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Human Rights abuse in Pakistan

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    Human Rights abuse in Pakistan

    Pakistan police 'execute

    Human rights activists allege the encounters are staged

    By Richard Galpin in Lahore

    Pakistan's police force has been fiercely criticised by
    senior lawyers and human rights activists for what they
    believe to be a deliberate policy of extra-judicial killings.

    They say hundreds of alleged criminals in two of the
    country's main provinces, Punjab and Sindh, have been
    executed by policemen.

    According to an investigation by one
    authoritative newspaper in Pakistan,
    more than 850 suspected criminals
    have been killed by the police in
    Punjab province alone, since the present Muslim League
    government came to power in 1997.

    Punjab is the home province of Prime Minister, Nawaz
    Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, is the provincial
    Chief Minister.

    Deaths in 'encounters'

    The killings are reported in the local press as "police
    encounters" and generally take place late at night in
    deserted areas where there are unlikely to be any

    Observers say the number
    being killed in Punjab is now
    at a level "unprecedented" in
    the province's history.

    In just one week in May, 20
    suspected criminals were
    shot dead in these so-called
    "encounters", which human
    rights activists say are
    thinly-disguised extra-judicial

    In many cases the alleged
    criminals are already under police custody and the
    explanation given by the police for these bloody
    "shoot-outs" is frequently the same.

    The police say the suspects
    were being transported to the
    "scene of the crime" to
    recover illegal weapons or
    identify hide-outs.

    On the way, the police allege
    that the convoy is attacked
    by accomplices of the
    arrested men in an attempt
    to rescue them and in the
    resulting shoot-out, all the men in custody are "killed in

    Human rights reports

    However, Rana Jawad, a senior journalist in Lahore who
    has covered the Punjab police for many years, says the
    police are lying.

    He says that 95% or even more of police encounters in
    recent times are absolutely fake.

    "We call these encounters cold-blooded murder by the
    police," she says.

    The charge that the police
    are frequently involved in
    extra-judicial killings of
    suspected criminals, is
    backed up by recent reports
    on human rights in Pakistan
    by both Amnesty
    International and the US
    State Department.

    "The police committed
    numerous extra-judicial
    killings and tortured, abused
    and raped citizens," says the
    US State Department report.

    The victims of "police encounters" vary from alleged
    car-thieves, burglars and gangsters to high-profile
    criminals accused of multiple murders or terrorist

    All three men arrested in connection with the attempted
    assassination of the Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, in
    January were killed within days of being detained by the

    Government denial

    A doctor who carries out post-mortem examinations of
    police encounter victims in Lahore confirmed to the BBC
    that the police in Punjab are effectively executing
    suspected criminals.

    He said that in 50% of the
    cases he had dealt with it
    was clear that the victim had
    been tied up and then shot at
    close range.

    Likewise, senior Punjab
    police officials privately admit
    that at least 50% of police
    encounters are fake.

    "This is obviously a policy
    and the policy cannot be
    made at a lower level," says
    top lawyer Hina Jilani.

    The government vehemently denies this.

    It says the encounters are not staged and that 240
    policemen have been killed in shoot-outs with criminals
    since February 1997.

    But the Punjab Law Minister, Raja Basharat, did tell the
    BBC that the police have been carrying out extra-judicial

    "I agree with you," he said, "but the number is so small
    that I think with the passage of time and with the
    emphasis of the government in discouraging it and the
    way the government is taking action against police
    officials, this number will diminish."

    But lawyers and doctors in Punjab are not satisfied with
    such assurances and have set up their own committee
    to investigate the problem.

    They hope to bring those responsible to justice.

    Read on...


      And the real crimnals are always on the loose...

      Fata Morgana


        What are human rights to you can you tell us? lets see what they are!


        Till next time***K_I_S_S***