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Pak Army pressure on govt. affected nation's rights record

Islamabad, Tue, 24 Jan 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Jan 24 (ANI): The rights of civilians and the Pakistan Government suffered under increasing pressure of the military, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report has said.


In its World Report 2012 report, the HRW said military pressure appeased extremist groups, ignored army abuses, and failed to hold those responsible for serious abuses accountable in 2011.


It further claimed that targeted killings and other attacks on civilians by the Taliban, other militant and ethnic militant groups, as well as killings of journalists, increased during the year, the Daily Times reports.


There was a dramatic increase in targeted killings in Balochistan, while 800 people were killed in often politically motivated violence in Karachi, the report said.


Brad Adam, Asia director at HRW, said: "The past year was disastrous for human rights in Pakistan. Bombs killed hundreds of civilians, advocates of religious tolerance were assassinated, and the military undermined democratic institutions. From Karachi to Quetta, Pakistan is teetering on the edge of becoming a military-run Potemkin democracy."


Persecution and discrimination under cover of law against religious minorities and other vulnerable groups reached a zenith in 2011, it added.


Freedom of belief and expression also came under severe threat following the murder of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and the federal minorities' minister, Shahbaz Bhatti.


The HRW further said that extremist groups exploited the government's passivity by intimidating minorities and with an upsurge in blasphemy allegations and cases.


"Government appeasement of extremist groups who fomented Taseer and Bhatti's murders has led to a rash of blasphemy allegations and well-justified fear for those who question the use of the blasphemy law," Adams added. (ANI)


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