United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1993 - Pakistan, 30 January 1994, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa7f10.html [accessed 19 June 2013]
This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Pakistan is an Islamic republic in which power is shared between the Prime Minister, as the leader of the National Assembly, and the President. The Chief of Army Staff also wields considerable influence on many major policy decisions and is the third member of the unofficial "troika" which governs the nation. This division of power was clearly illustrated in 1993, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan engaged in a struggle for power that led to a compromise brokered by the Chief of Army Staff. Both the President and Prime Minister resigned, a neutral caretaker government was formed, and elections for the National Assembly and provincial assemblies were held. The national and provincial assembly elections held on October 6 and 9 were generally seen by both international and domestic observers to have been relatively free and fair, and resulted in a new Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP). PPP candidate Farooq Leghari was chosen President in indirect elections held November 13. In the early months of the new Parliament, both the Government and opposition participated in the legislative process, engendering considerable free and open public debate of issues. Responsibility for internal security rests primarily with the police, although paramilitary forces, such as the Rangers and Frontier Constabulary, are charged with maintaining law and order in frontier areas. Police forces are under provincial control, as are paramilitary forces when assisting in law and order operations. Both forces committed human rights abuses in 1993. The military continued its traditional role as the guarantor of law and order when the police force, which is poorly equipped and trained, fails to meet its mandate. The army and paramilitary forces, under the nominal control of the Sindh provincial government (but under the effective control of the army and central Government), continued their operation begun in May 1992 to help restore law and order in Sindh province, sparking credible charges of human rights violations by the army units involved and of selective targeting of certain political elements in Sindh. Pakistan, a poor country with a per capita income of $414, has a mixed economy of both state-run and private industries and financial institutions. The Constitution assures the right to private property and of private businesses to operate freely in most sectors of the economy. The Government is pursuing an ambitious program of economic reform, emphasizing the privatization of government-owned financial institutions, industrial units, and utilities. Cotton textiles and apparel, rice, and leather products are the principal export products. There was no significant change in the human rights situation in 1993, with serious problems remaining in several areas. Government harassment of political opponents declined during the year, especially after the neutral caretaker government took power in July. However, repression against a Sindh-based political party continued. The arbitrary detention, arrest, torture, and other abuse of prisoners and detainees continued to be a serious problem, and there were no significant efforts to reform the police or judicial systems or to prosecute and punish those responsible for abuses. Religious zealots continued to discriminate against and persecute non-Muslims, basing their activities in part on discriminatory legislation against religious minorities. The Government did little to curb these activities. Sectarian riots between the Sunni and Shi'a communities were less intense, but religious and ethnic-based rivalries resulted in numerous murders and occasional civil disturbances. Traditional social and legal constraints kept women in a subordinate position in society, and significant restraints remained on workers' rights. The use of child and bonded labor remained widespread in spite of legislation to restrict these practices.
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing
Extrajudicial killings, often in the form of staged "police encounters" shootouts resulting in the death of suspects continued in 1993. Most of these killings occurred in rural Sindh as part of the army's law and order program "Operation Cleanup." The frequency of such deaths at army hands, however, appeared to decline in 1993. There were also scores of credible reports from the media and human rights monitors concerning prisoners' deaths while in police custody, including reports of instances in which prisoners alleged to have been killed in shootouts probably died as a result of police torture. In May, Azeem Tariq, chairman of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) political party, was assassinated. Tariq was a controversial figure who had enemies within his own party as well as in the security forces. Two persons were arrested and charged with Tariq's death; their trial had yet to begin at year's end. In July a man in Islamabad accused of passing counterfeit currency was found hanging by the neck in the jail's bathroom following police interrogation. The police claimed the death was suicide, but the medical report did not support this cause of death and said there was evidence of torture. Following widespread news coverage of the case, former Prime Minister Sharif ordered an investigation, but no police officials are known to have been charged or punished. In late July, Nazeer Ahmed was arrested by police in Karachi for alleged theft and severely tortured for several days until his death on August 3. The police official who arrested and allegedly tortured Ahmed reportedly sought revenge because of a personal vendetta. Ahmed had reportedly been subjected to numerous types of torture, including having his testicles ruptured with pliers. The case is being investigated by local authorities. One of the five police officials accused of torturing Ahmed to death had been arrested by year's end. Law enforcement personnel were rarely charged or tried for killings, which are estimated to have numbered in the hundreds in 1993. According to government figures, 660 prisoners died in Pakistani jails during the past 5 years, all reportedly from natural causes. Security forces also used excessive force which resulted in deaths of suspects. One such case occurred in May when Islamabad police stopped a businessman at a checkpoint and ordered him to prove his relationship to the woman traveling in his car. During the ensuing altercation, the businessman was shot and killed. At year's end the accused police officer remained in jail pending trial. The October elections were among the most peaceful in Pakistan's history. Still, numerous acts of violence, including the assassination of candidates, occurred. Ghulam Haider Wyne, former Punjab Chief Minister and a Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Group) candidate for the National Assembly, was assassinated while campaigning in his home district. The police stated that the killing was an act of revenge by a local criminal gang for the killing of one of its members by the police, which occurred while Wyne was Chief Minister. Two Pakistan People's Party provincial assembly candidates also were murdered during the campaign. No arrests were made in any of these cases. Several unsuccessful assassination attempts against candidates were reported during the campaign, and a number of political workers from various political parties were killed or injured. During 1993 numerous bombs were detonated in various parts of the country, especially in Sindh and Punjab provinces, causing some deaths. The Government has been unable to determine the groups or individuals responsible. Some observers believe the bombings are unrelated attacks aimed at rival ethnic or religious groups. Ethnic and sectarian tensions continued to be a cause of politically motivated killings, as leaders of both Shi'a and Sunni organizations were assassinated. Ethnic and religiously motivated riots also continued to occur, although to a lesser extent than in 1992. The most serious riot occurred in August, when Sunni and Shi'a organizations clashed in Gilgit, leaving 12 dead and leading to the arrest of more than 100 persons. Tribal violence in Balochistan often resulted in bloodshed. A continuing dispute between two factions of the Bugti tribe in Balochistan turned increasingly violent and led to the assassination of several tribal leaders. Some 27 persons were killed when two factions of the Magsi tribe clashed near Jhal Magsi, Balochistan.
