HRCP calls for economic justice, protection of civil rights in annual report

HRCP calls for economic justice, protection of civil rights in annual report


The political polarisation was rampant in the country throughout the year in 2023, HRCP observes

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ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) - The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) stated in its annual report that political polarisation was rampant in the country throughout the year in 2023.

In its annual report released on Wednesday in Islamabad, the HRCP said that the year 2023 was marked by gross economic injustice and acute distress among the ordinary people.

The HRCP has called for economic justice and protection of civil rights as the report said that both the civil and political rights were compromised throughout the year.

The report noted with deep concern that irreparable political divisions spilled over into public acts of arson and violence on 9 May 2023, following the arrest of PTI founder.

The annual report issued by the HRCP also showed concerns over the delay in general elections.

“The general elections were also delayed well beyond the 90-day constitutional limit on various grounds, including the need for new delimitations on the basis of the recent census,” said the report.

“The rule of law was markedly poor, with a record six-year high in fatalities related to terrorist attacks and counter-terrorism operations and two militant attacks in Bajaur and Mastung, that collectively left at least 117 dead,” added the report.

According to report, the incidents of street crime and mob lynching also surged in 2023. It added that the journalists, activists and political workers were subjected to enforced disappearances across the country.

In an admirable show of strength, however, young Baloch women mobilised a long march from Turbat to Islamabad to protest against extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

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“Among vulnerable groups, religious minorities reported an increasing climate of fear, especially in the aftermath of an attack in Jaranwala, Punjab, in which scores of churches and homes were torched and looted by mobs, following allegations of blasphemy against a Christian man,” said the report.

Speaking at the launch of the report, HRCP secretary-general Harris Khalique said that the 2023 economic crisis had ‘pushed tens of millions of ordinary citizens to the brink of desperation.’

Commenting on the high incidence of enforced disappearances, he also deplored the role and performance of the Commission of Inquiry of Enforced Disappearances as ‘disgraceful.’

HRCP chairperson Asad Iqbal Butt said that it was critical for the state to fulfil people’s right to education, livelihood and health. Expressing concern over the low rate of trade unionisation, he said that attempts to unionise workers were routinely met with harassment and intimidation.

Vice-chair HRCP Islamabad Nasreen Azhar said that that religion continued to be ‘weaponised for political purposes’.

In her concluding remarks, HRCP co-chair Munizae Jahangir said that the state must protect the right to peaceful protest for all political parties and groups.

She pointed out that repressive laws passed in one government’s tenure would return to haunt them when in opposition.