Pak's 'lawless' northwest region hub of human rights abuses by Taliban, Army: Report
Millions of people in Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas are locked in perpetual lawlessness where human rights abuses are allegedly being committed by the Taliban as well as the armed forces, according to a new report by Amnesty International.
"Thousands of men and boys have been detained by the armed forces - many have alleged torture, are held in secret places of detention and never seen again. Investigations into such cases are extremely rare and ineffective even when they do take place," the report states.
The report is based on interviews with scores of victims of human rights abuses, witnesses, relatives, lawyers, and representatives of the Pakistani authorities and armed groups in the region, reports The News.
"After a decade of violence, strife and conflict, tribal communities are still being subjected to attack, abduction and intimidation, rather than being protected," said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International's Deputy Asia Pacific Director.
"Our report details some of the horrific violations also by armed groups. But if the current situation of impunity for violations by state agents in the tribal areas is allowed to thrive, it will only hinder and not help this progress," she added.
The report blames the Taliban and other armed sectarian and militant groups for continuing to pose a deadly threat to Pakistani society and for killing thousands in indiscriminate attacks or deliberately targeting civilians over the last decade.
The report says that the Taliban and other armed groups are carrying out brutal, unlawful killings of captured armed forces personnel or suspected spies.
"These execution-style killings violate international humanitarian law and are an abuse of the right to life. Taliban quasi-judicial proceedings also fail to meet even the most basic requirements of fair trial under international human rights standards and international humanitarian law," the report states.
The report says that abuses have increased after the armed forces were granted further sweeping powers of arrest and detention under the Actions (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulations (AACPR) in 2011.
The Pakistan government, according to the report, has made some attempts to improve the human rights situation in the tribal areas but these reforms fall far short of "what is required under the regular criminal justice system of Pakistan".