There were no reports of government-instigated disappearances.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
There continued to be persuasive evidence of police mistreatment, including torture, of detainees. Police and jailers routinely use force to elicit confessions and compel persons under detention to incriminate others. Beating, whipping the soles of the feet with rubber whips, sexual assault, and prolonged isolation continue to be serious problems. When deaths result, suicide or natural causes are the commonly offered explanation. Police frequently use the threat of abuse to extort money from prisoners and their families. Whole families have been detained to force a relative, the subject of an arrest warrant, to surrender. There were continuing credible reports of the sexual abuse of women by police. Some women under detention are reportedly coerced by police officers to trade sexual favors for their release; other women are simply raped. Although there is increasingly widespread press coverage in the English-language print media of such cases, this abuse is often not reported due to societal taboos, police intimidation, and family pressure. There are few policewomen to perform matron duties, despite regulations requiring that policewomen be present for the questioning or detention of female suspects in station houses. Despite the promulgation of regulations in 1991 to prohibit police from keeping women overnight in custody, women are arbitrarily detained overnight and are sexually abused. Upon release, these women are often ostracized by their family and friends and barred from their homes. Government efforts to bring an end to sexual abuse by the police have had little effect. Police accused of abuse are seldom tried and punished. Police assigned to investigate abuses by other police generally shield their colleagues from such charges, and courts seldom charge policemen with offenses. Those who attempt to bring charges against police are often threatened and drop the charges. However, in December four police officers from Swabi were convicted in Peshawar for illegal confinement and rape of a woman. They are appealing the conviction. In an effort to reduce police abuse of women, in the final 3 months of 1993 the new Government of Prime Minister Bhutto announced plans to open "women's police stations" staffed by female personnel. As of year's end, one women's police station had been opened in Rawalpindi. There continued to be credible reports that some ethnic political parties tortured opponents and, in some cases, used torture to enforce party discipline among their own members. There were credible reports that the dissident rival faction of the MQM tortured some members of the mainline MQM. The Hadood Ordinances, promulgated by the central Government in 1979, were an attempt to make Pakistan's Penal Code more Islamic. These Ordinances provide harsh "hadd" punishments for violating the Islamic Code of Behavior, including stoning to death for unlawful sexual relations and the amputation of limbs for other crimes. In practice, the standards of evidence for imposing these punishments are exceptionally high, and to date they have never been carried out. Nonetheless, these laws apply to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and weigh most heavily on women. A woman who reports a case of rape to the authorities or files for a divorce can find herself charged with adultery under these ordinances. All consensual extramarital sexual relations are considered violations of the Hadood Ordinances. The predominantly male police force reportedly uses the Hadood Ordinances to threaten people on the basis of personal and political animosities. Some human rights monitors believe that international pressure and publicity surrounding the Hadood Ordinances have reduced the number of Hadood cases. They report that, in contrast to past years, women are now frequently granted bail for Hadood offenses, and convictions have been markedly reduced. Three classes of prison facilities exist. Class "c" cells generally hold common criminals. They often have dirt floors, no furnishings, and poor food. The use of handcuffs and fetters is common. Prisoners in these cells reportedly suffer the most abuse, such as beatings and being forced to kneel for long periods. Conditions in "b" and "a" cells are markedly better, with the latter reserved for "prominent" persons.
d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile
Pakistani Law permits the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of a local district to order detention without charge for 30 days for persons suspected of threatening public order and safety. This preventive detention is renewable by the DC for 30 days at a time, up to a total of 90 days. For other alleged criminal offenses, a suspect may be held for 24 hours by police without charge. If the police can provide material proof that the physical detention of the accused is necessary to conduct the investigation, the court may extend detention without charges to a total of 15 days. In practice, laws on detention are not strictly observed. Police often hold prisoners without charge until challenged by the court and then release them if they do not have a case. The police are not required to notify anyone when an arrest is made. There are allegations that the police sometimes detain citizens arbitrarily without charge or on false charges in order to extort payment for their release. The law on pretrial detention has recently been amended to require that suspects be brought to trial within 30 days of their arrest. However, in a case without complications, a trial will ususally commence about 6 months after the initial filing of charges. Family and lawyers are legally permitted to visit inmates. In practice this access is generally granted. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have a separate legal system, the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), which recognizes the doctrine of "collective responsibility." Under the FCR, legal procedures provide that fellow tribesmen of a suspect may be indefinitely detained or the village blockaded by the Government pending surrender or punishment of the suspect by the tribe. Such authority continued to be exercised in 1993; in one case, over 40 members of the Afridi tribe were detained within the settled districts due to attacks by other Afridi tribesmen against a government road project. The Sindh provincial government detained hundreds of MQM Party workers and linked them to unsolved criminal cases, often with little evidence. Many of the PPP workers who were arrested in 1992 have been granted bail while they await trial on criminal counts. Some 200 political activists are still being held in Sindh.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
Pakistan's judicial system involves several different court systems with overlapping and, in some instances, competing jurisdictions. There are civil and criminal tracks with special courts for high-profile cases and the federal Shari'a appeals courts for certain Hadood offenses. The progression in the civil legal system is: civil court, district court, high court, and Supreme Court. The progression in the criminal system is: magistrate, sessions court, high court, and Supreme Court. The special courts were created to handle sensational cases or cases of great public interest. Such cases are referred to the special courts by the Federal Government. The Federal Shari'a court and the Shari'a bench of the Supreme Court serve as appeals courts for certain convictions in the criminal court under the Hadood Ordinances. In addition, the Federal Shari'a court may and does overturn legislation if it is not consistent with the tenets of Islam. However, these cases may be and are appealed to the Shari'a bench of the Supreme Court. The courts traditionally experience pressure from the executive. Critics point to the President's power to transfer high court justices or to decline to grant new appointees tenure as devices that provide the executive undue influence over the provincial high courts and especially over the lower levels of the judicial system, the special terrorist courts, and the so-called "speedy courts." Judges in the special courts are retired jurists who are hired on renewable contracts and many of whose decisions are influenced by their desire to maintain their position. However, the provincial high courts and the Supreme Court exhibited independence, deciding a number of important cases against the Government. For example, the Court ruled that President Ghulam Ishaq Khan's dismissal of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was unconstitutional (see Section 3). Nevertheless, the judicial process continued to be impeded by bureaucratic infighting and inactivity and the overlapping jurisdictions of the different court systems. The creation of the "speedy courts" to speed up the judiciary system has not significantly eased the backlog of cases. Scores of positions in the lower magistracy remained unfilled. Persons in jail awaiting trial often are held for periods longer than the sentence they would receive if convicted. This problem is especially acute among Africans and citizens of other South Asian countries jailed for having overstayed their visas or for being involved in the drug trade. The civil judicial system provides for an open trial, cross-examination, representation by an attorney, and appeal of sentences. Attorneys are appointed for indigents only in capital cases. There are no jury trials. Owing to the limited number of judges, the heavy backlog of cases, and outdated court procedures, cases routinely drag on for years. In both the Hadood and standard criminal codes there are bailable and nonbailable offenses. According to the criminal procedures code, the accused in bailable offenses must be granted bail and the accused in "nonbailable" offenses should be granted bail if accused of a crime where the sentence is less than 10 years. In July the 1992 presidential ordinance revoking the statutory right to bail in cases where trials proved lengthy was allowed to lapse without being renewed. However, human rights groups credibly complain that bail is set, often purposely, at unreasonably high levels for indigent defendants. A 1990 Shari'a court decision resulted in the Islamic concepts of Qisas (roughly an "eye for an eye") and Diyat ("blood money") being made part of the Penal Code, through the Qisas and Diyat Ordinance. The ordinance allows compensation to be paid to a victim's family in lieu of the accused receiving punishment. As a result, wealthy or influential persons can often escape punishment for such crimes as murder and assault. In one case, a convicted murderer received no punishment because he paid blood money to the victim's family, while his accomplices received sentences of life in prison. The right to seek pardon or commutation is not available to defendants under the ordinance. The Hadood, Qisas, and Diyat ordinances apply to both ordinary criminal courts and Shari'a courts. Appeals of certain Hadood convictions involving penalties in excess of 2 years' imprisonment are referred exclusively to the Shari'a courts. Under the Hadood Ordinances, evidence for cases involving the harsh "hadd" punishments (see Section 1.c.) is given different weight depending on the religion and sex of the witness. A non-Muslim may not serve as a witness against a Muslim offender, but may offer testimony against another non-Muslim. Testimony of females is not admissible for the awarding of "hadd" punishments (as prescribed in the Koran, e.g., amputation, stoning, and lashes). In cases involving financial matters, the testimony of two women is required for the evidence to be admissible. The evidential laws that apply to awarding