Archeological explorations have revealed impressive ruins of a 4,500-year old urban civilization in Pakistan's Indus River valley. The reason for the collapse
of this highly developed culture is unknown. A major theory is that it was crushed by successive invasions (circa 2000 B.C. and 1400 B.C.) of Aryans, Indo-European warrior tribes from the Caucasus region in what is now Russia. The Aryans were followed in 500 B.C. by Persians and, in 326 B.C., by Alexander the Great. The "Gandhara culture" flourished in much of present-day Pakistan. The Indo-Greek descendants of Alexander the Great saw the most creative period of the Gandhara (Buddhist) culture. For 200 years after the Kushan Dynasty was established in A.D. 50, Taxila (near Islamabad) became a renowned center of learning, philosophy, and art. Pakistan's Islamic history began with the arrival of Muslim traders in the 8th century. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Mogul Empire dominated most of South Asia, including much of present-day Pakistan. British traders arrived in South Asia in 1601, but the British Empire did not consolidate control of the region until the latter half of the 18th century. After 1850, the British or those influenced by them governed virtually the entire subcontinent.
In the early 20th century, South Asian leaders began to agitate for a greater degree of autonomy. Growing concern about Hindu domination of the Indian National Congress Party, the movement's foremost organization, led Muslim leaders to form the all-India Muslim League in 1906. In 1913, the League formally adopted the same objective as the Congress -- self-government for India within the British Empire -- but Congress and the League were unable to agree on a formula that would ensure the protection of Muslim religious, economic, and political rights. The idea of a separate Muslim state emerged in the 1930s. On March 23, 1940, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, formally endorsed the "Lahore Resolution," calling for the creation of an independent state in regions where Muslims constituted a majority. At the end of World War II, the United Kingdom moved with increasing urgency to grant India independence. However, the Congress Party and the Muslim League could not agree on the terms for a constitution or establishing an interim government. In June 1947, the British Government declared that it would bestow full dominion status upon two successor states -- India and Pakistan. Under this arrangement, the various princely states could freely join either India or Pakistan. Consequently, a bifurcated Muslim nation separated by more than 1,600 kilometers (1,000 mi.) of Indian territory emerged when Pakistan became a self-governing dominion within the Commonwealth on August 14, 1947. West Pakistan comprised the contiguous Muslim-majority districts of present-day Pakistan; East Pakistan consisted of a single province, which is now Bangladesh. The Maharaja of Kashmir was reluctant to make a decision on accession to either Pakistan or India. However, armed incursions into the state by tribesman from the NWFP led him to seek military assistance from India. The Maharaja signed accession papers in October 1947 and allowed Indian troops into much of the state. The Government of Pakistan, however, refused to recognize the accession and campaigned to reverse the decision. The status of Kashmir has remained in dispute.
With the death in 1948 of its first head of state, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and the assassination in 1951 of its first Prime Minister, Liaqat Ali Khan, political instability and economic difficulty became prominent features of post-independence Pakistan. On October 7, 1958, President Iskander Mirza, with the support of the army, suspended the 1956 constitution, imposed martial law, and canceled the elections scheduled for January 1959. Twenty days later the military sent Mirza into exile in Britain and Gen. Mohammad Ayub Khan assumed control of a military dictatorship. After Pakistan's loss in the 1965 war against India, Ayub Khan's power declined. Subsequent political and economic grievances inspired agitation movements that compelled his resignation in March 1969. He handed over responsibility for governing to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan, who became President and Chief Martial Law Administrator. General elections held in December 1970 polarized relations between the eastern and western sections of Pakistan. The Awami League, which advocated autonomy for the more populous East Pakistan, swept the East Pakistan seats to gain a majority in Pakistan as a whole. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), founded and led by Ayub Khan's former Foreign Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, won a majority of the seats in West Pakistan, but the country was completely split with neither major party having any support in the other area. Negotiations to form a coalition government broke down and a civil war ensued. India attacked East Pakistan and captured Dhaka in December 1971, when the eastern section declared itself the independent nation of Bangladesh. Yahya Khan then resigned the presidency and handed over leadership of the western part of Pakistan to Bhutto, who became President and the first civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator. Bhutto moved decisively to restore national confidence and pursued an active foreign policy, taking a leading role in Islamic and Third World forums. Although Pakistan did not formally join the non-aligned movement until 1979, the position of the Bhutto government coincided largely with that of the non-aligned nations. Domestically, Bhutto pursued a populist agenda and nationalized major industries and the banking system. In 1973, he promulgated a new constitution accepted by most political elements and relinquished the presidency to become Prime Minister. Although Bhutto continued his populist and socialist rhetoric, he increasingly relied on Pakistan's urban industrialists and rural landlords. Over time the economy stagnated, largely as a result of the dislocation and uncertainty produced by Bhutto's frequently changing economic policies. When Bhutto proclaimed his own victory in the March 1977 national elections, the opposition Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) denounced the results as fraudulent and demanded new elections. Bhutto resisted and later arrested the PNA leadership.
With increasing anti-government unrest, the army grew restive. On July 5, 1977, the military removed Bhutto from power and arrested him, declared martial law, and suspended portions of the 1973 constitution. Chief of Army Staff Gen. Muhammad Zia ul-Haq became Chief Martial Law Administrator and promised to hold new elections within three months. Zia released Bhutto and asserted that he could contest new elections scheduled for October 1977. However, after it became clear that Bhutto's popularity had survived his government, Zia postponed the elections and began criminal investigations of the senior PPP leadership. Subsequently, Bhutto was convicted and sentenced to death for alleged conspiracy to murder a political opponent. Despite international appeals on his behalf, Bhutto was hanged on April 6, 1979. Zia assumed the Presidency and called for elections in November. However, fearful of a PPP victory, Zia banned political activity in October 1979 and postponed national elections. In 1980, most center and left parties, led by the PPP, formed the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD). The MRD demanded Zia's resignation, an end to martial law, new elections, and restoration of the constitution as it existed before Zia's takeover. In early December 1984, President Zia proclaimed a national referendum for December 19 on his "Islamization" program. He implicitly linked approval of "Islamization" with a mandate for his continued presidency. Zia's opponents, led by the MRD, boycotted the elections. When the government claimed a 63% turnout, with more than 90% approving the referendum, many observers questioned these figures. On March 3, 1985, President Zia proclaimed constitutional changes designed to increase the power of the President vis-a-vis the Prime Minister (under the 1973 constitution the President had been mainly a figurehead). Subsequently, Zia nominated Muhammad Khan Junejo, a Muslim League member, as Prime Minister. The new National Assembly unanimously endorsed Junejo as Prime Minister and, in October 1985, passed Zia's proposed eighth amendment to the constitution, legitimizing the actions of the martial law government, exempting them from judicial review (including decisions of the military courts), and enhancing the powers of the President.
On December 30, 1985, President Zia removed martial law and restored the fundamental rights safeguarded under the constitution. He also lifted the Bhutto government's declaration of emergency powers. The first months of 1986 witnessed a rebirth of political activity throughout Pakistan. All parties -- including those continuing to deny the legitimacy of the Zia/Junejo government -- were permitted to organize and hold rallies. In April 1986, PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, returned to Pakistan from exile in Europe. Following the lifting of martial law, the increasing political independence of Prime Minister Junejo and his differences with Zia over Afghan policy resulted in tensions between them. On May 29, 1988, President Zia dismissed the Junejo government and called for November elections. In June, Zia proclaimed the supremacy in Pakistan of Shari'a (Islamic law), by which all civil law had to conform to traditional Muslim edicts. On August 17, a plane carrying President Zia, American Ambassador Arnold Raphel, U.S. Brig. General Herbert Wassom, and 28 Pakistani military officers crashed on a return flight from a military equipment trial near Bahawalpur, killing all of its occupants. In accordance with the constitution, Chairman of the Senate Ghulam Ishaq Khan became Acting President and announced that elections scheduled for November 1988 would take place. After winning 93 of the 205 National Assembly seats contested, the PPP, under the leadership of Benazir Bhutto, formed a coalition government with several smaller parties, including the Muhajir Qaumi Movement (MQM). The Islamic Democratic Alliance (IJI), a multi-party coalition led by the PML and including religious right parties such as the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), won 55 National Assembly seats. Differing interpretations of constitutional authority, debates over the powers of the central government relative to those of the provinces, and the antagonistic relationship between the Bhutto Administration and opposition governments in Punjab and Balochistan seriously impeded social and economic reform programs. Ethnic conflict, primarily in Sindh province, exacerbated these problems. A fragmentation in the governing coalition and the military's reluctance to support an apparently ineffectual and corrupt government were accompanied by a significant deterioration in law and order. In August 1990, President Khan, citing his powers under the eighth amendment to the constitution, dismissed the Bhutto government and dissolved the national and provincial assemblies. New elections, held in October of 1990, confirmed the political ascendancy of the IJI. In addition to a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, the alliance acquired control of all four provincial parliaments and enjoyed the support of the military and of President Khan. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, as leader of the PML, the most prominent Party in the IJI, was elected Prime Minister by the National Assembly.
Sharif emerged as the most secure and powerful Pakistani Prime Minister since the mid-1970s. Under his rule, the IJI achieved several important political victories. The implementation of Sharif's economic reform program, involving privatization, deregulation, and encouragement of private sector economic growth, greatly improved Pakistan's economic performance and business climate. The passage into law in May 1991 of a Shari'a bill, providing for widespread Islamization, legitimized the IJI government among much of Pakistani society. After PML President Junejo's death in March 1993, Sharif loyalists unilaterally nominated him as the next party leader. Consequently, the PML divided into the PML Nawaz (PML/N) group, loyal to the Prime Minister, and the PML Junejo group (PML/J), supportive of Hamid Nasir Chatta, the President of the PML/J group. However, Nawaz Sharif was not able to reconcile the different objectives of the IJI's constituent parties. The largest religious party, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), abandoned the alliance because of its perception of PML hegemony. The regime was weakened further by the military's suppression of the MQM, which had entered into a coalition with the IJI to contain PPP influence, and allegations of corruption directed at Nawaz Sharif. In April 1993, President Khan, citing "maladministration, corruption, and nepotism" and espousal of political violence, dismissed the Sharif government, but the following month the Pakistan Supreme Court reinstated the National Assembly and the Nawaz Sharif government. Continued tensions between Sharif and Khan resulted in governmental gridlock and the Chief of Army Staff brokered an arrangement under which both the President and the Prime Minister resigned their offices in July 1993. An interim government, headed by Moeen Qureshi, a former World Bank Vice President, took office with a mandate to hold national and provincial parliamentary elections in October. Despite its brief term, the Qureshi government adopted political, economic, and social reforms that generated considerable domestic support and foreign admiration. In the October 1993 elections, the PPP won a plurality of seats in the National Assembly and Benazir Bhutto was asked to form a government. However, because it did not acquire a majority in the National Assembly, the PPP's control of the government depended upon the continued support of numerous independent parties, particularly the PML/J. The unfavorable circumstances surrounding PPP rule -- the imperative of preserving a coalition government, the formidable opposition of Nawaz Sharif's PML/N movement, and the insecure provincial administrations -- presented significant difficulties for the government of Prime Minister Bhutto. However, the election of Prime Minister Bhutto's close associate, Farooq Leghari, as President in November 1993 gave her a stronger power base.
In November 1996, President Leghari dismissed the Bhutto government, charging it with corruption, mismanagement of the economy, and implication in extra-judicial killings in Karachi. Elections in February 1997 resulted in an overwhelming victory for the PML/Nawaz, and President Leghari called upon Nawaz Sharif to form a government. In March 1997, with the unanimous support of the National Assembly, Sharif amended the constitution, stripping the President of the power to dismiss the government and making his power to appoint military service chiefs and provincial governors contingent on the "advice" of the Prime Minister. Another amendment prohibited elected members from "floor crossing" or voting against party lines. The Sharif government engaged in a protracted dispute with the judiciary, culminating in the storming of the Supreme Court by ruling party loyalists and the engineered dismissal of the Chief Justice and the resignation of President Leghari in December 1997. The new President elected by Parliament, Rafiq Tarar, was a close associate of the Prime Minister. A one-sided accountability campaign was used to target opposition politicians and critics of the regime. Similarly, the government moved to restrict press criticism and ordered the arrest and beating of prominent journalists. As domestic criticism of Sharif's administration intensified, Sharif attempted to replace Chief of Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf on October 12, 1999, with a family loyalist, Director General ISI Lt. Gen. Ziauddin. Although General Musharraf was out of the country at the time, the Army moved quickly to depose Sharif. On October 14, 1999, General Musharraf declared a state of emergency and issued the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), which suspended the federal and provincial parliaments, held the constitution in abeyance, and designated Musharraf as Chief Executive. While delivering an ambitious seven-point reform agenda, Musharraf has not yet provided a timeline for a return to civilian, democratic rule, although local elections are anticipated at the end of calendar year 2000.
