WASHINGTON: The most serious human rights problems in Pakistan were extrajudicial and targeted killings, disappearances, torture, lack of rule of law, gender inequality, and sectarian violence, says an official US report released on Thursday.
“This is a standard that we insist others meet and therefore we must meet this standard ourselves,” he added.
In its report on Pakistan, the State Department also highlighted various human rights violations committed in the reporting period, from March 2015 to March 2016.
Other human rights problems included poor prison conditions, arbitrary detention, lengthy pre-trial detention, a weak criminal justice system and lack of judicial independence in lower courts.
The report, released by Secretary of State John Kerry, noted that harassment of journalists in Pakistan also continued, with high-profile attacks against journalists and media organisations. There were government restrictions on freedom of assembly and limits on freedom of movement. Government practices and certain laws limited freedom of religion, particularly for minorities.
The report also noted that continuing terrorist violence and human rights abuses by non-state actors contributed significantly to human rights challenges in the country.
The reported pointed out that in June 2014 the government and military began Operation Zarb-i-Azb against militant and terrorist groups in North Waziristan; the operation later expanded to include areas throughout the country.
“Discrimination against religious minorities continued. Corruption within the government and police, as well as rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, honour crimes, other harmful traditional practices, and discrimination against women and girls remained serious problems,” the report warned.