the lesser "tazeer" punishments are roughly based on English common law. There continued to be charges that magistrates and police, under pressure to achieve high conviction rates, persuade persons in custody to plead guilty without informing them of the consequences. Politically powerful persons also attempt to influence magistrates' decisions and have used various forms of pressure, including the threat of transfer, to do so. Magistrates also perform a wide variety of administrative functions for the provincial governments, reducing the time they devote to their judicial duties. Administration of justice in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is normally the responsibility of the elders and maliks (appointed leaders) of individual tribes who, in response to complaints, conduct public hearings according to the dictates of Islamic law and tribal custom. There is no professional legal representation for the accused, no provision for bail, and no appeal. The usual penalties consist of fines, even for murder, although the Government's political agents directing the assemblies of elders and maliks (jirgas) have the authority to levy prison terms of up to 14 years. In more remote areas outside the effective jurisdiction of the political agents, jirgas occasionally levy harsher, unsanctioned punishments, including flogging or death by shooting or stoning. A photograph of a public flogging in the tribal areas was prominently featured in a local paper in September. The accused received five lashes for selling and using heroin. Paramilitary forces under the direction of the political agents frequently perform punitive actions during enforcement operations. For example, in raids on criminal activities the authorities have been known to damage surrounding homes as extrajudicial punishment of residents for having tolerated nearby criminal activity. Cases referred to the Federal Shari'a court are heard jointly by Islamic scholars and high court judges using ordinary criminal procedures. Cases referred to the Shari'a bench of the Supreme Court are heard jointly by Islamic scholars and Supreme Court judges using ordinary criminal procedures. Judges and attorneys must be Muslim and be familiar with Islamic law. Within these limits, defendants in the Shari'a court are entitled to a lawyer of their choice. If accused of a bailable offense, defendants in the Shari'a court are entitled to bail and may be granted bail for nonbailable offenses, as noted above. The Suppression of Terrorist Activities (Special Courts) Act of 1975 established special courts to try cases involving crimes of a "terrorist" nature (e.g., murder and sabotage) expeditiously. In 1987 another ordinance was passed establishing special "speedy trial" courts to circumvent the judicial backlog. The Twelfth Constitutional Amendment, passed by Parliament in July 1991, created another tier of special courts to deal with particularly heinous crimes. Cases involving bomb blasts, sabotage, highway robberies, banditry, or kidnaping may be brought before these three types of special courts, and the Government may transfer cases from any other court to one of the special courts, or from one special court to another (within the same province). In 1991 the President promulgated new versions of the Terrorist Affected Areas (Special Courts) Ordinance and the Special Courts for Speedy Trials Ordinance which made referring cases to special courts the exclusive domain of the Federal Government. Each special court has a list of scheduled offenses over which it has jurisdiction. For the "speedy courts," the criteria is that the case is sensational or has received widespread public attention. This determination is made by the Federal Government. The ordinances also established that an appeal to a speedy court ruling goes to the Supreme Appellate Court rather than to the high courts. In addition, the Government may refer a broader range of cases involving violent criminal offenses to the special courts. Many legal experts believe the special courts do not provide for a fair trial. Time constraints on investigations and trials, including the strict limitation on adjournments, detract from the accused's right to an adequate defense. Some critics contend that the special courts' procedures have effectively repudiated the presumption of innocence. They also cite the encroachment of the federal authorities upon the provincial government's constitutional authority to administer justice and the inherent unfairness of parallel courts to which cases may be assigned arbitrarily. Another problem faced by those brought to trial under the special courts is obtaining bail. Under the special courts' provisions, bail is denied if it appears to the court that it is reasonable to believe the accused committed a scheduled offense. Government officials and some attorneys argue that, in spite of their shortcomings, the special courts are necessary due to the judicial backlog. They also claim that all requirements of the rules of evidence still apply, the accused has the right to counsel, and the judges must meet the same standards as those appointed to a high court. They note that decisions of the speedy trial courts may be appealed. However, for these courts only one appeal is allowed and it may only be made through a special appellate bench appointed by the Government. In late 1993, the Bhutto Government announced that it would not refer any new cases to the special courts and would allow the constitutional authority for special courts to lapse in July 1994. In 1990 President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, after dissolving the Bhutto government, established special "accountability" tribunals to try members of previous federal and provincial governments on criminal and corruption charges. However, only members of the Bhutto government, all of whom belong to the PPP, were charged with corruption and misconduct. No members of other political parties were ever brought to trial. Trials under these tribunals continued in 1993, although bail had been granted in all cases. International observers maintain that the accountability tribunals have not met the minimum standards for due process needed to ensure fair trials and that the trial procedures prevented the accused from presenting a full defense. Some Pakistani attorneys and judges, however, maintain that the actual conduct of the tribunals has been balanced and fair. In early 1993, bail was granted to Asif Zardari, husband of Benazir Bhutto, in his accountability and criminal cases. At year's end, Zardari was still under trial in one remaining accountability case. He has been acquitted in the 12 other cases. In the remaining "Presidential reference" cases, most notably the seven against Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the appeal of the conviction of former Law Minister Iftikhar Gilani, there was no movement in 1993. These cases remain before the accountability tribunals. There are individuals in Pakistan imprisoned for attempting to exercise their human rights, including those charged with blasphemy, and some political workers who may be imprisoned on trumped-up charges. In addition, there are others who were convicted in trials which may not have been fair. While it is not possible to cite a specific number, it is likely that the number of political prisoners could be as many as a few hundred (see appendix A for the definition of "political prisoner") at year's end.
f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
Police are required by law to obtain a warrant from a magistrate to search a house. (No warrant is required to search a person.) However, police often enter a home without a warrant. In the absence of a warrant, a policeman is subject to charges of criminal trespass. In practice, policemen are seldom, if ever, punished for illegal entry. Pakistan maintains several domestic intelligence services which monitor politicians, political activists, suspected terrorists, and suspected foreign intelligence agents. Informed sources maintain that wiretapping is commonplace, mail is occasionally intercepted and opened, and surveillance is often used.
Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
a. Freedom of Speech and Press
The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press. Pakistanis are generally free to discuss and debate public policy issues. However, some laws restrict free speech, such as laws against bringing Islam or the armed forces into discredit or ridicule and the Shari'a bill signed by the President in 1991, which calls for promoting Islam through the mass media and the censoring of "objectionable" and "obscene" material. In addition, the Pakistan Penal Code mandates the death sentence for anyone convicted of blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad. Most of those accused of blasphemy are Ahmadis or Christians. Two persons have been convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death. Their cases are on appeal. (See Section 2.c.) The press enjoys a high degree of freedom, but some restrictions apply. A government-owned press trust still controls two newspapers, an English-language daily and an Urdu daily. One of the two main wire services is controlled by the Ministry of Information, the other is privately owned. There are numerous privately owned newspapers, and their circulation far exceeds that of the government-owned newspapers. There was relatively free discussion of government policies and open criticism of the Government in the privately owned press. The press routinely reports remarks critical of the Government made by opposition politicians, and editorials reflect a broad spectrum of views. Government newspapers and wire services, however, are circumspect in their coverage of the news and generally follow the government line. Press criticism of the military is usually circumspect. The Constitution provides for the death penalty for those who damage the Constitution by any act, including publishing statements against the spirit of the Constitution. Reporters and editors generally exercise self-censorship in these areas. However, the Government exploits the privately owned newspapers' dependence on government advertising, an important source of revenue for them, as a way of influencing editorial policy. The duty-free importation of newsprint is also controlled by the Government, nominally on the basis of a newspaper's circulation. Journalists complain that newspapers that criticize the Government are provided less than their due and must pay market prices to make up the difference. Incidents of harassment of individual journalists, including a spate of burglaries at journalists' homes, occurred in 1993, though the incidence was less than in previous years. The Sharif government harassed news organizations that criticized it, primarily by using the tax laws to threaten foreclosure. Two prominent newspapers had substantial tax bills levied against them far in excess of the taxes levied on other newspapers with comparable tax liabilities. The cases were reportedly resolved when the news organizations agreed to change editorial content and transfer some personnel. The Government owns and operates all radio and all but one semiprivate television station and strictly controls the news they carry. The Shalimar Television Network (STN), a semiprivate television station, provides programs with considerable independence from government oversight. STN began broadcasting Cable News Network (CNN) programs in 1990; CNN is shown live, but segments considered socially offensive are censored by the Government. Satellite television reception, which has become increasingly widespread, is not subject to censorship or scrambling. During the first half of 1993, the Sharif government severely limited the amount