Musharraf has appointed a National Security Council, with mixed military/civilian appointees, a civilian Cabinet, and a National Reconstruction Bureau (think tank) to formulate structural reforms. A National Accountability Bureau (NAB), headed by an active duty military officer, is prosecuting those accused of willful default on bank loans and corrupt practices, whose conviction can result in disqualification from political office for twenty-one years. The NAB Ordinance has attracted criticism for holding the accused without charge and, in some instances, access to legal counsel. While military trial courts were not established, on January 26, 2000, the government stipulated that Supreme, High, and Shari'a Court justices should swear allegiance to the Provisional Constitutional Order and the Chief Executive. Approximately 85 percent of justices acquiesced, but a handful of justices were not invited to take the oath and were forcibly retired. Political parties have not been banned, but a couple of dozen ruling party members remain detained, with Sharif and five colleagues facing charges of attempted hijacking. In October 1999, the elected civilian Government of former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif was overthrown in a bloodless coup led by Army Chief of Staff General Pervez Musharraf. In consultation with senior military commanders, General Musharraf designated himself Chief Executive, and suspended the Constitution, the Parliament, and the national and provincial assemblies. The office of the President, which mainly is ceremonial, was retained. In 1999 General Musharraf appointed an advisory National Security Council, which included military and civilian advisers, a civilian cabinet, and new governors to all four provinces. The government bureaucracy continued to function; however, at all levels the functioning of the Government after the coup was "monitored" by military commanders. On June 20, General Musharraf was sworn in as the country's President, after the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) was amended (the PCO functions in place of the country's suspended Constitution). In 2000 the Supreme Court ruled that the Musharraf Government was constitutional and imposed a 3-year deadline--starting from October 12, 1999--to complete a transition to democratic, civilian rule. Between December 31, 2000, and August 2, local elections were held in five phases on a nonparty basis; on August 14, the Government announced that elections on the national and provincial level are scheduled to take place between October 1 and 11, 2002. The Government subsequently confirmed that political parties are to be permitted to participate. However, President Musharraf announced on several occasions that he intends to remain in office after the elections are held. The constitutional mechanism allowing Musharraf to do so remains unclear. The Government has aimed to empower women by increasing women's participation in government, reserving one-third of the seats on local governing bodies for women. Electoral reforms prepared during the year 2001 included the elimination of the separate electorates system for religious minorities and the tripling of National Assembly seats reserved for women. Corruption and inefficiency remained acute, despite reforms initiated by the Musharraf government to reduce corruption; however, these reforms have had some effect on officials in higher levels government. The suspended Constitution provided for an independent judiciary; however, the judiciary was subject to executive branch and other outside influences, and inadequate funding, inefficiency, and corruption were problems. The Supreme Court demonstrated a limited degree of independence; however, the overall credibility of the judiciary remained low, and President Musharraf has taken steps to control the judiciary and to remove his Government from judicial oversight. During the year 2001, the Government undertook a donor-funded program to reform the lower levels of the judiciary; minor improvements were evident by year's end 2001.
Internal threats to Pakistan come from several sources. The greatest danger to the democratic constitutional structure is posed by the recurrent intervention in the government of the Pakistani military and, since the Zia years, by the president who, under the controversial Eighth Amendment to the constitution, is empowered to arbitrarily dismiss the prime minister and National Assembly as well as the provisional governors. It could be argued that the military has only intervened when the political situation has deteriorated hopelessly and that the threat is in fact from much more deepseated problems.
Another danger is the problem of ethnic unrest. Punjab, with almost 60 percent of the population, dominates almost all aspects of national life. This fact is resented by smaller ethnic groups, all of whom have at one time been actively dissident.
For the most part, with the exception of Sindh, the situation was quiet in the early 1990s. Sparsely settled Balochistan required an extensive pacification campaign by the army from 1973 to 1977, and both Afghan and Soviet involvement was alleged. After the war in Afghanistan, however, there was no source of outside support and no significant violence. The potential for unrest remains, however, because Baloch feel threatened by the growing numbers of non-Baloch moving into the province. The North-West Frontier Province has long been restive and subject to Kabul's blandishments on the basis of shared Pakhtun identity, but Afghanistan no longer offers a feasible alternative, and the Afghan Pakhtun tribal groups have participated rather well in Pakistan's modest prosperity. Some Kashmiris in Pakistani-held Azad (Free) Kashmir probably envision a future independent of Pakistan, but their attentions have been absorbed by the problems of Indian-held Kashmir.
In the early 1990s, the principal challenge in civil unrest came from Sindh, Pakistan's second most populous province, where the indigenous population was under increasing pressure from non-Sindhis who had migrated there. Based on their ethnic identity, Sindhis have formed several political movements, notably the Jaye Sindh, which the government perceived as threatening to Pakistan's unity. Islamabad also claimed that these groups were receiving help from India in their quest to establish a "Sindhudesh," or independent homeland for Sindhis. The muhajir (immigrants from India and their descendants) minority in Sindh, which dominated Karachi and the other cities, have been in sharp conflict with the Sindhis and other ethnic groups. Further, large numbers of kidnapping and bombings in Sindh--the virtual breakdown of law and order--necessitated the imposition of army rule in 1992.
An additional source of unrest has been the rampant gun culture and spread of narcotics-based corruption, particularly since the war in Afghanistan. Pakistanis have always been well armed, but the availability of cheap, modern weapons has meant that criminals and private citizens have significant firepower at their disposal. Because most violence is criminal or anomic, it does not pose a direct threat to the state, but should the crisis of governability in Sindh spread more broadly, it could place unbearable stress on the nation.
In the early 1990s, foreign-sponsored subversion in Pakistan appeared to be insignificant. The Afghans were too preoccupied with their own concerns to agitate along the frontier, and the Soviet Union, which had long had adversarial relations with Pakistan, had fragmented into a number of self-absorbed states occupied by the struggle for survival in a new postcommunist world. India had ties to dissident groups in Sindh and perhaps elsewhere; these, however, were probably maintained in order to remind Pakistan that its involvement with Punjabi Sikh and Kashmiri Muslim insurgents in India was not cost-free. In its more youthfully exuberant days, the Islamic regime in Iran was involved in subversive support of Shia elements in Pakistan, but such activity was no longer a significant factor.
During the Zia period, a group called Al-Zulfiqar, operating from Damascus and Kabul and seeking to destabilize the government through terrorist actions hijacked, an aircraft in 1981. Murtaza Bhutto, a son of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was involved, and AlZulfiqar claimed to have some relationship to the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), which was totally denied by the PPP. Although authorities have reported continued activity by AlZulfiqar , its existence is shadowy at best, and with the return of democratic rule, its activities have been insignificant. There are no other known, organized subversive groups that threaten the government in any serious way.
Pakistan's attitude toward terrorism is somewhat more ambivalent than that of most other countries. On the one hand, Al-Zulfiqar demonstrated to Pakistan the importance of international cooperation in combatting international terrorism as manifested in airplane hijackings and bombings. On the other hand, however, Pakistan has had no qualms about supporting insurgents in India, some of whom were engaged in activities that can only be described as terrorist.
In January 1993, the United States warned Pakistan that it was under "active continuing review" for possible inclusion on the Department of State list of terrorist countries for its alleged support of terrorist activities in the Indian states of Punjab and Kashmir. By July, however, the United States had withdrawn its threat, having determined that Pakistan had implemented "a policy for ending official support for terrorism in India."
As Pakistan approached the end of its first half-century of existence, its security problems had changed yet were in many ways the same. The global setting had altered radically, but the enmity with India remained a constant, although it had gained in predictability and, probably, stability. Subversion was still a potential rather than an active threat. Problems of law and order were more acute, but the means of dealing with them had not changed greatly. Rather, Pakistan's security problems were rooted in its own polity and society. Repeated political collapse, corruption, inability to define its ethnic and religious identities, and failure to meet the needs of the people--these are challenges that could eviscerate a state even with the most capable military machine and efficient security apparatus. Pakistan, as it considers its continuing security dilemma and the international image it wishes to project, must energetically confront and deal with these harsh realities.
Pakistan is a poor country with great extremes in the distribution of wealth; its population is approximately 140 million. Education, especially for women, is poor; only 33 percent of the population are judged literate, even using a very low standard. Cotton, textiles and apparel, rice, and leather products are the principal exports. The economy includes both state-run and private industries and financial institutions. The suspended Constitution provided for the right of private businesses to operate freely in most sectors of the economy and there continued to be a strong private sector. The per capita annual income is approximately $475 (PRs 30,000). During the year 2001, the Government pursued several major economic reforms designed to alleviate poverty. In September, the Government successfully completed a 10-month Standby Agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) aimed at stabilizing the economy and restoring fiscal discipline through improvements in governance. The Government also completed work on a poverty reduction strategy report that received joint IMF-World Bank approval in December. The report was the result of an 18-month consultative process between the Government, nongovernmental organizations (NGO's), civic groups, the public, and international donors that was aimed at building a framework for eliminating poverty. On the basis of the Government's commitment to eliminate poverty, on December 12 the IMF approved a $1.3 billion, 3-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility program for the country that is to help the Government to complete its economic reform program. With the assistance of international donors, the Government increased funding commitments to health, education, and rural job creation programs.
About 97 percent of all Pakistanis are Muslims. Official documentation states that Sunni Muslims constitute 77 percent of the population and that adherents of Shia Islam make up an additional 20 percent. Christians, Hindus, and members of other religions each account for about 1 percent of the population.
There are two major sects, the Sunnis and the Shia, in Islam. They are differentiated by Sunni acceptance of the temporal authority of the Rashudin Caliphate (Abu Bakr, Omar, Usman, and Ali) after the death of the Prophet and the Shia acceptance solely of Ali, the Prophet's cousin and husband of his daughter, Fatima, and his descendants. Over time, the Sunni sect divided into four major schools of jurisprudence; of these, the Hanafi school is predominant in Pakistan. The Shia sect split over the matter of succession, resulting in two major groups: the majority Twelve Imam Shia believe that there are twelve rightful imams, Ali and his eleven direct descendants. A second Shia group, the numerically smaller Ismaili community, known also as Seveners, follows a line of imams that originally challenged the Seventh Imam and supported a younger brother, Ismail. The Ismaili line of leaders has been continuous down to the present day. The current leader, Sadr ad Din Agha Khan, who is active in international humanitarian efforts, is a direct descendant of Ali.
From the outset, politics and religion have been intertwined both conceptually and practically in Islam. Because the Prophet established a government in Medina, precedents of governance and taxation exist. Through the history of Islam, from the Ummayyad (661-750) and Abbasid empires (750-1258) to the Mughals (1526- 1858) and the Ottomans (1300-1923), religion and statehood have been treated as one. Indeed, one of the beliefs of Islam is that the purpose of the state is to provide an environment where Muslims can properly practice their religion. If a leader fails in this, the people have a right to depose him.
In 1977 the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto outlawed alcohol and changed the "day off" from Sunday to Friday, but no substantive Islamic reform program was implemented prior to General Zia's Islamization program. Starting in February 1979, new penal measures based on Islamic principles of justice went into effect. These carried considerably greater implications for women than for men. A welfare and taxation system based on zakat and a profit-and-loss banking system were also established in accordance with Islamic prohibitions against usury.
Zia's Islamization program was pursued within a rather complicated ideological framework. His stance was in contrast of the popular culture, in which most people are "personally" very religious but not "publicly" religious. An unexpected outcome was that by relying on a policy grounded in Islam, the state fomented factionalism: by legislating what is Islamic and what is not, Islam itself could no longer provide unity because it was then being defined to exclude previously included groups. Disputes between Sunnis and Shia, ethnic disturbances in Karachi between Pakhtuns and muhajirs, increased animosity toward Ahmadiyyas, and the revival of Punjab-Sindh tensions--can all be traced to the loss of Islam as a common vocabulary of public morality. More profoundly, in a move that reached into every home, the state had attempted to dictate a specific ideal image of women in Islamic society, an ideal that was largely antithetical to that existing in popular sentiment and in everyday life.
