US State Department highlights Unlawful Detention of Baloch Activists in Pakistan

Story Highlights
  • Internet freedom in Pakistan highlighted
  • Forceful detention of children reported
  • Human rights reports torment over Baloch activists

Washington: The US State Department released it Country Reports on Human Rights for this year. The report highlighted human rights issues in Pakistan, including unlawful or arbitrary killings by the government and forced disappearance of Baloch, Pashtun and Sindhi activists in Pakistan. According to the report, the government lacked accountability and fostered a culture of impunity among perpetrators, whether official or unofficial.

It added, “Terrorist violence and human rights abuses by non-state actors contributed to human rights problems, although to a lesser extent than in previous years, consistent with an overall decline in terrorist activity. Military, police and law enforcement agencies continued to carry out significant campaigns against militant and terrorist groups.”

The report also stated that human rights organizations reported unlawful arrests. It further noted detainment of children to pressurize their parents who are apparently Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun activists. Around 500 children missing and more than 60 disappearing have been reported. 

Highlighting the trauma faced by the press and media, the US State department reported that threats and harassment of journalists, who reported sensitive issues in Pakistan such as civil-military tensions or abuse by security forces, witnessed an increased frequency in 2020. 

“Threats, harassment, and violence against journalists who reported on sensitive issues such as civil-military tensions or abuses by security forces occurred with increasing frequency during the year. Both the military, through the director-general of the Inter-Services Public Relations, and government oversight bodies, such as the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), enforced censorship,” the report said. 

Voicing its opinion over internet Freedom in Pakistan, the report quoted attempts by the government to block or control websites that advocated Baloch independence.

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