of coverage given to opposition activities during government-controlled news broadcasts. In contrast, the news broadcasts during the tenure of the two caretaker governments displayed greater objectivity. Nevertheless, many media watchers complain the government-controlled media continues to avoid reporting on controversial domestic subjects. After passage of the Shari'a law, there was a significant increase in censorship of "objectionable material" on television, which continued in 1993. The Ministry of Information keeps close watch on advertisements broadcast by STN, editing or removing those deemed objectionable. Conservative religious and political groups have been active in promoting their own code of morality for Pakistani society. The Shari'a bill's passage in 1991 bolstered these groups' efforts by placing greater pressure on individuals to conform to Islamic sensibilities. In early 1993, there was a campaign by religious groups and provincial governments to crack down on "obscene" video cassettes. While no guidelines were established on obscene material, media reports stated that thousands of video cassettes were destroyed by police officials and over 100 persons were arrested. Some were reportedly sentenced to several years imprisonment. However, literary and creative works remain generally free of censorship. Obscene literature, a category broadly defined by the Government, is subject to seizure. Authorities have occasionally banned or confiscated books and magazines dealing with sensitive political topics. A bookstore in Islamabad was raided and temporarily closed by police on December 18 following reports that the store was selling the book "Encyclopedia of Religion," which allegedly contains remarks offensive to Islam and images of the prophet Mohammad. The Muslim owner was charged with blasphemy under Section 2 95 C of the Penal Code. The case was pending at year's end. However, dramas and documentaries on once taboo subjects, including corruption, social privilege, narcotics, violence against women, and female inequality, are now shown on Pakistani television. A Print, Press, and Publications Ordinance requires the registration of printing presses and newspapers and allows the Government to confiscate newspapers or magazines deemed objectionable. Foreign books must pass government censors before being reprinted, although the importation of the books is freely allowed. Publications are occasionally banned, usually for objectionable religious content or political views. The provincial government of Balochistan banned two books which allegedly promoted secessionist political movements. Academic freedom is generally recognized by government and university authorities. The atmosphere of violence and intolerance fostered by student organizations, typically tied to political parties, is a threat to academic freedom. On campuses, well-armed groups of students of varying political persuasions clash frequently and intimidate other students, instructors, and administrators on matters of language, syllabus, examination policies, doctrine, and dress. Human rights groups remain concerned about the implementation of a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that prohibits student political organizations on campuses. While they acknowledge the ruling led to a reduction in violence on campuses in 1993, they question the legality of school officials determining guilt or innocence and expelling students they find guilty of belonging to a political organization.
b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
Peaceful assembly was generally permitted. District magistrates occasionally exercised their power under Section 144 of the criminal procedure code to ban meetings of more than four people when demonstrations seemed likely to result in violence. This provision was invoked frequently and arbitrarily in Sindh Province during the first half of 1993. Political parties had to apply for special permission to hold any outdoor political rallies. The Sindh government during this period tended to allow its supporters to hold rallies and to block its opponents from doing so. Section 1 44 was also applied by the national and provincial interim governments in numerous locations throughout Pakistan during the fall general election campaign. While imposition of Section 1 44 may not have been necessary in every instance to maintain security, there is no indication that the interim governments applied section 1 44 in a biased manner. When it was imposed in Karachi during the election campaign, for example, rallies of all major parties were banned. Most political leaders were able to travel freely and address large rallies; however, leaders of politico-religious parties were sometimes barred from travel to certain areas if their presence was deemed likely to increase sectarian tensions. Article 17 of the Constitution provides for freedom of association subject to restrictions by government ordinance and law. There have been no recent cases of banned groups or parties.
c. Freedom of Religion
Pakistan is an Islamic republic with a population that is 97 percent Muslim. The Constitution requires all laws to be consistent with Islam. With notable exceptions (see below), members of minority groups may practice their own religion openly, maintain links with coreligionists in other countries, and travel for religious purposes. Conversions are permitted, but the Government prohibits proselytizing among Muslims. Minority groups fear that the 1991 Shari'a law's goal of "Islamizing" all aspects of Pakistan's government and society may further restrict freedom to practice their religion. The religious legislation has encouraged an atmosphere of religious intolerance which has led to acts of violence directed at Ahmadis and Christians. For example, in 1993 a landlord from Sindh province bulldozed over 30 homes, a church, and a school, destroying a 30-year old Christian village, rather than wait for a civil court's order in a land dispute. No action had been taken against the landlord as of the year's end. A 1974 constitutional amendment declared Ahmadis to be a non-Muslim minority because they do not accept Muhammad as the last prophet of Islam. The Ahmadis, however, look on themselves as Muslims, for whom many Muslim practices are an important feature of their religion. In 1984 the Government inserted Section 2 98(c) into the Pakistan Penal Code which made it illegal for an Ahmadi to call himself a Muslim and banned Ahmadis from using Muslim terminology. The punishment is up to 3 years' imprisonment and a fine. Section 2 98(c) has been used since 1984 to harass Ahmadis. According to an Ahmadi rights organization, as of the end of 1992 at least 2,133 Ahmadis had criminal cases brought against them, most of which were still pending before the courts. New cases were brought during 1993. Attacks on Ahmadi places of worship continued in 1993. On June 20 three youths attempted to set fire to an Ahmadi house of worship in Lahore while Ahmadi elders were praying there. The incident was reported to the police, but no action was taken. In 1986 legislation was passed inserting Section 2 95(c) into the Pakistan Penal Code, making blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad a capital offense. The law was apparently aimed at Ahmadis but has been increasingly used against Christians and Muslims as well. In 1992 the Senate unanimously adopted a bill to amend the blasphemy law so that the death penalty is mandatory in cases of conviction for defiling the name of the prophet Muhammad, and in 1993 a bill was introduced to extend the law to include defiling the names of the Prophet Muhammad's family and companions. The latter bill, generally supported by anti-Shi'a groups as a means of persecuting the Shia's, had yet to be acted upon. According to a respected Pakistani human rights organization, since 1986, 107 Ahmadis have been charged with blasphemy under section 295(c) in at least 25 separate cases. As of the end of 1993, there had been no convictions. One case had been dropped, and two persons had been acquitted. At least four Ahmadis were charged with blasphemy in 1993. Eight Christians have reportedly been charged with blasphemy. Two other Christians were stabbed to death by their accusers without formally being charged. Of those charged before 1993, Tahir Iqbal died under mysterious circumstances in jail in 1992 while awaiting trial, Gul Masih was convicted in 1992 and his appeal was still pending, and Sarwar Masih was still awaiting trial. One individual was acquitted in January but remains in fear for his life from local religious groups. Four of the eight were charged in 1993. In one case, three Christians were arrested in May and accused of writing blasphemous words on a mosque wall in violation of Section 2 95(c). One of those accused was Salamat Masih, a 13-year-old illiterate boy. Salamat was released on 50,000 rupees bail ($1,666) on November 8. At year's end, the two adults remain in prison. In another case, Anwar Yaqoob Masih was charged with blasphemy following an argument with a shopkeeper over 1 rupee (less than 4 cents) worth of candy. When the shopkeeper, who was a friend of Anwar Masih, refused to press charges, a local Muslim religious leader filed the charges instead. The most prominent case of a Muslim charged with blasphemy is that of Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan, a noted social worker, who was charged with blasphemy in both Sindh and Punjab provinces. In 1992 charges were dropped in Sindh. However, the charges were not dropped in Punjab, and at the end of the year he remained subject to arrest in that province. Three Muslims are known to have been charged with blasphemy in 1993. Mohammad Arshad Javed was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death in February, despite being found insane by two government-appointed doctors. His case has been appealed to the Lahore High Court. In late 1992, the Supreme Court issued a ruling favorable to the Ahmadis by granting bail to members of an Ahmadi family accused of using Islamic expressions on wedding invitations. In its ruling, the Court observed that use of Islamic expressions by Ahmadis "does not create in a Muslim, or for that matter anyone else, any of the feelings of hurt, offence or provocation, nor is it derogatory to the holy Prophet Muhammad." In 1993, however, the Supreme Court ruled against the Ahmadis in a major case regarding the constitutionality of Section 298(c). Rejecting the argument that it violated the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion guaranteed in the Constitution, the Court upheld the law. The judge writing for the majority found that Islamic phrases are in essence a copyrighted trademark of the Islamic religion. Therefore, use of the Islamic epithets by Ahmadis was equivalent to copyright infringement and violated the Trademark Act of 1940. The majority also found that use of certain Islamic phrases was equivalent to blasphemy. Ahmadis and some human rights monitors fear the Supreme Court judgment upholding the law will lead to more cases being brought against Ahmadis and possibly more rapid convictions. Pakistani passports carry a designation of religion which the Ahmadis find especially vexing. Ahmadis are classified as "non-Muslims" on their passports, leading Saudi authorities to prevent them from performing the religious pilgrimage, the hajj. Despite having issued an order in 1992 requiring that a similar designation be included on the national identity card, the Government did not submit implementing legislation in 1993. Although the order has not been formally withdrawn, widespread protests in 1992 appeared to have persuaded the Government to abandon the proposal, which is a longstanding demand of fundamentalist religious parties.