A major component in the Islamization program, the Shariat Bill, was passed in May 1991. This bill required that all laws in the country conform with Islam. Women's groups in particular were concerned that the reforms in the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance of 1961 could be jeopardized by the new bill.
A controversial law, Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, drew a great deal of attention from critics associated with the Human Rights Commission in 1993-94. Introduced in 1986 by Zia, the law, referred to as "the blasphemy trap," states that "whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Prophet Muhammad shall be punished with death or imprisoned for life and shall be liable to fine." The law extends to Muslims and nonMuslims alike, but it has been indiscriminately used against members of minorities. According to Amnesty International, several dozen people had been charged under Pakistan's blasphemy laws by early 1994. In all cases, these charges appear to have been arbitrarily brought and to have been based on an individual's minority religious beliefs or on malicious accusations. The current government of Benazir Bhutto, sensitive to Pakistan's image in the world community, has attempted to approve changes in the blasphemy law in order to "curb abuses of the law"--especially those involving false accusations and fabricated cases. Critics claim, however, that Benazir, constantly under attack for being too liberal by the religious right, has been overly cautious and slow to introduce amendments to the law.
Pakistan has an extensive penal code of some 511 articles, based on the Indian Penal Code of 1860, extensively amended during both the preindependence and the postindependence eras, and an equally extensive Code of Criminal Procedure. Numerous other laws relating to criminal behavior have also been enacted. Much of Pakistan's code deals with crimes against persons and properties--including the crime of dacoity (robbery by armed gangs) and the misappropriation of property.
Pakistani courts can, and do impose the death sentence, as well as imprisonment, forfeiture of property, and fines. Imprisonment is either "rigorous"--the equivalent of hard labor for up to fourteen years--or "simple"--confinement without hard labor. Another form is "banishment," which involves serving in a maximum security prison for periods of seven years to life. In February 1979, Zia ul-Haq issued new laws that punished rape, adultery, and the "carnal knowledge of a virgin" by stoning; first time theft by amputation of the right hand; and consumption of alcohol by eighty lashes. Stoning and amputation, it should be noted, had not been carried out as of early 1994--at least not outside of the tribal area where tribal custom, rather than the Pakistani penal code, is the law of the land.
Article 45 of the constitution bestows on the president the right to grant a pardon or to remit, suspend, or commute any sentence passed by any court. There are also legal provisions for parole.
In principle, articles 9 through 13 of the constitution and provisions of the codes guarantee most of the same protections that are found in British and United States law. These rights include, for example, the right to bail and to counsel, the right of habeas corpus, the right of cross-examination, the right of representation, the right of being informed of charges, the right of appeal, and the right of the prevention of double jeopardy.
The code contains copious provisions for punishment of crimes against the state or against public tranquillity. These crimes extend to conspiracy against the government, incitement of hatred, contempt or disaffection toward a lawfully constituted authority, unlawful assembly, and public disturbances. Punishments range from terms of imprisonment to life in prison or death.
The British colonial constitutional provisions and penal codes gave the authorities ample scope for overriding regular legal procedures in the case of persons suspected of political agitation or threats to the public order. These provisions and codes were perpetuated and strengthened in Pakistan. The Security of Pakistan Act empowers authorities to move against any person "acting in a manner prejudicial to the defence, external affairs and security of Pakistan or the maintenance of public order." Under the act, persons may be detained, their business activities, employment, or movements may be restricted, and they may be required to report regularly to a magistrate.
Article 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure allows the government to act preventively if it perceives the danger of public disorder. A magistrate may prohibit meetings of five or more persons, forbid the carrying of firearms, and impose "preventive detention" on anybody thought likely to disturb public order. Although a detainee is entitled to be informed of the reason for his detention and to a fair review of the case, these restrictions are in practice easy to circumvent, and the constitution specifically denies such detainees procedural guarantees. The government, especially in periods of martial law, has used Section 144 frequently when feeling its position could be threatened by demonstrations and public opposition to its policies; Section 144's provisions have also been used, however, to contain disorder that is not political.
In 1991 Pakistan adopted the Terrorist Affected Areas (Special Courts) Ordinance, which extends the authority of Speedy Trial Courts and gives the police expanded powers to use weapons. The Maintenance of Public Order Act allows detention without trial for three months, extendable to twelve months in some cases. This act has been used to silence political opponents of the government.
Although persons accused of crimes are entitled to bail, there have been a number of restrictions placed on this right in cases involving alleged threats to national security. In late 1992, the law requiring automatic bail for anyone in jail for two years who had not yet been convicted was rescinded, and the high courts were prohibited from hearing bail applications from persons facing trial in the special courts set up in 1975 to try terrorists. A Pakistani jurist commented: "The government can now arrest anyone, call him a terrorist, and keep him in prison indefinitely."
INCIDENCE OF CRIME
Part of the responsibility for the deterioration of police performance has been a widespread increase in the amount of crime. New kinds of crime have developed--especially related to illegal drugs--and criminals have substantially greater firepower. Since the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan has been awash with guns. Kalashnikov automatic weapons have become ubiquitous and may be rented in Karachi on an hourly basis. In Karachi criminal violence, especially kidnapping for ransom and, in effect, open warfare among political groups, rendered the city so dangerous that in May 1992 the military had to be called in to launch Operation Cleanup to apprehend criminals and terrorists and to seize unauthorized weapons. Criminality extends into all levels of society. Known criminals have ties to political figures and are able to frustrate legitimate attempts to enforce law and order. In early 1994, the army was still activity involved in law enforcement in Sindh.
Crime statistics are reported but cannot be considered reliable. Throughout the 1980s, there appeared to be an incremental increase in the number of crimes reported each year. According to the Pakistan Statistical Yearbook, 1991, from 8,000 to 20,000 murders or attempted murders, 3,500 to 6,000 kidnappings or abductions, 100 to 600 robberies, and 120,000 to 250,000 other crimes were reported annually between 1981 and 1990.
The crime rate in Pakistan is low compared to industrialized countries. An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Pakistan. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes. Pakistan will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate). According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in 2000 was 6.86 per 100,000 population for Pakistan, 1.10 for Japan, and 5.51 for USA. For rape, the rate in 2000 was 1.69 for Pakistan, compared with 1.78 for Japan and 32.05 for USA. For robbery, the rate in 2000 was 6.49 for Pakistan, 4.08 for Japan, and 144.92 for USA. For aggravated assault, the rate in 2000 was 4.1 for Pakistan, 23.78 for Japan, and 323.62 for USA. For burglary, the rate in 2000 was 11.1 for Pakistan, 233.60 for Japan, and 728.42 for USA. The rate of larceny for 2000 was 15.53 for Pakistan, 1401.26 for Japan, and 2475.27 for USA. The rate for motor vehicle theft in 2000 was 2.3 for Pakistan, compared with 44.28 for Japan and 414.17 for USA. The rate for all index offenses combined was 48.07 for Pakistan, compared with 1709.88 for Japan and 4123.97 for USA. As pointed out above, many of these data are misleading in terms of the extent of crimes such as murder, assault, and rape, as will be indicated by the narrative below.
TRENDS IN CRIME
Between 1998 and 2000, according to INTERPOL data, the rate of murder decreased from 7.85 to 6.86 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 12.6%. The rate for rape decreased from 1.85 to 1.69, a decrease of 8.6%. (Note that data for 1998 were missing for rape, and data for sex offenses - including rape - were substituted.) The rate of robbery increased from 5.75 to 6.49, an increase of 12.9%. The rate for aggravated assault decreased from 21.24 to 4.1, a decrease of 80.7%. The rate for burglary increased from 10.55 to 11.1, an increase of 5.2%. The rate of larceny decreased from 23.21 to 15.53, a decrease of 33.1%. The rate of motor vehicle theft decreased from 11.44 to 2.3, a decrease of 79.95. The rate of total index offenses decreased from 81.89 to 48.07, a decrease of 41.3%.
The legal system of Pakistan is based on English common law with provisions to accommodate Pakistan's status as an Islamic state. Pakistan has provided a unique setting for experiments in synthesizing Islamic principles with the needs of a modern state. Although Pakistan's independence movement was articulated in Western terminology and centered on the right of national selfdetermination , it was also rooted in the Islamic concept of society and of what constitutes legitimate political authority for a Muslim. The basis of the ideal Muslim polity is the sharia, the sacred law of Islam as embodied in the Quran. Efforts to apply Quranic law in a modern political context have had a direct impact on Pakistan's political history and have also complicated the nation's constitutional evolution.
The process of Islamization that has taken place in Pakistan, especially in the Zia years, has raised considerable concern about criminal law. In February 1979, President Zia promulgated a new legal code for Pakistan based on Islamic law and established the Federal Shariat Court to hear appeals arising from the new code. The Federal Shariat Court also has extensive other powers. It lies within the discretion of the court of first instance to decide whether to try a case under civil or sharia law. If the latter, then the appeals process goes to the Federal Shariat Court, rather than to the high courts.
Sharia law was not intended to replace the criminal code but to bring specific parts of it into accordance with the Quran and the sharia. Its most notable provisions are contained in the hudood (sing., hadd) ordinances promulgated in 1979. The first ordinance deals with offenses against property, the second with zina (adultery) and zina-bil-jabr (rape), the third with qazf (false accusation of zina), and the fourth with prohibition of alcoholic beverages. Under the ordinances, there are two levels of cases: hudood cases, which have particularly strict Islamic evidentiary requirements and call for specific "Islamic" punishments; and tazir cases, where the evidence requirements are less strict and the punishments less draconian.
A later decision by the Federal Shariat Court has made defiling the name of the Prophet Muhammad punishable by a mandatory death penalty. This decision has raised concerns in Pakistan's small Christian community and especially among the badly persecuted Ahmadiyya religious minority. Orthodox Pakistani Muslims consider Ahmadiyyas heretical, and the group has been prohibited from asserting any claim to being Muslim--even the use of everyday Islamic greetings.
As a hadd crime, rape is punishable by hanging; adultery and fornication, as well as qazf, by stoning to death. Crimes against property of substantial value call for amputation of hands or feet. Public drunkenness and, in the case of Muslims, any consumption of alcohol, is punishable by flogging.
For the most part, Islamic punishments have not been carried out, the sole exception being flogging, which has been imposed primarily for tazir crimes, as well as for narcoticsrelated crimes. In addition, alleged political crimes also resulted in flogging during the last period of martial law (1977- 85). Hudood sentences of amputation have been passed but either have been reversed on appeal or have not been carried out. Occasional stonings for adultery have always taken place in tribal and other rural areas, but no sentence of stoning under the 1979 hudood laws has been carried out.
The Federal Shariat Court has been involved mainly with noncriminal matters, aside from the review of hudood convictions, which in most cases the Federal Shariat Court has reversed. In other matters, such as provision of equal treatment under the law and requirement for a standard of evidence, its application of Islamic principles has even served as a liberalizing factor, including in the military justice system. Overall, as of early 1994 Islamic legal intrusions have had only a limited effect on criminal law, although the potential for growth is there, especially under the more activist leadership that the Federal Shariat Court has shown since 1990.
Among the more notable peculiarities of the new enactments is the issue of rape (zina-bil-jabr). On the one hand, the crime is rarely proven because four adult Muslim males of good reputation must appear as witness to the act. If the charge fails, then the woman who has brought it can be punished for false accusation (qazf) or, more commonly, for adultery (zina) herself because through her charge she has admitted an illicit sexual act. In 1991 two-thirds (some 2,000) of the women imprisoned in Pakistan were being held on such charges. This treatment, of course, has a very chilling effect on women who are raped.
Laws passed in the 1980s give the victim of a murder or other violence, or the victim's heirs, the right to inflict an equivalent harm. At the same time, however, there is a legal alternative in payment of blood money, which enables wealthy Pakistanis to avoid punishment by paying money. Under the law, only half of the amount must be paid if the victim is female.
