Policy Brief

Reimagining Human Rights in Pakistan

by: Asad Jamal

A rising graph of extremism in Pakistan has triggered alarm on the plummeting standards of human rights protections and entitlements across the country. The recent burning of a Christian couple by a 1,500 strong mob on the outskirts of Lahore underscores the gravity of rights abuses facing vulnerable communities in Pakistan. The growing sense of insecurity and injustice is amplified by the absence of convictions against perpetrators of inhuman rights abuses including the Gojra and Joseph colony riots, the murder of activists such as Rashid Rehman and the targeted killing of Shia, Ahmedi and Sikh community members.

Similarly, the promulgation of recent anti-terror laws infringing personal and civil liberties provide fresh challenges as the state tries to balance security needs with compliance of codes that safeguard human rights. As the state adopts an increasingly security driven posture, it is falling behind in curbing enforced disappearances, harassment of rape victims by police and security threats faced by journalists.

This policy brief, attempts to contextualize the need for Pakistan to forge a more coordinated approach and commitment toward human rights; salient recommendations and reminders for developing a coherent, robust and effective human rights policy are included.