Human Rights Watch airs concern over civil rights abuses in Pakistan

Islamabad: The Human Rights Watch portrays a grim picture of civil rights abuses in Pakistan and the increasing persecution of religious minorities and marginalised groups.

In its chapter on Pakistan, the US-based Human Rights Group noted with concern that Pakistani authorities “expanded their use of draconian sedition and counter-terrorism laws to stifle dissent and strictly regulated civil society groups critical of government actions or policies”, according to Dawn.

Meanwhile, the report went on to say that in 2021, the Pakistani Government intensified efforts to control the media, harassed and at times detained independent-minded journalists and vocal civil society activists.

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Media houses were pressured to lay off journalists critical of the Pakistan Government while those refusing to toe the line were squeezed financially and through other means as mentioned in the report.

Also, these tactics amounted to a disturbing contraction in the space for civil and democratic debate in Pakistan last year as per the Human Rights Watch Report.

Further, several national and international media watchdog bodies and civil rights organisations have been frequently highlighting the deteriorating state of affairs in Pakistan.

The report also mentioned that Pakistan has failed to enact legislation to criminalise torture, despite its obligation to do so as a party to the United Nations Convention against Torture.

Earlier, the report also touched upon increasing incidents of violence against women and girls and religious minorities in Pakistan.

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