In 1984 parts of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 were changed with much fanfare to meet Islamic criteria, but there was little substantial change. Demands by Islamic enthusiasts that the testimony of two women be considered the equivalent of that of one man were met only symbolically. The hudood ordinances, however, do contain evidential provisions that discriminate sharply against women.
In May 1991, the National Assembly passed the Shariat Bill, intended to bring the entire justice system into accord with Islamic norms. These norms had not yet been established, and, as of early 1994, no serious attempt had been made to draft and pass the laws and constitutional amendments that would be required. Many observers believed that the act was meant as an empty sop to Islamist extremists, but it seemed likely that there would be constant pressure to implement the act more fully.
Before independence, the security forces of British India were primarily concerned with the maintenance of law and order but were also called on to perform duties in support of the political interests of the government. The duties of the police officer in a formal sense were those of police the world over: executing orders and warrants; collecting and communicating upward intelligence concerning public order; preventing crime; and detecting, apprehending, and arresting criminals. These duties were specified in Article 23 of the Indian Police Act of 1861, which (together with revisions dating from 1888 and the Police Rules of 1934), is still the basic document for police activity in Pakistan.
The overall organization of the police forces remained much the same after partition. Except for centrally administered territories and tribal territories in the north and northwest, basic law and order responsibilities have been carried out by the four provincial governments. The central government has controlled a series of specialized police agencies, including the Federal Investigative Agency, railroad and airport police forces, an anticorruption task force, and various paramilitary organizations such as the Rangers, constabulary forces, and the Frontier Corps. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto established the Federal Security Force and gave it wide-ranging powers, but the force was abolished when the military regime of Zia ul-Haq seized power in 1977.
Under the constitution, criminal law and procedure are listed as subjects that are the concurrent responsibility of the central and provincial governments. The federal government, however, has extensive power to assert its primacy, especially in any matter relating to national security. The police forces of the four provinces are independent, and there is no nationwide integration; nevertheless, the federal minister of the interior provides overall supervision.
Senior positions in the police are filled from the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP). The Police Service of Pakistan is not an operational body; rather, it is a career service similar to the Civil Service of Pakistan, from which officers are assigned to the provincial services or, on rotation, to central government agencies where their skills are needed. Recruitment to the PSP is through an annual national examination that is common for several centrally recruited services, including the civil service and the foreign and the customs services. Because the PSP is a relatively well-paid and powerful service, it attracts students who rank highest in the selection process. Successful candidates receive two years of training at the Police Training College in Sihala, near Islamabad, and are then assigned to duty with one of the provincial forces.
The PSP is overwhelmingly male in composition, but the October 1993 return of Benazir Bhutto to power may introduce some bold changes. In January 1994, Benazir announced the opening of Pakistan's first all-female police station. About fifty female officers of the Rawalapindi police station will supplement Punjab's provincial police force of 85,000 men. As part of her campaign for equal rights for women, Benazir also promised to place women in 10 percent of top police posts, to appoint women to the Supreme Court, and to establish special courts for cases against women.
The senior officer ranks in the police service are the inspector general, who heads a provincial police force, and a deputy inspector general, who directs the work of a division or "range," which coordinates police work within various parts of a province. There are also assistant inspectors general in each province. The principal focus of police activity is at the district level, which is headed by a superintendent, and the subdistrict level, usually under the direction of an assistant or deputy superintendent. The latter is not necessarily drawn from the Police Service of Pakistan. At each level, police officials report to the political or civil service heads of the respective administrative level; the inspectors general, however, have direct links to the federal Ministry of Interior. Larger municipalities have their own police forces, but these are responsible to the provincial structure of police authority.
The great majority of police personnel are assigned to subdistricts and police stations and are not at the officer level. Their ranks are inspector, sergeant, subinspector, assistant subinspector, head constable, and constable. As one descends the rank hierarchy, education levels, skills, and motivation decrease precipitously--even dramatically at the lower levels. Although constables are supposed to have a modest amount of education, they are paid only the wages of an unskilled laborer (about US$40 per month), and a head constable--the height of aspiration for many policemen--is paid only at the level of a semiskilled worker.
Police in Pakistan are generally unarmed. For crowd control, police are trained to use a lathi, a five-foot wooden staff that may be weighted. Lathi are used either to hold crowds back or as clubs. Tear gas and firearms are available, and police formations hunting down armed bands of robbers, or dacoits, have adequate firepower available.
Independence had little impact on the police forces, which, like the military, simply switched their allegiance from the British to a new, indigenous regime. The great mass of police work remained the same, and the political role of the police in supporting the British soon found a parallel in independent Pakistan, as the regime was itself beset by political disturbances and extended the definition of crime to include such antistate activities as terrorism and subversion. Even though the forces of law and order had become the instruments of an indigenous government, any significant advantages that had accrued from the changeover have largely been dissipated.
Public attitudes toward the police, historically regarded with distrust and fear, have not changed; indeed, the police are held in low esteem. In British times, the Indian Police Service-- the predecessor of the PSP--was nearly incorruptible and was fairly immune from political pressure that did not emanate from London. Since independence, however, politicization of the police has become increasingly pervasive. Corruption in the lower ranks has proliferated and permeated the PSP; in the frequent periods when Pakistan was under oppressive rule, the police were as repressive as they were in British times.
Police tactics in British India were never gentle, but in contemporary Pakistan, according to the Herald, a magazine published in Karachi, "The police have institutionalized torture to a point where it is viewed as the primary method of crime detention. Police torture has become so commonplace that it has slowly lost the capacity to shock and disgust." These charges were echoed by Amnesty International's especially bleak appraisal of Pakistan's human rights situation in its June 1992 "International News Release" report. The report, reflecting the law and order breakdown in Sindh and the government's reaction to it, stated that government opponents often are harassed, placed under arrest, and detained for unspecified periods of time. Scores of prisoners of conscience have been held for their political activities or religious beliefs. The practice of repeatedly bringing false charges against members of the political opposition is a widely used tactic in Pakistani politics and has been used to arrest thousands of opposition party activists. According to the United States State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, there were no significant efforts in 1992 or 1993 to reform either the police or the judicial system, and authorities continued to be lax in their prosecution of abuses in these areas. Pakistani and international human rights organizations have demanded that steps be taken to reverse the trend by bringing torturers to justice and by taking such procedural steps as reducing the time prisoners spend in places of first arrest, where most torture takes place.
Torture is a particularly acute problem in cases in which the suspect is thought to have committed a political crime, but it is not uncommon in serious criminal cases. General police brutality in handling all suspects is routine. Police frequently act without warrants or other proper authorization, and individuals disappear into the criminal justice process for weeks before they can be found and, through writs of habeas corpus, be brought into regular judicial channels. Rape of prisoners, both male and female, is common. Prisoners often die in detention but are reported as killed in the course of armed encounters. Police also are alleged to extort money from families of prisoners under threat of ill treatment. The performance of the police and their failure to act against political groups that run their own torture machinery are especially bad in Sindh, but there is no Pakistani who looks on an encounter with the police with equanimity.
Amnesty International and other human rights groups welcomed the establishment in 1993 of a Human Rights Commission by the interim government of Moeen Qureshi and recommended to his successor, Benazir Bhutto, that the new government investigate past torture cases and enforce safeguards against the use of torture. Despite continued trouble in Sindh, observers have discerned what appears to be a genuine interest by the current government in addressing some of the more egregious human rights problems endemic in Pakistan today.
Today, the police have primary internal security responsibilities, although paramilitary forces, such as the Rangers and the Frontier Constabulary, provide support in areas where law and order problems are acute, such as Karachi and the frontier areas. Provincial governments control the police and the paramilitary forces when they are assisting in law and order operations. In 2000 the Government announced a devolution plan that included some increase in local political control of the police; the plan was implemented on August 14 but no significant improvements were reported by year's end 2001. During some religious holidays, the regular army is deployed in sensitive areas to help maintain public order. After the coup, the army played a role in enforcing exit control restrictions at airports and border crossings. Members of the police committed numerous serious human rights abuses.
In year 2001, police committed numerous extrajudicial killings; however, the total number of such killings has declined in recent years. In Karachi there were fewer killings between rival political factions during the year 2001; however, there was an increase in violence and killings between rival religious sects. Police abused and raped citizens. While the officers responsible for such abuses sometimes were transferred or suspended for their actions, no officer has been convicted and very few have been arrested. The Government conducted a series of trainings for police officers in provincial capitals; in these trainings, human rights abuses committed by law enforcement officials were acknowledged openly. In Karachi there were signs of progress in redressing police excesses; however, in general police continued to commit serious abuses with impunity.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) noted that there were 169 extrajudicial killings during the year 2001, a decrease from the 271 extrajudicial killings reported in 2000. The police and were responsible for the deaths of a number of individuals associated with political or terrorist groups during the year 2001. The extrajudicial killing of criminal suspects, often while in police custody or in staged encounters in which police shoot and kill suspects, is common. Police officials generally insist that these deaths occur during attempts to escape or to resist arrest; family members and the press insist that many of these deaths are staged. Police personnel have been known to kill suspected criminals to prevent them from implicating police in crimes during court proceedings. After an attempt was made on then-Prime Minister Sharif's life in January 1999, as many as 40 Sunni Muslims associated with the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, the group thought to be responsible for the attack, may have been killed in police encounters. In addition to killing suspects to prevent them from implicating the police in court, police reportedly killed suspected criminals to circumvent or overcome insufficient evidence, witness intimidation, judicial corruption, and, at times, political pressure. The judiciary, on the other hand, faults the police for presenting weak cases that do not stand up in court.
According to the Society for Human Rights and Prisoner's Aid (SHARP), a local NGO, 43 deaths due to police torture were reported during the year 2001. Amnesty International (AI) estimates that at least 100 persons die from police torture each year.
Police officers occasionally are transferred or briefly suspended for involvement in extrajudicial killings. However, court-ordered inquiries into these killings have resulted in few trials and no convictions. In general police continued to commit such killings with impunity.
Police professionalism is low. New officers only receive 6 months of training, and many hires are the result of political patronage rather than merit. Salaries and benefits are inadequate. However, in August the Government introduced a comprehensive package of police reforms. Key changes include transferring oversight of district superintendents of police (DSP) (a rank roughly equivalent to a lieutenant colonel) from federally appointed district commissioners to elected district mayors; granting DSPs permission to order the use of live fire on their own authority; and the establishment of public safety commissions at the district level. Under this system, a police officer who believes that the district mayor is abusing his authority over local law enforcement will have a place to seek redress.
There were credible reports of politically motivated disappearances.
The suspended Constitution and the Penal Code expressly forbid torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; however, police regularly torture, beat, and otherwise abuse persons. Police routinely use force to elicit confessions; however, there were fewer reports of torture by police during the year 2001. Some human rights groups have stated that this decrease reflects the influence of army monitoring teams, who discourage the use of torture; other observers have suggested that the frequency of torture remained unchanged, but the media devoted less attention to the issue during the year 2001. Human rights observers suggest that, because of widespread torture by the police, suspects usually confess to crimes regardless of their actual culpability; the courts subsequently throw out many such confessions.
According to the Society for Human Rights and Prisoner's Aid (SHARP), a local NGO, 43 deaths due to police torture were reported during the year 2001. AI estimates that at least 100 persons die from police torture each year. According to a 1999 Human Rights Watch report, children in detention also are subjected to torture and mistreatment.
In 2001, police personnel continued to torture persons in custody throughout the country. Common torture methods include: Beating; burning with cigarettes; whipping the soles of the feet; sexual assault; prolonged isolation; electric shock; denial of food or sleep; hanging upside down; forced spreading of the legs with bar fetters; and public humiliation. Some magistrates help cover up the abuse by issuing investigation reports stating that the victims died of natural causes.
Human rights organizations and the press have criticized the provision of the Anti-Terrorist Act that allows confessions obtained in police custody to be used in "special courts," because police torture of suspects is common. Police generally did not attempt to use confessions to secure convictions under this law, and the Government agreed to amend the law after the Supreme Court in 1998 invalidated this and other sections of the Anti-Terrorist Act.