d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation
Pakistanis generally enjoy freedom of movement within the country and to travel abroad. The Government occasionally prohibits movement of individuals within Pakistan through "externment orders" when it believes their presence will lead to a threat to public order. Travel to Israel is legally prohibited. Pakistanis succeed in traveling to Jerusalem for religious purposes. Government employees must obtain "no objection certificates" before traveling abroad. Students are also required to have these certificates from their institutions. The Sharif government briefly used the exit control list during 1993 to prohibit the travel of political opponents. The prohibitions were lifted following the dismissal of the Sharif government in July. In November the Bhutto Government also placed restrictions on the exit of certain businessmen involved in an investment scandal. The exit control list continues to be used against serious criminals. With the exception of those on the exit control lists, Pakistanis have and regularly exercise the right to emigrate. More than 3 million Afghans fled to Pakistan as a result of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the ensuing civil war there. The movement and employment of Afghans in Pakistan has generally not been restricted, and many Afghans reside outside the camps set aside for them in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), Punjab, and Balochistan. With the change of government in Kabul in 1992, over a million Afghans returned to their homes. Repatriation continued in 1993, although at a much lower rate. The outbreak of new fighting in Kabul in early 1993 among different factions of the Government sparked a new flow of thousands of refugees into Pakistan. Despite its reluctance in August 1992 to accept new refugees, the Government subsequently allowed as many as 80,000 new refugees to enter Pakistan. Approximately 1.4 million Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan, where they have greater security, more economic opportunities, social welfare benefits, and a better human rights situation than in Afghanistan. Security concerns among the refugees, including intraparty rivalries that mirrored the unsettled conditions in Afghanistan, have improved as the political parties focused their energies on disputes inside Afghanistan. There has also been an improvement in the access of women and girls to education and health care as group leaders gradually begin to accept the benefits of these services. Nevertheless, life in the camps can be frustrating. The many refugees who have found employment are outside of the limited security net provided by Pakistani labor laws. The refugees have limited access to legal protection and are for the most part dependent on group leaders to negotiate disputes in Pakistani society and within their own society. Hundreds of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are held in prisons throughout Pakistan, charged with immigration violations. Almost all of these detainees are without the documents necessary to prove Bangladeshi citizenship. Many of the women are alleged to be in Pakistan as a result of trafficking in women for purposes of prostitution, and some are detained under the Hadood Ordinances. The Government, with the help of the Bangladesh Government, took steps in 1990 to document and repatriate some of these Bangladeshis, but the influx continues, and few are able or willing to return to Bangladesh. Many are released from jail into the custody of their exploiters, and the cycle repeats itself. The repatriation to Pakistan of the Biharis (Urdu-speaking immigrants from the Indian state of Bihar who went to East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, at the time of partition in 1947) continued to be a contentious issue. Approximately 250,000 Biharis have been in refugee camps in Bangladesh since 1971, waiting to be brought to Pakistan. Their repatriation continues to be a Pakistani political issue tied to the country's various ethnic problems. While the Mohajir community, made up of Pakistanis who emigrated from India during partition, actively supports Bihari repatriation, ethnic Sindhis oppose the move. In 1992 the Government of Pakistan announced that repatriation of the Biharis would begin. In January 342 Biharis were flown to Pakistan and placed in temporary housing in central Punjab. No further repatriation occurred in 1993.
Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government
The citizens of Pakistan have the right and the ability to change their government peacefully. The President, who is indirectly elected, is given the power to dissolve the Government by Amendment 8 to the Constitution. This controversial authority was used twiceduring 1993 by former President Ghulam Ishaq Khan. In April the President dissolved the Government, but his decision was overturned by the Supreme Court. In July the President again dissolved the Government, this time at the Prime Minister's request, in a political compromise which allowed for new elections in October. The national and provincial assembly elections held on October 6 and 9 were seen by both international and domestic observers to have been relatively free and fair. Although some losing candidates alleged voter manipulation and fraud, they failed to produce compelling evidence. Election observers documented several problems, however, including outdated and poorly prepared electoral rolls which disenfranchised some legitimate voters while allowing some fraudulent voting to take place. Some individuals were arrested and summarily fined for violating election laws on polling day. Despite these isolated incidents, there is no compelling evidence that vote manipulation changed the outcome of the elections in any constituencies. Following the elections, in which the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) won a plurality of seats in the National Assembly, Benazir Bhutto was elected Prime Minister. In the November 13 indirect presidential elections, PPP-supported candidate Farooq Leghari was selected President. With certain exceptions, Pakistanis aged 21 and over have the right to vote by secret ballot. In August the National Election Commission informed a human rights organization that bonded laborers and nomads, of which there are several million, are not qualified to be registered voters because they do not "ordinarily reside in an electoral area, nor do they own/possess a dwelling or immovable property in that area." Political parties have been allowed to operate freely since the lifting of martial law in 1985 and 1986, and in 1988 the Supreme Court struck down a law banning unregistered political parties from participating in elections. Local governments and the provincial and national assemblies are directly elected. The Senate is elected by the members of the four provincial assemblies. The President is indirectly elected by an electoral college consisting of the members of the national and provincial assemblies and the Senate. The Constitution provides that members of the national and provincial assemblies shall serve terms of 5 years, unless the Assembly is dissolved. The Senate is not subject to dissolution by the President. The President is elected every 5 years and senators are elected for 6-year terms. The more than 2 million Pushtun ethnic people living in the FATA do not participate in direct election of their National Assembly representatives and have no representation in the NWFP provincial assembly. In keeping with local traditions, FATA's National Assembly members are elected by the tribal maliks who have been appointed in the NWFP Governor's name by the central Government's political agents. People living in this area have expressed dissatisfaction at having no representation in any legislature. The vast majority of Pushtun ethnic people, however, live outside the FATA and, while retaining their tribal identity, are fully integrated into the political, social, and economic life of Pakistan. Because of a longstanding territorial dispute with India, the political status of the Northern Areas (Hunza, Gilgit, and Baltistan) has never been resolved. As a result, more than 1 million inhabitants of the Northern Areas are not covered under any constitution and have no representation in the national Government. The area is administered by a civil servant appointed by the Government of Pakistan. While there is an elected Northern Areas Council, this body serves in an advisory capacity to the Federal Government and has no legislative authority. The people of this region do not enjoy the democratic right to change their government. In 1993 the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) High Court ruled that the Northern Areas should be incorporated into the semiautonomous state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and its citizens be given a right to be represented in the AJK legislative assembly. The Federal Government is appealing the ruling to the Supreme Court of the AJK. On May 5, by-elections were held in Sindh Province to fill 20 vacant provincial assembly seats. The MQM, an urban-based party in Sindh, boycotted the elections because it alleged the provincial government and army prevented it from campaigning openly. Partly as a result of the MQM's boycott, there was only a 5 percent voter turnout in the by-elections in Karachi and Hyderabad. The Constitution requires that the President and Prime Minister be Muslims. Members of minority religious groups are not permitted to vote in Muslim constituencies. They must cast their ballots in countrywide, at-large constituencies reserved for them in the national and provincial assemblies, an arrangement that has been widely criticized. Many Ahmadis, disputing their designation as non-Muslims, have refused to exercise this option. Minorities, especially Christians and Hindus, complain that this system of separate electorates has marginalized their voting power, allowing the local Muslim candidates to ignore them as a voting block. As a result, minority areas receive significantly less development funds and other government assistance. Although women participate in government, as evidenced by Prime Minister Bhutto, gender roles make it difficult for most of them to succeed in politics, and women are underrepresented in political life at all levels. At the federal level, the statute creating 20 reserved seats for women in the National Assembly lapsed in 1990, and its renewal was not supported by the Government then led by Benazir Bhutto. In 1993 the Senate Standing Committee on Women's Development recommended the restoration of the reserved women's seats. Despite statements by the Sharif government that the seats would be restored, no legislation was submitted. In the October elections, only 11 women were nominated by the political parties to stand as candidates for general seats in the National Assembly and of these only 4 were elected. Some women are often dissuaded from voting in elections by family, religious, and social custom in the rural areas of Pakistan. In some areas, women are discouraged from voting by the authorities' failure to provide separate voting facilities for women who observe "purdah" (seclusion of women from public observation) restrictions. The lack of women's polling booths is a very limited problem and contrary to government policy. However, where it occurs it may represent a deliberate attempt by local officials in very traditional areas to discourage women from voting.
Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights
There are a number of domestic human rights organizations, and new human rights and legal aid groups continue to form and are generally free to operate without government restriction. Their reports receive extensive coverage in the press. There was, however, one reported incident of official harassment of a human rights organizations. In March federal security agents raided the Lahore headquarters of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), a leading nongovernmental human rights organization. The security agents detained several staff members, including the director, and confiscated posters critical of President Ghulam Ishaq Khan. No charges were brought against HRCP members, nor were any of the federal security agents involved in the incident disciplined. The local police and civil authorities deny any knowledge of the raid. In 1993 the Senate formed a permanent committee on human rights to advise the Government on various aspects of human rights, including child and bonded labor, women's issues, and abuse of prisoners. The committee has yet to take any specific action. Persons affiliated with various international human rights organizations have been permitted to visit Pakistan and travel freely.
Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status
In 1991 the Government passed the Shari'a Bill, a law aimed at bringing all aspects of government and society in Pakistan into conformity with the tenets of Islam. Human rights monitors and women's groups feared that the law would have a harmful effect on women's and minority rights. The final version included language ensuring that women's and minority rights protected under the Constitution would not be affected. No enabling legislation has been passed, and the Shari'a law's direct impact on these groups remained limited. Nonetheless, its passage influenced popular attitudes and perceptions, contributing to an atmosphere in which discriminatory treatment against women and non-Muslims is more readily accepted. Aside from the specific Shari'a legislation, some Islamic leaders continued to stress a conservative interpretation of Islamic injunctions to justify discrimination against women. Many Pakistanis interpret the Koran's injunctions on modesty to mean that women should remain either at home or veiled. It remains accepted practice to assign women subordinate roles in the civil, political, and managerial hierarchies. Despite clear injunctions in the Koran and the civil laws that provide for the right of women to inherit, in practice women generally do not receive (or are pressed to surrender) their due share in family inheritance. In rural Pakistan the practice of a woman "marrying the Koran" is still widely accepted if her family cannot arrange a suitable marriage or to keep the family wealth intact. A woman who is married to the Koran is forbidden to have any contact with males, including her immediate family members, over 14 years of age. A petition filed in a Lahore court in 1992 challenging the practice has yet to be heard. Both civil and religious laws protect women's rights in cases of divorce, but, as in the case of inheritance laws, many women are unaware of them, and often the laws are not observed. In 1992 the Supreme Court invalidated the requirement that a husband give written notice of a divorce to a local union council. Thus, the husband's statement of divorce, with or without witnesses, is the defining legal step and one which he can confirm or deny at will. The woman, lacking written proof of divorce, remains legally and socially vulnerable. Human rights organizations expressed concern that a woman could be charged with adultery if her former spouse were to deny having divorced her. This occurred in February, when a district and sessions court sentenced Nasreen Bibi to be stoned to death and sentenced her second husband to 100 lashes when her first husband denied divorcing her. Upon appeal, the Federal Shari'a court acquitted both Bibi and her husband because there was sufficient evidence to prove they had entered into marriage in the belief that Bibi was divorced. Although a small number of women study and teach in the universities, postgraduate employment opportunities remain largely limited to teaching, medical services, and the law. Nevertheless, an increasing number of women are entering the commercial and public sectors. Karachi lawyers estimate that the number of women judges in civil courts there has increased to about 30 percent of the total. There are reports that women who apply to professional colleges face discrimination. Women may now participate in international athletic competition, although few do. In rural areas, women in small farm families generally work alongside men in the fields. However, they remain subordinate to men and suffer discrimination in education, employment, and legal rights. There is no reliable information on the extent of domestic violence against women in Pakistan, primarily because it is viewed as a private matter, and many women do not even acknowledge domestic violence as a serious problem. While abusive spouses may be charged under Pakistani law for assault, in practice cases are rarely filed. Police usually return to her abuser a victim who tries to file a complaint. Legal experts report there have been no reported convictions of men for domestic violence. Rape is a widespread problem in Pakistan. Marital rape is not a crime under Pakistani law, and rape of a another man's wife is a common method of seeking revenge in rural and tribal areas. A nongovernmental organization called War Against Rape (WAR), which is dedicated to publicizing the problem and providing victim assistance, reported that, in 1992, 1,300 cases of rape were filed in Punjab province. They conservatively estimate that, because of social and family pressures against reporting rape, the actual number of rapes is at least four times that number . A WAR study of 60 publicly reported rape cases in Lahore during January found that police officials were allegedly implicated in nearly 20 percent of these cases. Police are frequently unresponsive in investigating rape cases, especially when police officials are implicated. WAR also estimates that one third of the victims are under 18 years of age. In the interior of Sindh, Balochistan, and Southern Punjab, the primarily Baloch tribal custom of Karo Kari exists in which men and women believed to have had sexual relations outside of marriage are both murdered to protect the honor of the women's family. Such cases are rarely reported to the police or seriously investigated. While the problem is widely acknowledged to exist, reliable statistics are unavailable. One magazine that investigated the problem estimated there were hundreds of cases each year. While Karo Kari technically means the killing of both persons, women are more frequently killed, while the man is often able to pay compensation to the "wronged" family. In 1993 the press continued to draw attention to the problem of so-called "dowry deaths," in which women are burned to death, allegedly in kitchen stove accidents. Many of these deaths are believed to be murders perpetrated by husbands or in-laws. It is difficult to differentiate criminal "dowry deaths" from common kitchen stove accidents that occur as a result of the use of unsafe wood or gas stoves combined with the highly flammable material commonly worn by women in Pakistan. Women also continued to be killed or mutilated by male relatives who suspect them of adultery. Few such cases are investigated seriously. Women's organizations operate throughout the country but primarily in Pakistan's urban centers. Many concentrate on educating women about existing legal rights. Other groups concentrate on providing legal aid to poor women in prison who may not be able to afford an attorney.
