Pakistan rights watchdog urges UN to probe extrajudicial killings
Pakistani security officials escort Rao Anwar (in armored vehicle), a former senior police officer accused of fake police encounters of suspects, to an anti-terrorism court in Karachi, Pakistan, Mar.22, 2018. EPA-EFE/FILE/REHAN KHAN
Islamabad, Apr 15 (efe-epa).- The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Monday urged the United Nations to investigate the alleged extrajudicial killings by the country’s security forces that has caused widespread outrage in the last few months.
The independent rights watchdog in its annual report “State of Human Rights in 2018,” released in Islamabad, also requested the UN for probe into other matters including the situation of human rights activists and the state of religious freedom in the country.
The report said the commission "requests for country visits from UN Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial executions”.
Since 2012, it said, Pakistan has accepted country visit requests by the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers and the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.
But “requests for visits from a number of other special procedures, however, remain pending.”
It said the public conscience in Pakistan “was unremittingly assailed by reports of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, the abuse and murder of children, violence towards women, child labor, religious intolerance, the persecution of minorities, crimes committed in the name of ‘honor’”.
The request from the group comes after four people – three of them from the same family – were killed in a police encounter in January.
After the killing, the Counter Terrorism Department said the four were terrorists and were killed in a shootout amongst themselves. However, eyewitnesses and survivors denied the claim.
In a video posted on the social media, a nine-year-old, who survived the shootout said the police started the fighting without any reason, causing outrage in the country.
Since then, five policemen have been arrested. Five more senior officers of the police and its investigation branch have been suspended.
In early 2018, the killing of 27-year-old Naqeebullah Mehsud – an aspiring model accused of being linked to the Taliban – and three others triggered severe criticism of the authorities.
This led to the arrest of police officer Rao Anwar, who has dramatically fallen from grace after being considered a hero for killing 444 alleged terrorists since 2011, to being charged for Mehsud's alleged extrajudicial killing.
The case led to a nation-wide protest by the young people of Pashtun ethnicity who demanded an end to extrajudicial killings, disappearances and removal of land mines in the areas where they live.
In January, a court dismissed the terrorism charges against Mehsud and his three friends and held that the police encounter in which they were killed was staged.