There was greater scrutiny by NGO's and the media of police behavior, including prison inspections in the Punjab and Sindh. In 2000 in Karachi the Citizens Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) brought cases against police officers who make false arrests, practice torture, or take bribes. However, a CPLC member reported that no new cases had been filed against police officers during the year 2001. CPLC officials believed that police reforms introduced during the year 2001 (including increased oversight by elected officials) were responsible for fewer abuses. During the year 2001, 1,888 Karachi police officers reportedly were punished for various offenses. Of these, 552 officers were discharged, 64 received compulsory retirement, and 83 were demoted or had their pay docked. Cooperation between the CPLC and the police human rights complaint cell resulted in the dismissal of 216 policemen and the demotion of or fines for 1,226 others between November 1998 and July 1999.
Special women's police stations have been established in response to growing numbers of complaints of custodial abuse of women, including rape. These stations are staffed by female personnel, but receive even fewer material and human resources than regular police stations. Efforts to raise funds for the stations during the year 2001 achieved minimal progress. According to the Government's Commission of Inquiry for Women, the stations do not function independently or fulfill their purpose. Despite court orders and regulations that only female officers may interrogate female suspects, women continued to be detained overnight at regular police stations and abused by male officers. Based on Lahore newspaper reports from January to May 1999, the HRCP found 11 cases of violence, rape, or torture of women in police custody. Instances of abuse of women in prisons are less frequent than in police stations. Sexual abuse of child detainees by police or guards reportedly also is a problem.
Police routinely use excessive force against demonstrators or strikers.
Police at times also beat journalists.
Police failed in some instances to protect members of religious minorities--particularly Ahmadis and Christians--from societal attacks.
Despite some cases during the year 2001 in which police officers were investigated or charged in connection with abuse of detainees, the failure of the Government to prosecute and to punish abusers effectively is the single greatest obstacle to ending or reducing police abuse. The authorities sometimes transferred, suspended, or arrested offending officers, but seldom prosecuted or punished them; investigating officers generally shield their colleagues.
Police corruption is widespread. Police and prison officials frequently use the threat of abuse to extort money from prisoners and their families. Police accept money for registering cases on false charges and torture innocent citizens. Persons pay the police to humiliate their opponents and to avenge their personal grievances. During the year 2001, the Government took some steps to reduce police corruption and transferred several senior police officers to other provinces to circumvent their local ties. The Government also deployed army officers to police stations.
Prior to the October 1999 coup, successive governments recruited police officers in violation of considerations of merit and the department's regulations. In some instances, recruits had criminal records. Police corruption was most serious at the level of the Station House Officer (SHO), the official who runs each precinct. In 1998 300 SHO's recruited on merit began a long-delayed special training course; the new SHOs have been hired but there has been no significant improvement in police performance. Some SHO's widely are believed to operate arrest-for-ransom operations, and establish unsanctioned police stations to collect illicit revenue. An August 2000 news report listed seven such stations in Karachi. SHO's are powerful; although no such incidents were reported during the year 2001, some are believed to have killed superior officers who tried to stop corrupt practices in the past. Senior government officials have confirmed that police stations, and assignments therein, are sold to interested parties who then proceed to recoup their investment though illicit activities.
In August, 2001, the Government implemented reforms at the local level that included taking responsibility for the police away from the nonelected District Commissioners while granting oversight authority over the police to the newly elected district nazims (mayors) and newly organized Public Safety Commissions (that are composed of elected and nonelected members). The impact of this reform remained unclear at year's end 2001, although some critics claim that the reforms will make it easier for politicians to order the police to intimidate and harass their political opponents. Senior government officials predict that it will take several years of sustained political and financial commitment before positive gains are achieved. Actions taken to redress police abuses often have mixed results. In urban Sindh, the CPLC committees helped to curb some excesses, but complaints of large-scale police abuses persist.
The Government infringes on citizens' privacy rights. The Anti-Terrorist Act allowed police or military personnel acting as police to enter and to search homes and offices without search warrants, and to confiscate property or arms likely to be used in an alleged terrorist act (which is defined very broadly). This provision never was tested in the courts. While the Anti-Terrorist Act was suspended partially in 1998, the Government promulgated new antiterrorist ordinances in October 1998, April 1999, and in August. The purpose of the newest ordinance is to strengthen the power of the judiciary to prosecute terrorism cases. Under the ordinances, many blasphemy cases now are tried by antiterrorist courts. By law the police need a warrant to search a home, but not to search a person. Despite this law, police have entered homes without a warrant and sometimes stole valuables during searches. In the absence of a warrant, a policeman is subject to charges of criminal trespass. However, police seldom are punished for illegal entry.
The Government maintains several domestic intelligence services that monitor politicians, political activists, suspected terrorists, and suspected foreign intelligence agents. Credible reports indicate that the authorities routinely use wiretaps and intercept and open mail. In 1997 the Supreme Court directed the Government to seek its permission before carrying out wiretapping or eavesdropping operations; however, the judiciary's directive has been ignored widely. No action was taken during the year 2001 on the case of 12 government agencies accused of tapping and monitoring citizens' phone calls, which has been pending since 1996, and no additional action the case was expected.
The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention; however, the authorities do not always comply with the law and police arbitrarily arrested and detained citizens. The law permits the District Coordinating Officer (DCO) of a local district to order detention without charge for 30 days of persons suspected of threatening public order and safety. The DCO may renew detention in 30-day increments, up to a total of 90 days. Human rights monitors report instances in which prisoners jailed under the Maintenance of Public Order Act have been imprisoned for up to 6 months without charge. For other criminal offenses, police may hold a suspect for 24 hours without charge. After a prisoner appears before a magistrate, the court may grant permission for continued detention for a maximum period of 14 days if the police provide material proof that this is necessary for an investigation. The Musharraf Government created the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and special accountability courts to try corruption cases; the National Accountability Ordinance initially permitted those suspected of corrupt practices to be detained for 90 days without charge. In April the Supreme Court modified several provisions of the NAB ordinance. It reduced the NAB's freedom to hold suspects without charge from 90 days to 15 days, renewable with judicial concurrence. The maximum period of disqualification from political office pursuant to a corruption conviction was reduced from 21 years to 10 years, and the court required that future appointments of key NAB officials receive the Chief Justice's concurrence.
Police may arrest individuals on the basis of a First Incident Report (FIR) filed by a complainant, and have been known to file FIR's without supporting evidence. FIR's frequently are used to harass or intimidate individuals. Charges against an individual also may be based on a "blind" FIR, which lists the perpetrators as "person or persons unknown." If the case is not solved, the FIR is placed in the inactive file. When needed, a FIR is reactivated and taken to a magistrate by the police; the police then name a suspect and ask that the suspect be remanded for 14 days while they investigate further. After 14 days, the case is dropped for lack of evidence, but then another FIR is activated and brought against the accused. In this manner, rolling charges can be used to hold a suspect in custody continuously.
If the police can provide material proof that detention (physical remand or police custody for the purpose of interrogation) is necessary for an investigation, a court may extend detention for a total of 14 days. However, such proof may be little more than unsubstantiated assertions by the police. In practice the authorities do not observe fully the limits on detention. Police are not required to notify anyone when an arrest is made and often hold detainees without charge until a court challenges them. The police sometimes detain individuals arbitrarily without charge or on false charges to extort payment for their release. In Karachi small squads of police stopped taxis and delivery trucks for bribes.
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas have a separate legal system, the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), which recognizes the doctrine of collective responsibility. Authorities are empowered to detain fellow members of a fugitive's tribe, or to blockade a fugitive's village, pending his surrender or punishment by his own tribe in accordance with local tradition. The Government continued to exercise such authority during the year 2001. In March 2000, two persons from Mullah Said village were arrested under the FCR following a shooting incident in which some persons from the village fired on residents of neighboring Badan village. The two later were released.
The police also have been known to detain persons as a result of personal vendettas.
The law stipulates that detainees must be brought to trial within 30 days of their arrest. However, in many cases, trials do not start until 6 months after the filing of charges. In 1998 the HRCP estimated that there were almost as many individuals awaiting trial in jails as there were prisoners serving sentences. According to the chief justice of the Lahore High Court, there were more than 500,000 civil and criminal cases backlogged in the province's subordinate court system as of April 1999. In 1999 in 62 Lahore city courts, 7,000 prisoners were awaiting trial in 6,000 cases; in 3,500 of these cases, the police had not even brought a "challan," or indictment, to the court. Sindh Government officials reported in February 2000 that 11,945 of the 14,219 prisoners in Sindh jails were awaiting trial. The Government justified the creation of antiterrorist courts by citing the large number of murder and other cases that are clogging the regular court system. The antiterrorist courts reportedly sentenced 32 persons to death and 15 persons to life imprisonment during 2000.
Persons in jail awaiting trial sometimes are held for periods longer than the sentence that they would receive if convicted. Court officials report that each judge reviews between 70 and 80 cases per day, but that action is taken on only 3 or 4 each week. According to the Pakistan Law Commission, as of September, there were 121,839 cases pending at the High Court level in Punjab, 127,019 in Sindh, 97,000 in NWFP, and 29,000 in Baluchistan. There were 10,515 cases pending in the Supreme Court as of September 30. According to the press, the Lahore High Court had 64,427 cases pending at year's end 2001. Clogged lower courts exacerbate the situation; the majority of cases in the High Courts consist of appeals of lower court rulings. Once an appeal reaches the High Court, there are further opportunities for delay because decisions of individual judges frequently are referred to panels composed of two or three judges. There continued to be charges that magistrates and police, under pressure from provincial and federal officials to achieve high conviction rates, persuade detainees to plead guilty without informing them of the consequences. Senior government officials acknowledged during the year 2001 that this was a problem. Politically powerful persons also attempt to influence magistrates in their decisionmaking, sometimes threatening to transfer magistrates to other assignments.
The Government permits visits to prisoners and detainees by human rights monitors, family members, and lawyers, with some restrictions. In some cases, authorities refuse family visits and, in some police stations, persons must to pay bribes to see a prisoner. Foreign diplomats may meet with prisoners when they appear in court, but generally are refused permission for prison visits. Local human rights activists report few restrictions to their access to prisons, even though the Government has continued to deny prison visits by the ICRC.
The Government sometimes used preventive detention, mass arrests, and excessive force to quell protests or civil unrest and to prevent political meetings. On a number of occasions, police arrested persons prior to demonstrations under the Criminal Procedures Code ban. These arrests were carried out under Section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order Act, which prohibits speech that "causes or is likely to cause alarm to the public." On January 10, police used batons against members and sympathizers of the All Faiths Spiritual Movement during a protest against the blasphemy laws. Sixteen demonstrators were arrested.
Persons occasionally are detained arbitrarily because of disputes with powerful or well-connected persons. According to one NGO, during the year 2001, a man named Shafiq was detained by the Joharabad police on charges of stealing the dog of an influential member of the community. He later was released after the intervention of community elders. The NGO asserts that the actual reason for Shafiq's arrest was his refusal to sell land at the request of the influential person.
The Musharraf Government detained without warrants and without charges several dozen political figures, military officers, government administrators, and Sharif family members following the 1999 coup. Many of the officials who were arrested following the coup were held incommunicado. At year's end 2001, all of them had been released. Former Advisor for Sindh Affairs Ghous Ali Shah was released on bail on August 20 but remained under investigation for corruption. Former Petroleum Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was released on August 22 and Former Minister of Finance Ishaq Dar was released on August 28. However, Mehtab Abbasi and Javed Hashmi, two senior politicians allied with Nawaz Sharif, were detained by the NAB during the year 2001 and remained in custody at year's end 2001.
Several key figures among those initially arrested without charge, including former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, were held in connection with the "hijacking" in October 1999 of the civilian airliner carrying General Musharraf back from a conference in Sri Lanka; Nawaz Sharif reportedly denied permission for the plane to land in Karachi. This event, along with Sharif's summary replacement of General Musharraf with the Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, led to the 1999 coup. In the weeks following Sharif's arrest, he was detained without charge and denied access to counsel and family members. A First Incident Report was filed on November 10, 1999, which charged Sharif with attempted murder, hijacking, and criminal conspiracy. Former Sharif advisor Ghous Ali Shah, former Pakistan International Airlines chairman Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former Director of Civil Aviation Aminullah Chaudhary, and former Inspector General of Police Rana Maqbool were charged along with Sharif. The accused were to be tried before an antiterrorist court. In November 1999, three other individuals--former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, former senator Saifur Rehman, and former secretary to the Prime Minister Saeed Mehdi--were named codefendants in the case. Following Anti-Terrorist Act charges, the formal filing of charges against Nawaz Sharif occurred in December 1999. Sharif was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in April 2000. His six codefendants were acquitted; however, Saifur Rehman and Saeed Mehdi still were in custody at year's end 2001 on a maintenance of public order charge. In December 2000, the Government commuted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's prison sentence and exiled him and 18 of his family members to Saudi Arabia for 10 years. The Government confiscated assets belonging to the Sharif family. They also had to agree to withdraw from politics while in exile. Some observers claimed that the Government exiled Sharif in order to remove him from politics and to reduce the power and influence of the opposition.
