Thursday June 13, 2024

'Our heads hang in shame': PTI backs US report on human rights 'violations' in Pakistan

Report highlighted “extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, other violations in country, says spox

By Web Desk
April 27, 2024
Members of the PTI hoist their party flags at a public gathering in this undated picture. — AFP/File
Members of the PTI hoist their party flags at a public gathering in this undated picture. — AFP/File

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf spokesperson Raoof Hasan alleged on Saturday that his party’s stance regarding "rule of lawlessness" in the country was also backed by the US State Department in its latest findings published in the "2023 Country Report on Human Rights Practices".

Hasan, while addressing a press conference along with PTI Senator Walid Iqbal on Saturday, said that the US reports elaborated on alleged human rights’ violations committed during 2023, including political cases, detentions, and violation of sanctity of "chaddar and char dewari".

He went on to say that the US State Department’s report also discussed “extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, political prisoners, censorship, as well as use of force against journalists.”

“The report also stated the environment of lawlessness in the country, besides other human rights violations which bowed our heads in shame,” the spokesperson of the Imran Khan-founded party added.

Senator Iqbal, speaking at the same press conference, claimed: “50 to 60 pages of the report were only about human rights violations [in our country] which gave details about torture on individuals in custody and even their killings. The report also mentioned the situation after regime change. It specifically mentioned subjecting PTI workers to torture.”

The senator said that all citizens were entitled to political and religious independence in accordance with international laws which also granted the right to fair trials to all individuals across the globe.

He added that all former prime ministers faced trials in open courts but “injustice was being done to the PTI founder Imran Khan” and the law was being violated.

The United States, which is a big democratic country, found that laws were not being implemented in Pakistan, said Iqbal, adding that it is a “matter of shame for us that a foreign country portraying our country like this.”

He expressed sorrow that no action was taken against any responsible behind such "oppressive moves" against the former ruling party.

The lawmaker criticised that there was a dual criterion of law for elite and poor, as well as legal treatment of other parties compared to the PTI.

Pakistan rejects US report

Pakistan has categorically rejected the contents of the US' “2023 Country Report on Human Rights Practices”, terming it “unfair, based on inaccurate information and completely divorced from the ground reality”.

“The US State Department’s annual exercises of preparing such unsolicited reports lack objectivity and remain inherently flawed in their methodology,” Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said in a statement on Thursday.

She added: “It clearly demonstrates double standards thus undermining the international human rights discourse.”

In line with its constitutional framework and democratic ethos, Pakistan remains steadfast in its commitment to strengthen its own human rights framework, constructively engage to promote international human rights’ agenda, and uphold fairness and objectivity in the international human rights discourse, the spokesperson reiterated.

“If the US must engage in this exercise, then we expect the US State Department to at least exercise due diligence when conducting an assessment of complex issues, demonstrate objectivity, impartiality and responsibility in finalising such reports,” according to an official statement issued by the FO.

“It should demonstrate the requisite moral courage to speak truth about all situations and play a constructive role in supporting international efforts for bringing an end to atrocities in the most urgent hotpots of gross human rights violations,” it concluded.