The Government commits a share of its national budget to children's welfare but does not publish the figures for such expenditures. Parts of the budgets for health, education, and various social service programs are components of the total federal child welfare expenditures. In addition to the federal expenditures, each province also commits funds to similar programs. Despite a 1962 law that requires each province to designate areas where primary education is compulsory, none of the provinces has designated such areas. Therefore, in fact, primary education is not compulsory. Schools are available in most localities but they have very limited space, staff, and resources. According to government figures, less than 65 percent of children between 5 and 9 attend primary school and more than 50 percent of those drop out before finishing their primary education. Many observers believe even these figures are optimistic. The Government claims that overall literacy is about 30 percent, although many educators believe actual functional literacy is about 15 percent. The budget introduced by the Government in July reduced education expenditures by nearly 2 percent. Legal rights for children are theoretically protected by numerous laws which incorporate elements of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Legal enforcement of these laws, however, is frequently lacking. According to an independent study, 12,198 children under 21 years of age were detained while under trial in Punjab province during 1991. Some 2,095 were eventually convicted, of whom 129 were under 14. Federal law allows, but does not require, offenders under the age of 14 to be placed in reform schools; however, no such facilities exist. There is only one jail in each province set aside for convicted prisoners under age 21. Although Punjab and Sindh provinces have laws mandating special judicial procedures for child offenders, in practice, children and adults are essentially treated equally. According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Pakistan has one of the highest reported ratios of males to females in the world. One of the reasons for the high ratio of males is the preference for boys within the family structure. According to one study, female children are provided less food and medical care than male children, leading to a higher percentage of female children dying before their 5th birthday. Many observers believe female infanticide occasionally occurs, especially in poorer areas where the family may not be able to support the child.
Discrimination on ethnic and linguistic grounds underlies ethnic conflicts in several areas. In Sindh there continue to be conflicts between Sindhis and Mohajirs (Urdu-speaking immigrants originally from India). Non-Punjabis throughout Pakistan resent what they see as Punjabi domination of the bureaucracy, the police, and the armed forces. Social stratification also contributes to discrimination. Socially prominent Pakistanis generally suffer less at the hands of officials than those less well off, partly because of their ability to reciprocate favors and partly because of the general deference accorded social "betters" in Pakistani society.
There is much discrimination against religious minority groups in employment and education, and several International Labor Organization bodies expressed concern in 1993 that Pakistani laws facilitate discrimination in employment based on religion. In Pakistan's early years, minorities were able to rise to the senior ranks of the military and civil service. Today, many are unable to rise above mid-level ranks. Because of the lack of educational opportunities for some religious minority groups, discrimination in employment is believed to be increasingly prevalent. Christians, in particular, have difficulty finding jobs above those of menial labor. Officially designated as non-Muslims, Ahmadis in particular suffer from harassment and discrimination and have limited chances for advancement in the public sector. Young Ahmadis and their parents complain of increasing difficulty in gaining admittance to good colleges, forcing many children to go overseas for higher education. They complain that charges are often filed against them for the purpose of harassment or extortion and that the police will not accept their complaints when they and their property are attacked; few cases ever come to trial. Among religious minorities, there is a belief that the authorities, even if they do not prosecute them, afford them less protection under the law than is afforded Muslim citizens. There were several incidents in 1993 in which Ahmadis were physically assaulted by both police and civilians. Many Christians continue to express the fear of forced marriage of Christian women to Muslims, although some human rights monitors believe the practice is relatively rare. Many Christians also believe they are subject to harassment by the authorities. They cite difficulty in obtaining permission to build churches and the blasphemy laws as primary examples.
People with Disabilities
Pakistan has no laws requiring equal accessibility to public buildings for disabled persons. According to a 1987 government study, more than 10,000 disabled children were enrolled in the 158 special education centers administered by the Government and nongovernmental organizations. This represented about 1.7 percent of the estimated population of disabled children in Pakistan. Pakistan law reserves 1 percent of public sector jobs for disabled persons, although human rights monitors say this quota has never been met. The caretaker government of Prime Minister Qureshi announced in September that the quota would be raised to 2 percent.
Section 6 Worker Rights
a. The Right of Association
The right of industrial workers to form trade unions is enunciated in the Industrial Relations Ordinance (IRO) of 1969 but is subject to major restrictions in some employment areas. In practice, labor laws place significant constraints on the formation of unions and their ability to function effectively. Workers in export processing zones (EPZ's) currently are prohibited from forming trade unions, although a proposal to apply Pakistani labor laws to the EPZ's was before the Cabinet for decision. As part of the Government's trade policy over the past year, the Finance Act of 1992 extended this prohibition to all export-oriented units that export at least 70 percent of their production, although this decision has not yet been implemented. The All Pakistan Federation of Labour (APFOL) charges that trade unionists seeking to organize workers employed in the construction of the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway were arrested and mistreated by police while in custody. APFOL also alleges that some 500 workers were terminated from the project, which is being carried out by the Daewoo Corporation, and that the government of Punjab went to court to block the registration of the union. Government of Punjab officials deny that any abuses took place while the workers were in police custody. The Punjab Secretary of Labor said in December that the government had dropped its objection to the registration of the union and that the union would be allowed to register. In October the Federal Government also rescinded its previous application of the Essential Services Act to the motorway project. The Essential Services Act severely restricts normal union activities in sectors associated with the "administration of the State." The right of unions to strike is severely constrained by legally required conciliation proceedings and cooling-off periods and especially by the Government's authority to ban any strike found to cause "serious hardship to the community" or prejudice to the national interest, or in any case after any strike has continued unresolved for 30 days. Strikes continue to be rare; when they do occur, they are usually illegal and short. Police do not hesitate to crack down on worker demonstrations. Union members make up only about 13 percent of the industrial labor force and 10 percent of the total estimated work force. Contract labor continues to flourish, undercutting the power of the unions and exploiting workers willing to work on temporary contracts. These workers receive fewer benefits and have no job security. Trade unions of all political orientations are permitted, and the political leanings of labor leaders cover the entire spectrum. While many unions remain aloof from party politics, it appears that the most powerful are those associated with political parties. After the PPP came to power in 1988, it successfully organized trade unions under the banner of the People's Labor Bureau (PLB). The PLB's main competitors are the Jamaat-i-Islami's National Labor Federation and the MQM-backed labor unions. Labor federations are free to affiliate with international federations and confederations. International Labor Organization (ILO) committees have criticized Pakistan for years for its failure to abide by Convention 87 regarding freedom of association and Convention 98 on the right to organize and bargain collectively, both of which it has ratified. The charges, repeatedly raised by Pakistani trade unions, have focused on the limitations on union formation, strikes, and collective bargaining. Except for lifting the ban on an airline employee union, no Pakistani government has made any serious effort to change the laws criticized in the ILO reports. Even the employers' members of the ILO Conference Committee in 1993 accused the Government of bad faith in failing to take remedial action it had promised. The decision to extend union membership to certain state-owned enterprises had been taken during the Bhutto government's previous tenure but had not yet been implemented when her government fell in 1990. The administration of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif subsequently reversed this decision. There is a proposal before the Cabinet to allow employees of other government entities, including Pakistan Television, to form unions. The ILO continues to encourage the Government to lift prohibitions against union activity in EPZ's and with respect to radio, television, and hospital employees, as well as to rescind the existing ban on strikes. Pakistan was also asked to amend any provision of the IRO, the Press and Publications Ordinance, and the Political Parties Act which impose compulsory prison labor in a manner inconsistent with ILO Convention 105. In response to a request by Pakistan, the ILO agreed to provide technical assistance to bring the country's labor laws into conformity with the world body's conventions.