Many persons apprehended by the NAB remained in detention past the ordinance's stipulated 90 days detention without charge. Siddiq ul-Farooq, a former press secretary to Nawaz Sharif, was arrested under the NAB in October 1999 and held without charge until May 2000; he was released from custody during the year 2001. In April 2000, Mian Manzoor Watoo, the former Punjab Chief Minister and head of his own PML faction, became the first senior politician to receive a jail term in a corruption case. In late 1999, MQM leader and former mayor of Karachi Dr. Farooq Sattar was arrested by order of the NAB, removed from his home, and held in an unfurnished cell. In July 2000, Sattar was convicted on a widely disputed corruption charge. Also in July 2000, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment and banned from holding political office on the basis of a corruption conviction. Most observers reported that Sharif's trial was fair; however, they believe the Government's decision to pursue the corruption case was politically motivated.
Hundreds of MQM activists and legislators (including former Sindh Minister of Labor Shoaib Bokhari) were arrested in 1998 and remained in custody at year's end 2001; some of these activists are being held without charge. According to MQM officials, police have arrested more than 700 MQM officials during the past 3 years. Some of these activists were released during the year 2001. However, on April 19, the Government arrested MQM Senator Aftab Shaikh.
Women frequently are charged under the Hudood Ordinances for sexual misconduct, such as adultery. A Hudood law meant to deter false accusations is enforced weakly, and one human rights monitor claimed that 80 percent of adultery-related Hudood cases are filed without supporting evidence. In 1998 approximately one-third of the women in jails in Lahore, Peshawar, and Mardan were awaiting trial for adultery; that percentage likely remains accurate. Most women tried under the ordinance are acquitted, but the stigma of an adultery charge alone is severe. Men accused of rape sometimes are acquitted and released while their victims are held for adultery or fornication. The Commission of Inquiry for Women has recommended that the Hudood laws be repealed as they are based on an erroneous interpretation of Shari'a.
During 2000 authorities released from prison thousands of persons convicted of petty crimes who were being held despite the fact that their prison terms had expired. In January 2000, authorities released 12,000 prisoners convicted of petty crimes. In an October 2000 news report, a senior official in the Ministry of Interior stated that 47,000 persons who were jailed for minor offenses were released in 2000. The Punjab Department of Jails reportedly released 15,000 prisoners who were convicted of petty crimes in 2000. During the year 2001, the Government released an undisclosed number of prisoners (estimated to be in the hundreds) to commemorate the Islamic holiday of Eid-ul-Azha.
Private jails exist in tribal and feudal areas. Human rights groups alleged that as many as 50 private jails, housing some 4,500 bonded laborers, were being maintained by landlords in lower Sindh. Some prisoners reportedly have been held for many years. In the five districts of upper Sindh, landlords have defied the courts and police by holding tribal jirgas, which settle feuds, award fines, and even sentence persons to the death penalty in defiance of provincial laws. In January 2000, a newspaper reported that 56 landless agricultural workers escaped from a private jail in Sanghar district, Sindh. The landlord reportedly had forced them to work without wages for several years. In March 2000, the Lahore High Court ordered the release of 24 brick kiln workers, including 10 women and children. According to press accounts, the laborers were kept in chains, were not compensated for their work, and were beaten frequently. Press reports indicate that there were similar numbers of bonded labors freed during the year 2001.
The judiciary includes the Supreme Court, provincial high courts, and other lesser courts exercising civil and criminal jurisdiction. The chief justice of the Supreme Court is appointed by the president; the other Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president after consultation with the chief justice. The chief justice and judges of the Supreme Court may remain in office until age sixty-five. The Supreme Court has original, appellate, and advisory jurisdiction. Judges of the provincial high courts are appointed by the president after consultation with the chief justice of the Supreme Court, as well as the governor of the province and the chief justice of the high court to which the appointment is being made. High courts have original and appellate jurisdiction.
There is also a Federal Shariat Court consisting of eight Muslim judges, including a chief justice appointed by the president. Three of the judges are ulama, that is, Islamic Scholars, and are well versed in Islamic law. The Federal Shariat Court has original and appellate jurisdiction. This court decides whether any law is repugnant to the injunctions of Islam. When a law is deemed repugnant to Islam, the president, in the case of a federal law, or the governor, in the case of a provincial law, is charged with taking steps to bring the law into conformity with the injunctions of Islam. The court also hears appeals from decisions of criminal courts under laws relating to the enforcement of hudood laws that is, laws pertaining to such offenses as intoxication, theft, and unlawful sexual intercourse.
In addition, there are special courts and tribunals to deal with specific kinds of cases, such as drug courts, commercial courts, labor courts, traffic courts, an insurance appellate tribunal, an income tax appellate tribunal, and special courts for bank offenses. There are also special courts to try terrorists. Appeals from special courts go to high courts except for labor and traffic courts, which have their own forums for appeal. Appeals from the tribunals go to the Supreme Court.
A further feature of the judicial system is the office of Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman), which is provided for in the constitution. The office of Mohtasib was established in many early Muslim states to ensure that no wrongs were done to citizens. Appointed by the president, the Mohtasib holds office for four years; the term cannot be extended or renewed. The Mohtasib's purpose is to institutionalize a system for enforcing administrative accountability, through investigating and rectifying any injustice done to a person through maladministration by a federal agency or a federal government official. The Mohtasib is empowered to award compensation to those who have suffered loss or damage as a result of maladministration. Excluded from jurisdiction, however, are personal grievances or service matters of a public servant as well as matters relating to foreign affairs, national defense, and the armed services. This institution is designed to bridge the gap between administrator and citizen, to improve administrative processes and procedures, and to help curb misuse of discretionary powers.
In most instances, a person apprehended appears before a magistrate or assistant commissioner, who decides on bail; the magistrate may also try less serious cases. Serious cases are tried before the sessions courts, which can award punishments up to death. The provincial high court hears appeals and automatically reviews any conviction involving the death penalty. The highest level of appeal for criminal cases is the federal Supreme Court. ))
Under the Suppression of Terrorist Activities (Special Courts) Act of 1975, the government established special courts to try cases involving crimes of a "terrorist" nature (for example, murder and sabotage). In 1987 another ordinance was passed establishing Speedy Trial Courts, which were empowered to hand down a death penalty after a three-day trial in which almost no adjournments were permitted. The jurisdictional authority of both kinds of courts was amended in 1988, but they have continued to operate. In 1991 the Speedy Trial Courts were given new jurisdictional authority to try particularly heinous crimes under the constitution's Twelfth Amendment. These courts handle cases that attract widespread public attention, especially those dealing with murder and drug offenses and in which the government believes that justice must be meted out rapidly. Only one appeal is permitted. In 1990 special "accountability" courts were set up to try individuals from Benazir's first administration who were charged with corruption. In late 1993, Benazir announced that her government would stop referring new cases to the special courts and would allow the constitutional authority for these courts to lapse in 1994.
The court system and the provisions of criminal law do not extend into the tribal areas along the Afghan border. These areas are administrated by political agents who work with tribal leaders to maintain law and order according to tribal standards.
The Hudood Ordinances, which aimed to make the Penal Code more Islamic, provide for harsh punishments for violations of Shari'a (Islamic law), including death by stoning for unlawful sexual relations and amputation for other crimes. These so-called Hadd punishments require a high standard of evidence. In effect four adult Muslim men of good character must witness an act for a Hadd punishment to apply. In over 20 years since the Hudood Ordinances were adopted, not a single Hadd punishment has been carried out. However, on the basis of lesser evidence, ordinary punishments such as jail terms or fines are imposed. From 1979 to 1995, more than 1 million Hudood cases were filed, and 300,000 were heard by the courts. More recent statistics are unavailable. The Hudood Ordinances are applied to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
The suspended Constitution provided for an independent judiciary; however, in practice, the judiciary remains subject to executive branch and other outside influences, and despite the Musharraf Government's pledge to respect the independence of the judicial system, it has taken steps to control the judiciary and to remove the Government from judicial oversight. Provisional Constitution Order Number 1, issued in October 1999, provided that all courts functioning at the time of the coup would continue to operate, but that no court would have the power to issue orders against General Musharraf or any person exercising powers or jurisdiction under his authority. The decree effectively removed the actions of the Musharraf Government from judicial oversight. President Musharraf further undermined the independence of the judiciary when he ordered that all Supreme Court, Shari'a Court, and Provincial High Court justices take an oath to uphold the PCO that brought the military into power. Low salaries, inadequate resources, heavy workloads, corruption, and intimidation by political and religious pressure groups contributed to judicial inefficiency, particularly in the lower courts.
In January 2000, days before the Supreme Court was due to begin hearings on the legitimacy of the 1999 coup, President Musharraf ordered all Supreme Court, Shari'at court, and provincial High Court justices to take an oath committing themselves to uphold the PCO, which suspended the Constitution and legislative bodies and prohibited the superior courts from making any decision against the Chief Executive "or any person exercising powers or jurisdiction under his authority." Six Supreme Court justices, including the Chief Justice, and nine provincial High Court justices resigned in protest; however, 85 percent of the affected justices agreed to swear allegiance to the PCO. As a result of this decree, government directives and ordinances under the PCO no longer are subject to judicial review. Some government officials claimed that President Musharraf issued this decree due to concerns that judges were being bribed to rule against the Government in the court challenges to the military takeover. Many persons criticized this requirement, stating that it effectively ended the role of the judiciary as an independent body.
The judicial process continued to be impeded by bureaucratic infighting, inactivity, and the overlapping jurisdictions of the different court systems. Heavy backlogs that severely delayed the application of justice remained, due to scores of unfilled judgeships and to archaic and inefficient court procedures. The politicized appointment process held up the promotion of many lower court judges to the High Courts. Although the higher level judiciary is considered competent and generally honest, there were widespread reports of corruption among lower level magistrates and minor court functionaries. Nonetheless, the new Supreme Court at times demonstrated a limited degree of independence. For example, in May 2000, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court upheld the legality of the coup on the grounds of state necessity; however, the court ordered the Musharraf Government to hold national elections no later than 90 days after October 12, 2002. The decision also affirmed the Supreme Court's continued right of judicial review, ruled that it was legal for the Musharraf Government to amend the Constitution as long as the amendments do not change the basic character of the Constitution, and reserved the right to review the military's performance, the continued necessity of the Emergency Proclamation, and the PCO. Many observers criticized the Supreme Court decision as vague and contradictory. The Government respected this ruling during the year 2001. On August 14, the Government announced that national and provincial elections were to take place between October 1 and October 11, 2002. In April the Supreme Court also modified several provisions of the NAB ordinance, and the Government respected the amended provisions during the year 2001. Despite these decisions, the overall credibility of the judiciary remained low.
The judicial system involves several court systems with overlapping and sometimes competing jurisdictions. There are civil and criminal systems with special courts for banking, antinarcotics, and antiterrorist cases, as well as the federal Shariat court for certain Hudood offenses. The appeals process in the civil system is: Civil court, district court, High Court, and the Supreme Court. In the criminal system, the progression is magistrate, sessions court, High Court, and the Supreme Court.
The civil judicial system provides for an open trial, the presumption of innocence, cross-examination by an attorney, and appeal of sentences. Attorneys are appointed for indigents only in capital cases. There are no jury trials. Due to the limited number of judges, the heavy backlog of cases, lengthy court procedures, and political pressures, cases routinely take years, and defendants must make frequent court appearances. Cases start over when an attorney changes. Under both the Hudood and standard criminal codes, there are bailable and nonbailable offenses. According to the Criminal Procedures Code, the accused in bailable offenses must be granted bail, and those charged with nonbailable offenses should be granted bail if the alleged crime carries a sentence of less than 10 years. Many accused, especially well-connected persons who are made aware of impending warrants against them, are able to obtain prearrest bail, and thus are spared arrest and incarceration.
