1,096 women killed for ‘honour’ in 2015: HRCP report

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Human Rights Commission of Pakistan database recorded 987 cases of honour killings in 2015, with 1,096 females and 88 males of whom at least 170 were minors, said a an HRCP report on state of human rights yesterday.
In 2014 about 1,000 women died in honour-related attacks and 869 in 2013.
The parliament made 20 laws. The president promulgated 12 ordinances. The provincial legislatures adopted 120 laws. With 40 laws enacted, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had the highest legislative output, followed by Sindh (32), Punjab (31) and Balochistan (17). The provinces continued to use expanded legislative authority under the 18th Constitutional Amendment to enact several important laws, but implementation mechanism lagged behind. Important legislation included Sindh Commission on the Status of Women Act, Balochistan Prevention and Control of Thalassemia Act, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Prohibition of Employment of Children Act.
Sindh and Punjab adopted laws with regard to employment of physically challenged citizens.
Legislation was adopted to set up eight universities across Pakistan. Laws were enacted to regulate the conduct of local government elections in all the provinces, in the federal capital and in cantonments. The report reads.
The 21st constitutional and corresponding amendments to the Army Act, 1952, empowered military courts to try all persons, including civilians and juveniles, in the offences related to terrorism. The year 2015 saw 324 people, most with no links to terrorism, being put to death. Another 8,000 prisoners stayed on death row. Dispensation of justice remained protracted, with 2,700 cases pending before the Supreme Court and 60,000 each in the Lahore and Sindh High Court, 9,000 cases in Balochistan High Court and 28,487 in Peshawar High Court
In law and order, 4,612 people died through violence, a 40% decrease, as compared to 7,622 violence-related deaths last year. Anti- state violence dropped below 2,008 levels: 706 militant attacks took place, in which 1,325 people, including 619 civilians, 348 security forces personnel, 325 militants and 33 pro-government razakars were killed.
HRCP noted killing of 2,108 men and seven women in police encounters across the country. There were 18 suicide attacks in Pakistan, 31% less in comparison to last year. Punjab reported 382,932 cases of crime in 2015, 6,622 less than those in 2014. Sindh saw a 42pc reduction in the number of murders in 2015 as compared to 2014. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan witnessed 10 and one percent surge, respectively, in total crime in 2015 as compared to 2014.
Around 41 terrorist attacks in 2015 (56 were in 2014) targeted political leaders and workers in 25 districts of the country, which claimed lives of 57 people and injured 75 others. Five doctors and three lawyers were killed because of their faith.
As many as 65 prisoners died in the country’s prisons in 2015. 419 persons were awarded death penalty in the year while 327 death convicts were hanged, making Pakistan one of the highest executing states in the world. 1,390 cases of enforced disappearances remained pending with the commission of inquiry. HRCP data suggested that as least 151 cases of disappearances were reported in Balochistan between January and November 2015.
The report says 58 incidents of sectarian violence occurred all over Pakistan. All were sectarian-related terrorist attacks; no sectarian clash was reported. Hundreds of people lost their lives and many more were injured in faith-based attacks against religious and sectarian minorities while 22 individuals were booked on the charges of blasphemy. These included 15 Muslims, four Christians and three Ahmadis. Several thousand citizens from religious minority communities were reported to have left the country over the last few years on account of faith-based violence, discrimination and persecution.
Killing of four journalists and a media worker with impunity and assaults on many more made Pakistan live with the dubious status of being a dangerous place for journalists. Pemra’s new code of conduct allowed auditing of live content of television channels and restrictions on live broadcasts.
Introduction of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill in January, if passed, poses serious threats to freedom of expression in cyberspace. The federal government and the provincial governments of Sindh and Balochistan have yet to democratise their outdated freedom of information laws under Article-19-A.
HRCP documented at least 15 attacks against journalists and human rights defenders in 2015. HRCP’s monitor for South Waziristan Agency, Muhammad Zaman Mehsud, was among those murdered. Agricultural, domestic and home-based workers, self-employed and a vast formal labour force could not form or join a union. Ban on student unions remained in place.
Local government elections, which were inordinately delayed, finally took place in 2015 and witnessed large turnouts.
Gender justice in access to education, health, economic opportunities and political empowerment continued to elude women in 2015. A range of legislative changes took place at the provincial level to strengthen rights of women. During 2015, as monitored by HRCP, 939 women became victims of sexual violence, 279 of domestic violence. 143 women were attacked with acid or were set on fire and 833 kidnapped. Despite the volume of cases, the rate of prosecution remained fairly low. 777 women committed or tried to commit suicide.

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