b. The Right To Organize and Bargain Collectively
The right of workers to form associations and freely elect representatives to act as collective bargaining agents is established in law. Section 15 of the IRO specifically prohibits antiunion discrimination by employers. Current laws, however, place major limitations on the extent and effectiveness of such activities. Industrial workers have the right to organize and bargain collectively under the IRO, although large sections of the labor force do not enjoy similar rights. Agricultural workers, who are not defined as "industrial workers" under the IRO, have the right to organize and form associations, but they are not guaranteed the right to strike, bargain collectively, or make demands on employers. Under the Essential Services Maintenance Act of 1952 (ESA), normal union activities are severely restricted in sectors associated with "the administration of the State," which covers a wide range of government services and state enterprises, such as education, health care, oil and gas production, and transport. For each industry found subject to the ESA, a finding that must be renewed every 6 months, a specific determination is made by the Government as to what constitutes the limits of union activity. In cases in which collective bargaining has been barred, individual wage boards decide wage levels. The Minimum Wage Ordinance of 1961 provides the authority under which minimum wage boards are formed. Minimum wage boards are constituted at the provincial level and are comprised of an industry representative, a labor representative, and an at-large member generally chosen from the senior ranks of the provincial labor ministry. A chairman provided by the provincial labor ministry presides over the board's deliberations, and additional industry and labor representatives may be added at the discretion of the chairman. Despite the presence of a labor representative on the minimum wage board, labor organizations are generally dissatisfied with the board's findings. Disputes are adjudicated before the National Industrial Relations Commission. A worker's right to quit may also be curtailed under this act, and a fired worker has no recourse to the labor courts. Collective bargaining and even strikes take place in some job areas covered by the act, e.g., the nationalized banks. Most unions continue to call for the abolition of the ESA. The ILO has advised the Government that a 1980 ordinance permitting it to exempt EPZ's from the provisions of any law is inconsistent with the requirements of ILO Conventions 87 and 98. An EPZ, with its own labor regulations, including regulations governing how workers may bargain collectively, is functioning in Karachi. Over the years, the ILO has also expressed concern about the ban on trade union activities in several specific organizations, including the government-run Pakistan television station. It has asked that collective bargaining rights be given to bank officers and employees, denouncing the practice in the foreign banking sector of granting false promotions to employees in order to remove them from the category of workers having the right to organize.
c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
Forced labor is specifically prohibited by law. However, critics argue that the ESA's limitation on some employees' rights to leave their jobs constitutes a form of compulsory labor. The Government informed the ILO's Committee on the Application of Standards in 1990 that amendments were under consideration to rectify the problem and that steps had been taken to address other forced labor issues. However, the Government has taken no further action on the ESA issue. Illegal bonded labor is widespread. Bonded labor is common in the brick, glass, and fishing industries and is found among agricultural and construction workers in rural areas. The total labor force in Pakistan is approximately 33.8 million people, and while there are no reliable figures available on the number of bonded laborers, conservative estimates put the figure at several million. In late 1992, a private jail was discovered in the Sindh province in which over 200 people had been incarcerated for up to 10 years. The detainees were being used to provide forced labor on the surrounding farmland. The local landlord, who owned the jail, was not charged in the case, but his son was charged and is currently a fugitive. The detainees continue to be held by local police at the private jail as material witnesses in the case. Human rights monitors believe that such private jails are common, particularly in Sindh, Balochistan, and Southern Punjab. In the brick kiln industry, a workers' association succeeded in bringing the plight of bonded brickmakers in Punjab before the Supreme Court. The Court's 1989 compromise ruling reinforced prohibitions on forced labor and forcible collection of debts and limited salary advances to 1-week's wages but upheld the legality of existing debts. The Court granted laborers the right to work wherever they wished and to make arrangements other than bonded labor to pay their existing debts. The Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act, adopted in March 1992, is the first law officially recognizing the existence of bonded labor in Pakistan. It outlaws the bonded labor system, cancels all existing bonded debts, and forbids lawsuits for the recovery of existing bonded debts. In principle, the law enables laborers to work where they wish and should result in all bonded debt recovery cases brought by employers being thrown out of court. The new legislation was not yet fully implemented but offers a basis for court cases which could improve the bonded labor situation. However, little progress was made in 1993 in the industries employing bonded laborers. A significant impediment to the law's implementation is the absence of any credible enforcement mechanism at the provincial level, as required by the law. While enforcement of antibonded labor statutes has always rested with the provinces, enforcement mechanisms historically have been deficient. Provinces have at their disposal cadres of labor inspectors, but their numbers are consistently inadequate to meet the requirements of the law. Plans exist for the formation of "vigilance committees" which would assist in the collection of information concerning possible labor code violations. As of the end of 1993, however, none of the vigilance committees had been constituted. Accordingly, no bonded labor petitions had been accepted by provincial courts, which are designated by federal law as having jurisdiction. In addition, resistance to the new law among employers was strong, reports of violations continued to appear, and the workers' movement was divided over the issue. Due to the lack of employment alternatives, many workers voluntarily returned to bonded labor at the kilns and elsewhere. The newly formed Senate Human Rights Committee announced in 1993 that bonded labor was to be one of its highest priorities.
d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children
Despite legal limitations, child labor is common. Child labor is limited by at least four separate statutes and Article 11 of The Constitution. The Employment of Children Act of 1991 defined the child as "a person who has not completed his 14th year of age." The Act also set 7 hours as the maximum workday for a child, inclusive of 1-hour's rest after 3 hours of continuous work, and reiterated restrictions against the employment of children in hazardous industries. The Act remains essentially unimplemented and did little to promote much needed enforcement mechanisms. While much child labor is in the traditional framework of family farming or small business, the abusive employment of children in larger industries and government business is also widespread. Child labor is widely employed in the carpet industry, much of which is family-run, cottage industry production. This appears to be the only export industry in which child labor is employed on a significant scale. Although there are no reliable official statistics, unofficial surveys and occasional press articles suggest that violations of existing laws are common. Unofficial estimates indicate that one-third of Pakistan's total labor force of 33 million is made up of workers under age 18. The employment of children is sometimes linked with stories of child prostitution and abuse. The manager of the ILO program on the elimination of child labor visited Pakistan in December to discuss the development of a program for the elimination of child labor in Pakistan. The ILO has earmarked $600,000 for project development over the next several years, which will include a grassroots campaign to raise awareness about child labor, as well as a review and revision of Pakistani legislation on child labor. A Punjab labor department study concluded that about a million children are engaged in carpet weaving, mostly in the cottage industry, throughout Pakistan. In addition to suffering work-related health problems and receiving beatings if they try to avoid work, these children remain uneducated, 42 percent never having attended school and 58 percent having dropped out. The smuggling of young Pakistani children to the Gulf countries reportedly continued. Most of the boys, many of whom are preschool age, are used as jockeys in camel races. Thousands of young Pakistanis reportedly have been smuggled to the Gulf in recent years. In some cases the children, usually from rural areas, were kidnaped. In other cases, poor parents are said to have sold their children to the traffickers.
e. Acceptable Conditions of Work
Labor regulations are governed by federal statutes applicable throughout the country. The minimum wage is approximately $50 (1,500 rupees). Although this wage is ostensibly enough to support a small family, minimum wage benefits are extended to only a minority of the work force by virtue of an extensive list of exempted activities. The law, applicable nationally, provides for a maximum workweek of 54 hours, rest periods during the workday, and paid annual holidays. These regulations specifically do not apply to agricultural workers, to workers in Pakistan's numerous small factories with fewer than 10 employees, and to the small contract groups of under 10 workers into which factory work forces are increasingly divided. Due in part to a lack of education, many workers are unaware of the regulations protecting their rights. In September the Government amended laws relating to workmen's compensation, payment of wages, old-age pensions, social security, workers' children education, gratuity, and workers' share in companies' profits to expand those benefits to workers earning approximately $100 or less per month. Previously, the ceiling on salary for the receipt of such benefits was set at about $50 per month. Enforcement of labor regulations, the responsibility of provincial governments, has generally been ineffective. The attention given to enforcement varies among the provinces in proportion to the significance of industrial labor. In all cases, limited resources, corruption, and inadequate regulatory structures hamper the effort. In general, worker health and safety standards are poor, and little is being done to improve them. Organized labor is occasionally able to press for improvements, and some legal protections apply, although they are weakly enforced.