Double jeopardy applies to those convicted of possessing narcotics because of a federal Shariat court ruling that customs and narcotics cases be initiated separately. During the year 2001, the Lahore High Court ordered the release of eight prisoners, including five foreign nationals, who had served their sentences under the Customs Act and were awaiting trial for a narcotics charge arising out of the same incident. The court noted that the law did not allow punishment twice for the same offense. A February 2000 ruling by the Lahore High Court forbidding a second trial was ignored by an April 2000 sessions court decision in Lahore, which sent the accused back to prison for the second time on the same narcotics conviction.
The judiciary has argued that it has failed to try and convict terrorist suspects in a timely manner because of poor police casework, prosecutorial negligence, and the resulting lack of evidence. In response to this problem, the Anti-Terrorist Act was passed; special antiterrorist courts began operations in 1997. The antiterrorist courts, designed for the speedy punishment of terrorist suspects, have special streamlined procedures; however, due to the continued intimidation of witnesses, police, and judges, the courts initially produced only a handful of convictions. Under the Act, terrorist killings are punishable by death and any act, including speech, intended to stir up religious hatred, is punishable by up to 7 years' rigorous imprisonment. Additional offenses that can be tried under the Anti-Terrorist Act include acts to outrage religious feelings; efforts to "wage war against the state;" conspiracy; acts committed in abetting an offense; and kidnaping of or abduction to confine a person. Cases are to be decided within 7 working days, but judges are free to extend the period of time as required. Trials in absentia initially were permitted, but later were prohibited. Appeals to an appellate tribunal also were required to take no more than 7 days, but appellate authority since has been restored to the High and Supreme Courts, under which these time limits do not apply. Under the Anti-Terrorist Act, bail is not to be granted if the court has reasonable grounds to believe that the accused is guilty. Many of the more controversial amendments to the Anti-Terrorist Act adopted under the Nawaz Sharif Government were not enforced during the year 2001.
On June 20, the Musharraf Government approved an amendment to the Anti-Terrorist Act. The new ordinance defines terrorism as "the use or threat of action where the use, or threatened use, is designed to coerce and intimidate or overawe the Government or the public or a section of the public or community or sect or create a sense of fear or insecurity in society; and the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, ideological, or ethnic cause."
Leading members of the judiciary, human rights groups, the press, and politicians from a number of parties expressed strong reservations about the antiterrorist courts, charging that they constitute a parallel judicial system and could be used as tools of political repression. Government officials and police believed that the deterrent effect of the Act's death penalty provisions contributed to the reduction in sectarian violence after its passage. The antiterrorist courts also are empowered to try persons accused of particularly "heinous" crimes, such as gang rape and child killings, and several persons have been tried, convicted, and executed under these provisions. In 1997 cases filed under Section 295 (a) of the Penal Code, one of the so-called blasphemy laws, were transferred to the antiterrorist courts. Human rights advocates feared that if blasphemy cases were tried in the antiterrorist courts, alleged blasphemers, who in the past normally were granted bail or released for lack of evidence, likely would be convicted, given the less stringent rules of evidence required under the Anti-Terrorist Act.
The Musharraf Government created by ordinance a special antiterrorist court in Sindh presided over by a High Court justice rather than a lower level judge, as is usually the case. The amended provision permits the High Court justice to "transfer...any case pending before any other special court...and try the case" in his court. Supporters of Nawaz Sharif maintained that these changes were designed to help the Musharraf Government prosecute Sharif. The trial of Nawaz Sharif and six codefendants on charges of hijacking was the most widely publicized case tried by an antiterrorist court. No cases tried by an antiterrorist court received similar publicity during the year 2001. In April 2000, Sharif was found guilty of hijacking and terrorism and sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment (to be served consecutively), an unspecified fine, 5 years' rigorous imprisonment in lieu of nonpayment of the fine, forfeiture of all property, and a fine to compensate the 198 passengers and crew of the flight. The judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to arraign Sharif on four offenses related to "waging war against the state" and criminal conspiracy; the charges were dropped. His six codefendants were found not guilty, and all six were released during the year 2001.
Diplomatic observers who attended the Sharif trial concluded that the trial generally was fair, open, and transparent. The defendants were given free choice of and ready access to counsel. Diplomats and the media were granted free daily trial access and newspapers frequently reported on defense attorneys' criticism of President Musharraf and the army. Nawaz Sharif and his defense counsel expressed "full confidence" in the court. The prosecution appealed the codefendants' acquittals and Sharif's life sentences, arguing for the death penalty, and the defense appealed Sharif's conviction in the Sindh High Court in another trial that courtroom observers considered free and fair. In October 2000, the appeals court upheld Nawaz Sharif's convictions for hijacking and terrorism but combined them into one offense. The court also denied the prosecution appeal to upgrade Sharif's sentence to the death penalty, reduced the amount of property forfeiture, and affirmed the antiterrorism court's acquittals of the six codefendants.
The Musharraf Government in 1999 created by ordinance the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and special accountability courts to try corruption cases. The NAB was created in part to deal with as much as $4 billion (approximately PRs 208 billion) that is estimated to be owed to the country's banks (all of which are state-owned) by debtors, primarily from among the wealthy elite. The Musharraf Government stated that it would not target genuine business failures or small defaulters and does not appear to have done so. The NAB was given broad powers to prosecute corruption cases, and the accountability courts were expected to try such cases within 30 days. As originally promulgated, the ordinance prohibited courts from granting bail and gave the NAB chairman sole power to decide if and when to release detainees. In April the Supreme Court modified several provisions of the NAB ordinance. It reduced the NAB's freedom to hold suspects without charge from 90 days to 15 days, renewable with judicial concurrence. The maximum period of disqualification from political office pursuant to a corruption conviction was reduced from 21 years to 10 years, and the Court required that future appointments of key NAB officials receive the Chief Justice's concurrence.
The ordinance also allows those suspected by the State Bank of Pakistan of defaulting on government loans or of corrupt practices to be detained for 15 days without charge (renewable with judicial concurrence) and, prior to being charged, does not allow access to counsel. During 2000 many persons who were apprehended under the NAB ordinance remained in detention without charge for longer than 90 days. In accountability cases, there is a presumption of guilt, and conviction under the ordinance can result in 14 years' imprisonment, fines, and confiscation of property. Those convicted also originally were disqualified from running for office or holding office for 10 years. In August 2000, the Government announced that persons with a court conviction would be barred from holding party office.
The Musharraf Government denied press reports that it had decided not to pursue accountability cases against active members of the military or the judiciary; however, no serving members of the military or the judiciary have been charged by the NAB. Nonetheless, in May former Chief of the Naval Staff Mansoor ul-Haq was charged with corruption under the NAB ordinance. In June 2000, the Government announced that NAB had arrested 132 persons to date; 82 persons were in detention, 53 of the 82 were held in judicial lockups, and 29 others were in the NAB's custody. During the year 2001, Jehangir Badr, Chaudhary Pervez Elahi, Sheikh Rashid, Mehtab Abbasi, and Javed Hashmi were arrested by the NAB. A published list of persons charged with corruption by the NAB included former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto.
The Hudood ordinances criminalize nonmarital rape, extramarital sex (including adultery and fornication), and various gambling, alcohol, and property offenses. Offenses are distinguished according to punishment, with some offenses liable to Hadd, or Koranic, punishment, and others to Tazir, or secular punishment. Although both types of cases are tried in ordinary criminal courts, special, more stringent rules of evidence apply in Hadd cases; Hadd punishments are mandatory if there is enough evidence to support them. Hadd punishments regarding sexual offences are most severe for married Muslims; for example, if a married Muslim man confesses to rape or there are four adult male Muslim witnesses to the act, the accused must be stoned to death; if the accused rapist is not Muslim or married, if he confesses, or if the act is witnessed by four adult males (not all Muslim), the accused must be sentenced to 100 lashes with a whip, and such other punishment, including death, as the court may deem fit. The testimony of four female witnesses, or that of a rape victim alone, is insufficient to impose Hadd punishments. If the evidence falls short of Hadd criteria, then the accused may be sentenced to a lesser class of penalties (Tazir). Since it is difficult to obtain sufficient evidence to support the Hadd punishments, most rape cases are tried at the Tazir level, under which sentences may be imposed up to 25 years in prison and 30 lashes. No Hadd punishment ever has been applied in the more than 20 years that the Hudood ordinances have been in force. For Tazir punishments, there is no distinction between Muslim and non-Muslim offenders. Under Tazir the evidentiary requirement for financial or future obligations is for two male witnesses or one male and two female witnesses; in all other matters, the court may accept the testimony of one man or one woman.
The federal Shariat court and the Shari'a bench of the Supreme Court serve as appellate courts for certain convictions in criminal court under the Hudood ordinances. The federal Shariat court also may overturn any legislation judged to be inconsistent with the tenets of Islam. However, these cases may be appealed to the Shari'a bench of the Supreme Court. In two areas of the NWFP--Malakand and Kohistan--the Government in 1999 announced plans to implement Shari'a law by regulation and by ordinance, respectively. In September 1999, the NWFP assembly passed a bill that incorporated the Kohistan ordinance into law. In May 2000, the governor of the NWFP reportedly affirmed to the media his plan to implement Shari'a in Malakand division. However, no information was given as to when the plan would enter into force. The Government made no effort to enforce its commitments during the year 2001, despite renewed demonstrations advocating the implementation of Shari'a law in May.
Appeals of certain Hudood convictions involving penalties in excess of 2 years' imprisonment are referred exclusively to the Shariat courts and are heard jointly by Islamic scholars and High Court judges using ordinary criminal procedures. Judges and attorneys must be Muslim and must be familiar with Islamic law. Within these limits, defendants in a Shariat court are entitled to the lawyer of their choice. There is a system of bail.
The Penal Code incorporates the doctrines of Qisas (roughly, an eye for an eye) and Diyat (blood money). Qisas is not known to have been invoked; however, Diyat occasionally is applied, particularly in the NWFP, in place of judicial punishment of the wrongdoer. Only the family of the victim, not the State, may pardon the defendant. The Hudood, Qisas, and Diyat ordinances apply to ordinary criminal courts and Shariat courts. According to Christian activists, if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim, he can redress the crime by paying Diyat to the victim's family; however, a non-Muslim who kills a Muslim does not have the option of paying and must serve a jail sentence or face the death penalty for his crime. Failure to pay Diyat in noncapital cases can result in indefinitely extended incarceration, under Section 331 of the Diyat ordinance. Some persons remain in prison after completion of their terms for failure to pay Diyat.
Administration of justice in the FATA normally is the responsibility of tribal elders and maliks, or leaders. They may conduct hearings according to Islamic law and tribal custom. In such proceedings, the accused have no right to legal representation, bail, or appeal. The usual penalties consist of fines, even for murder. However, the Government's political agents, who are federal civil servants assigned to tribal agencies, oversee such proceedings and may impose prison terms of up to 14 years. Paramilitary forces under the direction of the political agents frequently conduct punitive actions during enforcement operations. For example, in raids on criminal activities, the authorities have damaged surrounding homes as extrajudicial punishment of residents for having tolerated nearby criminal activity.
In remote areas outside the jurisdiction of federal political agents, tribal councils occasionally levy harsher, unsanctioned punishments, including flogging or death by shooting or stoning. On July 16, the HRCP reported the execution by tribal leaders of an Afghan man accused of murder. The tribesmen reportedly condemned the accused without due process and executed him by blindfolding him and shooting him in front of a crowd. The Government has made no efforts to investigate the incident, and is unlikely to do so.
Another related form of rough justice operating in the NWFP, particularly in the tribal areas, is the concept of Pakhtunwali, or the Pakhtun Tribal Code, in which revenge is an important element. Under this code, a man, his family, and his tribe are obligated to take revenge for wrongs--either real or perceived--to redeem their honor. More often than not, these disputes arise over women and land, and frequently result in violence.
Several senior officials in the judiciary participated in an Asian Development Bank-funded judicial reform program that began in April; the program was designed to improve the quality of the lower level judiciary. In December several local courts reported minor improvements due to the reforms, such as a faster rate of processing cases.
