Pakistan NGO: More people died in encounters than terror attacks in 2017 | world news | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan NGO: More people died in encounters than terror attacks in 2017

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent NGO, has also raised concerns about the growing number of blasphemy cases in the country.

world Updated: Apr 16, 2018 22:49 IST
HT Correspondent
Demonstrators of Pashtun Protection Movement gather at a public rally in Peshawar on April 8, 2018.The community rallied to call for an end to abuses by police and troops.
Demonstrators of Pashtun Protection Movement gather at a public rally in Peshawar on April 8, 2018.The community rallied to call for an end to abuses by police and troops.(AFP)

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said on Monday that more Pakistanis had died in incidents described as “encounters” than in terror attacks last year.

The independent NGO’s annual report for 2017 said: “More Pakistanis died in incidents described by law enforcement agencies as encounters than in gun violence or in suicide attacks in 2017, according to the findings of research conducted by the Centre for Research and Security Studies.

“The study shows that 495 people were reported killed in what the law enforcement agencies said were shootouts. The number of those killed in gun violence was 399, those in suicide attacks 298, and in bomb explosions 144.”

HRCP noted that last year, Pakistan was elected to the UN Human Rights Council and called it a “diplomatic success”, but questioned whether the country’s commitment to rights can be fulfilled.

The report further raised concerns about the growing number of blasphemy cases. The report said: “In an environment where ‘innocent until proven guilty’ carries no weight, an accusation of blasphemy leads to a lynching by a zealous mob.

“Journalists and bloggers continue to sustain threats, attacks and abductions, and the blasphemy law serves to coerce people into silence. The people’s right to socio-cultural activities is curtailed by intolerance and extremism, and authorities are lenient for fear of a political backlash.”

The report added that “there was no abatement in violence against religious minorities”, noting the Christian, Ahmadi, Hazara, Hindu and Sikh communities had all been targeted.

HRCP raised concerns over the number of murders, rapes, acid attacks, kidnappings, incidents of domestic violence, and honour killings, adding that most such crimes “ in the main, go unreported”. It said more than 5,660 crimes against women were reported in Pakistan’s four provinces in the first 10 months of 2017.

The NGO also said passing legislation had done little to stop crime against the vulnerable — it pointed out that several laws passed to protect children and the transgender community had done little to end the violence against them.