Terror casualties on decline but…

HUMAN Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), the country’s leading human rights watchdog, released its annual report on Monday painting in detail the human rights situation which prevailed during the year 2017. According to the report, the terror related casualties witnessed a decline over the last year or so which indeed is a satisfying news for the public at large and credit for this definitely goes collectively to the security forces as well as federal and provincial governments which have steadfastly pursued the campaign to completely eradicate the menace of terror from the soil. In addition to the operations, it is time that existing lacunas in the police, prosecution and judicial systems which result in higher acquittals or few convictions in terrorism cases are also immediately addressed so that war on terror could be taken to logical conclusion and people actually feel a sense of security.
On the other hand, the HRCP also presents a bleak and grim picture of human rights situation pointing out that 5,660 crimes were reported against women and religious minorities in the four provinces in the first ten months of 2017. Though the figure shared by the human rights watchdog is not a small one but it is understood that most of such cases also go unreported for various reasons. Therefore we have no doubt in saying that the figure of crimes committed against these marginalised segments of the society will be much higher as reported by the HRCP. The matter of the fact is that we regularly hear about honour killings and persecution of religious minorities. In fact there are laws that provide protection to its citizens from both internal threats and external aggression. But despite all the laws, a considerable part of our society is not safe – it does not feel protected. The question is: Why is violence against women increasing despite the strict legislation? What legal and political steps should be taken by the state to protect citizens irrespective of gender and religious differences? In our view, besides implementation of existing laws, there is a dire need of formulating an education policy, which professes a collective approach and the idea of peaceful co-existence. This change in education system with the aid of media propagation would definitely help the state change the societal goals and thus to make laws which would hardly be challenged or broken.

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