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Pakistan

    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.”

    March 16, 2016

    The Pakistani authorities must promptly, thoroughly and effectively investigate this morning’s bomb attack on a bus which killed at least 15 people and severely injured 25 in Peshawar, and bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible in fair trials, said Amnesty International.

    “There can be no justification for intentionally targeting civilians or carrying out indiscriminate attacks. Those responsible for the bombing have shown contempt for the right to life and fundamental principles of humanity,” said Champa Patel, Director of Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Office.

    Media reports indicate that explosive material was packed into a toolbox and detonated remotely inside the privately hired bus, which was carrying government employees from Mardan to the provincial capital. No individual or group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast.

    March 09, 2016

    Digital rights activist Nighat Dad blogs on how women in Pakistan are being attacked online, and what they’re doing to stop it. 

    There’s a stereotype in some parts of rural Pakistan that the internet isn’t for women. It’s where people watch bad stuff or make illegitimate relationships. In a conservative Muslim society, women are not supposed to be online. Many women choose to use the internet in secret, so their family members – especially men – don’t know about it. 

    And that’s one of the reasons why women in some areas don’t feel safe online. They feel threatened in the same way they do offline. I’ve seen blackmail, photoshopped pictures, hacking of personal accounts and rape threats. Women activists and feminists are trolled and targeted as “unethical western agents”. Nearly half of reported cyber crimes are connected to the harassment of women on social media.

    Shame and blackmail

    February 29, 2016

    The taking of another life is no way to ensure justice for the murder of Salman Taseer and Pakistan must immediately impose a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty, Amnesty International said today.

    Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard of ex-Punjab governor Salman Taseer, was hanged today in Islamabad’s Adiala Prison, after he had been convicted of murder. Mumtaz Qadri admitted that he killed Salman Taseer in January 2011 over the governor’s opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

    “Salman Taseer was a brave voice for religious tolerance in Pakistan and his murderer should be brought to justice, but carrying out more killings is a deplorable way to honour Salman Taseer’s life and message. The death penalty is always a human rights violation, regardless of the circumstances or nature of the crime,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Office Director.

    January 14, 2016

    The grenade attack on the offices of ARY TV in Islamabad represents yet another strike against freedom of expression in Pakistan, underscoring the growing peril faced by media workers in the course of their work, Amnesty International said today.

    Two attackers riding a motorcycle threw a grenade and reportedly fired gunshots at the ARY TV offices late on Wednesday. A video editor at the station was injured by shrapnel from the blast.

    “This is the latest, depressing addition to a series of brazen attacks in which media workers in Pakistan have been targeted for doing their jobs,” said Champa Patel, Director of Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Office.

    Pamphlets left at the scene said the attack had been carried out by Islamic State Wilayah Khurasan, an armed group that claims allegiance to the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS), in retaliation for ARY TV’s reporting of Pakistani military offensives.

    December 17, 2015

    Released 17 December 2015 at 00.01 GMT 

    The devastating response of the Pakistani government in the wake of the sickening Peshawar school massacre has set the country on a relentless and reprehensible course of executions, said Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
           
    In an open letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today, the organizations urge the Pakistani government to immediately establish an official moratorium on all executions with a view to the eventual abolition of the death penalty. Over the past 12 months, more than 300 people have been put to death in the country.

    “In the space of one year, Pakistan has become one of the world’s top three executioners – a dark and shameful development. The authorities must ensure that the relentless push to send death row prisoners to the gallows ends now before more lives are lost,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s South Asia Research Director.

    November 23, 2015

    Released 00.01 GMT, 24 November 2015

    Pakistan will imminently have executed 300 people since it lifted a moratorium on executions, shamefully sealing its place among the world’s worst executioners, Amnesty International said today.

    On 25 November, Pakistani authorities are set to execute Abdul Basit, a man with paraplegia who developed tubercular (TB) meningitis while on death row. His execution has been postponed several times, since the prison has no rules on how to hang someone who cannot stand on the scaffold.

    Amnesty International said the executions are a serious stain on Pakistan’s human rights record, compounding repeated violations of fair trial standards and other safeguards that must be observed in all death-penalty cases.

    “Pakistan’s ongoing zeal for executions is an affront to human rights and the global trend against the death penalty. Even if the authorities stay the execution of Abdul Basit, a man with paraplegia, Pakistan is still executing people at a rate of almost one a day,” said David Griffiths, South Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    September 21, 2015

    Pakistan must halt tomorrow’s scheduled hanging of a paraplegic man who developed tubercular (TB) meningitis while on death row, and immediately impose a moratorium on all executions, Amnesty International said.

    Abdul Basit, who is paralysed from the waist down, was convicted of murder six years ago but has always maintained his innocence.

    His execution was originally due to be carried out on 29 July 2015, but the Lahore High Court stayed his execution at the 11th hour after a petition was filed by his lawyers arguing his hanging would constitute cruel and inhuman punishment. The Court rejected the petition and gave the prison authorities a green light for the hanging to go ahead on 22 September.

    “Instead of debating the logistics of how to put a man in a wheelchair to death, the authorities in Pakistan should grant reprieve to Abdul Basit,” said Sultana Noon, Amnesty International’s Pakistan Researcher.

    August 04, 2015

    Pakistan must immediately impose a moratorium on the death penalty after the execution of a man who was below 18 years old at the time of the crime, according to his lawyers, and who was tortured into a “confession” by police, Amnesty International said.

    Shafqat Hussain, who was sentenced to death for kidnapping and involuntary manslaughter in 2004, was this morning hanged in Karachi Central Jail. He was convicted under the Anti-Terrorism Act of Pakistan despite no known links to any terrorist organisation. His execution had been stayed four times since Pakistan lifted the moratorium on executions in December 2014.

    “This is another deeply sad day for Pakistan. A man whose age remains disputed and whose conviction was built around torture has now paid with his life – and for a crime for which the death penalty cannot be imposed under international law,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s South Asia Research Director.

    June 10, 2015

    The shameful execution in Pakistan of a man who was just 15 years old at the time of the crime for which he was convicted highlights the many serious concerns around the country’s use of the death penalty, Amnesty International said.

    Aftab Bahadur was hanged in a Lahore jail this morning. In September 1992, aged 15, he was arrested and charged with the murder earlier that same month of a woman and her two sons.

    Aftab Bahadur was implicated in the crime by his co-accused Ghulam Mustafa, who later maintained that he was tortured into “confessing” their involvement in the crime while in police custody. Ghulam Mustafa’s execution was also scheduled for today but it was halted at the last minute.

    “This is a desperately sad day – Aftab Bahadur has spent more than two decades languishing on death row even as evidence of his apparent innocence emerged, and has now faced the gallows. He has always maintained his innocence and that he was tortured into a ‘confession’,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    June 08, 2015

    Pakistan must immediately halt the imminent execution of a man whose lawyers maintain was a juvenile at the time of his alleged crime and who claims to have been tortured into a “confession”, Amnesty International said.

    The case of Shafqat Hussain, who was convicted of and sentenced to death for kidnapping and involuntary manslaughter in 2014, has caused enormous controversy in Pakistan. His execution has been stayed three times, and on the last occasion on 6 May was stopped at the 11th hour after a public outcry, pending an investigation into his age at the time of the crime and allegations that he had been subjected to torture.

    But despite serious questions about the fairness of this investigation, Shafqat Hussain is now set to be sent to the gallows on Tuesday 9 June.

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