakistan is clearly in breach of international human rights standards that protect people with mental illnesses and ensure that they are never subject to this cruel and irreversible punishment,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    Imdad Ali was convicted of the murder of a religious teacher in 2002. In 2012, he was diagnosed a suffering from “paranoid schizophrenia,” a condition the doctor who examined him described as “a chronic and disabling psychiatric illness.”

    Dr. Naeemullah Leghari, the head of psychiatry at Nishtar Hospital in the central Pakistani city of Multan, added that Imdad Ali’s illness “impairs the person’s rational thinking and decision-making capabilities.”

    September 02, 2016

    Reacting to Friday’s attacks on a court in Mardan and on a Christian community just outside Peshawar, both in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Amnesty International said:

    “Today’s attacks a horrific reminder that Pakistan’s authorities must do more to ensure vulnerable groups are protected. The authorities have a duty to protect the right to life, prevent human rights abuses, and hold perpetrators to account in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty or other human rights violations. Armed groups are seeking to undermine the rule of law by targeting both the people who defend it in court and the people it should protect,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

     

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

    August 08, 2016

    An apparently pre-planned suicide attack, which killed at least 63 people and wounded more than 50 others in a hospital in Quetta, south-western Pakistan, today is the latest in a series of horrific attacks by armed groups targeting ordinary people in Pakistan, said Amnesty International.

    “This is an absolutely senseless targeting of dozens of people, including patients and mourners. It has led to a devastating loss of life, and is an example of the string of attacks in recent years in Pakistan on schools, hospitals and other ‘soft targets’, which must cease immediately,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for South Asia, South East Asia and Pacific Regional Offices.

    “A full, independent and transparent investigation must be carried out into how and why this bombing took place, and whoever is responsible should be brought to justice as soon as possible in fair trials, without recourse to the death penalty.”

    July 19, 2016

    The Pakistani authorities must end impunity for so-called ‘honour’ killings and other violence against women, Amnesty International said today. “The tragic killing of Qandeel Baloch, at the hands of her brother, has highlighted the need for urgent action to protect women and men from crimes that are justified as a defence of family honour.”

    Amnesty International welcomes the decision of the Punjab authorities to register Qandeel Baloch’s murder as a crime against the state, and refuse her family the legal right to grant their son clemency. 

    “This needs to become the rule rather than the exception. Pakistan needs to undertake structural reforms that end impunity for so-called ‘honour’ killings,  including by passing legislation that removes the option of clemency for such killings without resorting to the death penalty as a punishment,” said Champa Patel.

    Qandeel Baloch's brother has confessed to strangling his sister to death during her sleep on 15 July, triggering global outrage.

    May 09, 2016

    Pakistani authorities are failing to protect human rights defenders, Amnesty International said today.

    The murder of Khurram Zaki, a human rights defender and former journalist, who was gunned down at a restaurant in Karachi on 8 May 2016 marks the latest such killing of a noted Pakistani human rights defender in recent years.

    “As a human rights defender, Khurram Zaki, who was known to face threats from violent groups, deserved protection from those who meant him harm,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    “Pakistani authorities must immediately initiate a thorough, impartial and effective investigation into his murder and bring his killers to justice.”

    Zaki’s death comes as human rights defenders across Pakistan were marking the anniversaries of the killings of activist Sabeen Mahmud, who was shot dead in Karachi on 24 April 2015, and lawyer Rashid Rahman, who was killed at his office in Multan on 7 May 2014.

    May 04, 2016

    Pakistani authorities must carry out an independent, thorough and transparent inquiry into the torture and death of political activist Aftab Ahmad while he was in the custody of the Rangers, a paramilitary force under the command of the Pakistan Army, Amnesty International said today.

    The call comes after the Director-General of the Rangers, Maj. Gen. Bilal Akber, admitted that Aftab Ahmad was tortured in custody and ordered an internal investigation into the circumstances of his death.
    “It will not suffice for the Rangers to investigate themselves. A series of contradictory statements by the paramilitary force in the hours since the news of Aftab Ahmad’s death emerged point to attempts to mislead the public and resist accountability,” said Jameen Kaur, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South Asia.

    “The chilling revelation that Aftab Ahmad was tortured and died in the Rangers’ custody must result in an independent, efficient and transparent investigation.”

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