The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) voiced worry over the political and economic unrest of last year,
both of which have had a significant influence on the human rights situation, in its flagship annual report State of Human Rights in 2022, which was issued earlier this week.
The research observed that the current and previous administrations both disregarded the authority of Parliament, and that disputes between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches weakened institutional confidence.
The study said that sedition laws from the colonial period were being weaponized to suppress dissent and that political victimization persisted throughout the year. In the same year that the Parliament approved a measure making the use of torture illegal, paradoxically, dozens of journalists and opposition politicians were detained, leading to allegations of torture while they were in custody, according to HRCP’s report.
Law enforcement officers and demonstrators clashed during the unrest that followed the successful vote of no confidence against the former prime minister Imran Khan, and the right to freedom of assembly was not only infringed but also abused.
The HRCP study said that despite citizens’ warnings that such events were impending, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the state continued to struggle in combating militancy. The year witnessed an alarming revival of terror attacks, the most in five years, with 533 lives lost.
In addition, HRCP saw an increase in enforced disappearances, notably in Balochistan, where 2,210 recorded instances remain unsolved despite the National Assembly passing a law making the practice illegal.
The research also claimed that over 33 million people were adversely impacted by floods brought on by climate change, which devastated much of the nation.
The HRCP said in its report that this underwhelming reaction has highlighted the need for strong, empowered local governments in every province and territory.
It said that although there were fewer police reports of blasphemy accusations, the frequency of mob lynchings seemed to have increased, raising serious concerns about the escalating risks to freedom of religion or belief.
The HRCP report also stated that the violence against women continued unabated, with at least 4,226 instances of rape and gang rape compounded by an appallingly low level of reporting, and that the Ahmadiyya community came under particular threat, with several places of worship and over 90 graves desecrated, mostly in Punjab.
This edition of the report’s subject, the prevalence of violence and discrimination against transgender people, was further exacerbated by conservative opposition to the hard-won Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018.
The study states that the rights of workers and peasants were gravely disregarded in a year that saw the nation’s economic position start to collapse. The research said that even though the minimum wage was raised, the state has failed to accept that it is still below the standard for a livable income.
The HRCP also pointed out that even though 1,200 bonded laborers in Sindh were released, the district vigilance committees established in 2022 continued to be mainly useless, and 90 miners continued to die in the country’s mines each year.
If the state were to move toward a pro-people approach to politics, legislation, and administration, HRCP requested that it take urgent action on these concerns.