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Home Media Reports 2011 Rights group slams Pakistan for abuses
Rights group slams Pakistan for abuses
The daily Nation, Pakistan
 Thursday, January 25, 2011
Rights group slams Pakistan for abuses
Published January 25, 2011

NEW YORK — Pakistan came under sharp criticism for human rights abuses in 2010 while India escaped any direct rebuke for its atrocities in Kashmir and elsewhere in the country in a new report released by a prominent rights group on Monday.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said the Taliban and other religious extremists in Pakistan increased their deadly attacks against civilians and public spaces during the past year, while the Pakistani government response was marred by serious human rights violations.

In doing so, HRW placed Pakistan on the list of most abusive countries. Others on the list are: Belarus, China, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. The only negative reference to India came indirectly when the report chided democracies around the world are ignoring abuses by repressive regimes and opting for improved relations rather than condemning rights violations and curtailing aid. It said President Barack Obama’s “famed eloquence … has sometimes eluded him when it comes to defending human rights.” This was especially noticeable in contacts with countries that are important to US interests, such as China, India, Indonesia, Egypt and Bahrain, the group said.

The 649-page 2011 report, Human Rights Watch’s 21st annual review of human rights practices around the globe, summarises major human rights trends in more than 90 states and territories worldwide. Suicide bombings, armed attacks, and killings by the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and their affiliates targeted nearly every sector of Pakistani society, including religious minorities and journalists, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

The country’s largest cities bore the brunt of these attacks. Two attacks in late May 2010 against the Ahmadiyya religious community in Lahore killed nearly 100 people, it noted. On July 1, a suicide bombing at Data Darbar, shrine of the patron saint of Lahore, killed 40 people. Militant attacks targeting civilians in conflict areas amounted to war crimes.

“Taliban atrocities aren’t happening in a vacuum, but instead often with covert support from elements in the intelligence services and law enforcement agencies,” Ali Dayan Hasan, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “The Pakistan government needs to use all lawful means to hold those responsible to account.” The government’s response to militant attacks instead has routinely violated basic rights, Human Rights Watch said. Thousands of Taliban suspects have been held in unlawful military detention without charge, many of them in two military facilities in Swat, one in the Khyber agency of the tribal areas, and at least one more in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

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