There are limited numbers of political prisoners; there probably were less than 50 political prisoners in custody at year's end 2001. Sections of the Penal Code directly target members of the Ahmadi faith; according to Ahmadi sources, approximately 200 Ahmadis have been incarcerated under these provisions since their inception. Several minority religious groups argue that other sections of the Penal Code--particularly the related blasphemy laws--are used in a discriminatory fashion by local officials or private individuals to punish religious minorities. In April 2000, the Government announced its intention to require that deputy commissioners review all blasphemy cases prior to the filing of a FIR; however, the Government reversed this decision in May 2000 due to intense pressure from some Islamic groups. The Government took no steps to amend the blasphemy laws during the year 2001.
Some political groups also argue that they are marked for arrest based on their political affiliation. The MQM in particular has argued that the Government used antiterrorist court convictions in Sindh to silence its activists.
The Government permits visits to prisoners by human rights monitors, family members, and lawyers.
Under the 1962 West Pakistan Jail Warden Service Rules, prisons are managed by a career prison service, which sets qualifications for wardens, but these guidelines are reportedly not well observed. The service is organized by province under an inspector general of prisons. At division level, the senior official is the director of prisons, and there are jail superintendents at district and municipal levels. Simple lockups are maintained in some villages. There are some female wardens to handle female prisoners, but more are needed.
Prisons are not salubrious places. The common criminal from a poor background is assigned to Class C confinement, with virtually no amenities. Abuse is common. Prisoners of higher social status are assigned to Class B prisons, where conditions are better, and they can procure better food and some amenities from their own pocket. Class A prisons are for "prominent" offenders. Conjugal visits are not the rule but are allowed in some cases.
Juveniles are handled separately in both the court system and in confinement. The criminal code prescribes special courts for offenders under age fifteen unless they are charged with a particularly serious offense and a high court orders that they be tried before a regular sessions court. There are juvenile wards in regular jails for offenders up to age twenty-one. In addition, a few reform institutions for boys between eleven and twenty years of age attempt to rehabilitate young offenders.
Today, prison conditions are extremely poor and life threatening. Overcrowding is widespread. According to the HRCP, there are 80,000 prisoners in jails that were built to hold a maximum of 35,833 persons. In 1999 a journalist for the Nation newspaper visited Adiala jail in Rawalpindi and reported that the prison held 4,277 prisoners but was built for 2,000. According to a February 2000 press report, Sindh provincial officials claimed that the 16 jails of Sindh province, with a total capacity of 7,759 prisoners, actually housed more than 14,000. Karachi central prison is the most overcrowded, with a population of 4,087 prisoners in a space designed for only 991; only 2 toilets are available per every 100 prisoners and the daily food budget in the lowest class of cells equals about $.02 (Pr 1) per prisoner. The HRCP claimed that the Lahore district jail, built to house 1,045 prisoners, contains 3,200. In July 1999, the Punjab Home Department admitted before the Lahore High Court that more than 50,000 prisoners were held in Punjabi jails meant for 17,271. In the NWFP, 21 prisons with a total capacity of 7,397 prisoners housed 10,194 persons, including 485 children. Some 80 percent of prisoners are awaiting trial, mostly for petty offenses.
There are three classes (A, B, and C) of prison facilities. Class "C" cells generally hold common criminals and those in pretrial detention. Such cells often have dirt floors and no furnishings. Prisoners in these cells reportedly suffer the most abuse, including beatings and forced kneeling for long periods of time. In 1998 the Senate's Committee on Human Rights reported that at one facility in Hyderabad, 60 prisoners were confined to a space 100 feet by 30 feet with only 1 latrine. Such unsanitary conditions are common in small, poorly ventilated, and decrepit colonial-era prisons, which mainly are classified as class "C." Inadequate food, often consisting of only a few pieces of bread, leads to chronic malnutrition for those unable to supplement their diet with help from family or friends. Access to medical care is a problem. Mentally ill prisoners normally lack adequate care and are not segregated from the general prison population. Foreign prisoners, mostly citizens of African countries with minimal diplomatic representation, often remain in prison long after their sentences are completed because there is no one to pay for their deportation to their home country. Government officials claim that years of inadequate budgets are the reason for poor prison conditions. Conditions in "A" and "B" cells are markedly better; prisoners in these cells are permitted to have servants, special food, and satellite television. Authorities reserve "A" cells for prominent persons, including political leaders. Especially prominent individuals--including some political figures--sometimes are held under house arrest and permitted to receive visitors. "B" cells often are used for prisoners with a university education or who benefit from political connections.
Shackling of prisoners is routine. The principal of the Institute for Jail Staff Training in Lahore stated in a July 1999 press interview that fettering is the most convenient way to administer an overcrowded jail. Although fettering was banned nationally in April 2000, many prisoners continue to be fettered for administrative convenience or in an attempt to solicit bribes. The shackles used are tight, heavy, and painful, and reportedly have led to gangrene and amputation in several cases. No cases concerning the fettering of minors were reported in the press during the year 2001.
Unlike the previous year, there were no reports of major prison riots.
Female detainees and prisoners are held separately from male detainees and prisoners. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, there were 700 women in jail in Sindh province at year's end 2001, including 247 in Karachi Central Jail. According to the Ministry of Interior, there were 27 women in jail in Baluchistan province; 18 were awaiting the completion of trials and 9 were convicted criminals. Pretrial detainees often are not segregated from convicted criminals.
There is only one jail in each province for convicted prisoners under 21 years of age, and children frequently are incarcerated along with the general prison population, sharing prison conditions that are extremely poor. Many children in prison were born to female inmates who were sexually abused by prison guards. Punjab and Sindh provinces have laws mandating special judicial procedures for child offenders; however, in practice children and adults essentially are treated equally. According to a local NGO, an estimated 4,200 children were held in the nation's prisons at the end of 2000, some as young as 8 years old, compared with 4,000 in 1999. Imprisoned children often spend long periods of time in prison awaiting trial or a hearing before a magistrate, often in violation of the law. One child spent 3 years and 4 months awaiting trial. Children are subject to the same delays and inefficiencies in the justice system as are adults. Peshawar's jail in 1998 contained 183 children, 40 percent of whom were Afghan refugees. These prisoners were separated from the adult prisoners. According to some estimates, there are 900 children in Karachi's central jail, in a space meant to house 300; these children are 18 and under. Human Rights Watch reports that children frequently are beaten and even tortured while in detention; usually this is done to extract confessions, but it is done also to punish or intimidate child detainees or to extort payment from their families for their release. Sexual abuse of child detainees by police or guards reportedly is a problem as well.
Courts also may order that children be sent to reform schools or various types of residential facilities, many designed to provide vocational or other training. There are two facilities--one in Karachi and one in Bahawalpur--that serve as reform schools for juvenile offenders. Juvenile offenders and, in some cases, homeless and destitute children, may be sent to these residential facilities, for terms not to exceed the amount of time until they reach majority. Conditions in these institutions reportedly are poor, similar to those found in jails. Abuse and torture of the children in such institutions is a problem; one study found that 17.4 percent of the inmates of the Youthful Offenders Industrial School in Karachi had been tortured or otherwise mistreated. Educational facilities in these institutions often are inadequate; however, during 2000 an NGO in Karachi started a school for the approximately 1 dozen children forced to live in a Karachi women's prison. Extortion on the part of the staff at such institutions reportedly is widespread; parents of inmates often are required to pay lower level staff members to visit their children or bring them food. Drug trafficking by guards and other staff also is a problem; some children reportedly have developed drug habits while in these institutions and are supplied drugs by their guards.
The Government permits prison visits by human rights monitors. Landlords in Sindh and political factions in Karachi operated private jails.
Domestic violence is a widespread and serious problem. Human rights groups estimate that anywhere from 70 to 90 percent of women are victims of domestic violence at the hands of their husbands, in-laws, or other relatives. The Progressive Women's Organization (PWO) reported in 1999 that one out of every two women is the victim of mental or physical violence. The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Women reported that violence against women "has been described as the most pervasive violation of human rights" in the country, and it called for legislation clearly stating that domestic violence against women is a criminal offense. Husbands are known to kill their wives even for trivial offenses. In 1999 the Pakistan Peace Coalition surveyed 1,000 women in 10 communities in rural Punjab; 82 percent of the respondents reported that they feared violence from their husbands over trivial matters. While abusers may be charged with assault, cases rarely are filed. Police usually return battered women to their abusive family members. Women are reluctant to file charges because of societal mores that stigmatize divorce and make women economically and psychologically dependent on their relatives. Relatives also are reluctant to report abuse to protect the reputation of the family. There are no specific laws pertaining to domestic violence, except for the Qisas and Diyat ordinances, which rarely are invoked and may privatize the crime. However, Qisas and Diyat cannot be invoked where the victim is a direct lineal descendant of the perpetrator. Police and judges tend to see domestic violence as a family problem, and are reluctant to take action in such cases. Thus it is difficult for women to obtain relief from the justice system in cases of domestic violence.
The Shirkat Gah Women's Resource Center in Karachi published a report in 1999 that summarized reports in the English language press about violence against women between 1993 and 1998. Even though it limited itself to reports of violence by close male relatives, Shirkat Gah documented 535 women who were killed or who committed suicide during the period; 95 of these women were killed or committed suicide after they expressed interest in marrying a man of their own choice.
During the year 2001, the press reported on hundreds of incidents of violence against women and drew attention to the killings of married women by relatives over dowry or other family-related disputes. Most of the victims were burned to death, allegedly in kitchen stove accidents; some women reportedly were burned with acid. During the year 2001, 471 dowry deaths were reported, but according to one NGO, only 60 to 70 percent of such cases are reported. During 2000 593 burn cases were recorded in Lahore newspapers; cases were registered in 74 percent of these incidents but suspects were arrested in only 10 percent of the cases. Human rights monitors assert that many cases are not reported by hospitals and that, even when they are, the police are reluctant to investigate or file charges. Furthermore, human rights monitors agree that most "stove deaths" in fact are killings based upon a suspicion of illicit sexual relationship or upon dowry demands. Increased media coverage of cases of wife burnings, spousal abuse, spousal killing, and rape has helped to raise awareness about violence against women. By year's end 2001, there was no progress in the 1998 case of Shahnaz, who died after her husband poured gasoline on her and set her on fire. The police registered a case against her husband and three in-laws. As of September 30, the husband and in-laws remained in custody after the court rejected their appeal for bail. Two new cases that were reported by an NGO during the year 2001 involved the deaths of Kausar of Tala Gang, District Chakwal, and Tahira of Simly Dam, District Islamabad.
Rape is a pervasive problem. The HRCP estimates that at least eight women, five of them minors, are raped every day, and more than two-thirds of those are gang-raped. The law provides for the death penalty for persons convicted of gang rape. No executions have been carried out under this law and conviction rates remain low because rape, and gang rape in particular, commonly is used by landlords and criminal bosses to humiliate and terrorize local residents. It is estimated that less than one-third of all rapes are reported to the police. Police rarely respond to and sometimes are implicated in these attacks.
According to a police official, in most rape cases the victims are pressured to drop charges because of the threat of Hudood adultery or fornication charges against them if they cannot prove the absence of consent. All consensual extramarital sexual relations are considered violations of the Hudood Ordinances, and carry Hadd (Koranic) or Tazir (secular) punishments. Accordingly, if a woman cannot prove the absence of consent, there is a risk that she may be charged with a violation of the Hudood ordinances for fornication or adultery. The Hadd--or maximum punishment for this offense--is public flogging or stoning; however, for Hadd punishments to apply, especially stringent rules of evidence are followed. Hadd punishments are mandatory if evidentiary requirements are met; for sexual offenses, four adult male Muslims must witness the act or the alleged perpetrator must confess. For non-Muslims or in cases where all of the 4 male witnesses are not Muslim, the punishment is less severe. The testimony of four female witnesses, or that of the victim alone, is insufficient to impose Hadd punishments; therefore, even if a man rapes a woman in the presence of several women, he cannot be subjected to the Hadd punishment. If Hadd punishment requirements are not met, the accused may be sentenced to a lesser class of penalties (Tazir); in practice most rape cases are tried at this level. Under Tazir a rapist may be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison and 30 lashes. No Hadd punishment has been applied in the more than 20 years that the Hudood ordinances have been in force. For Tazir punishments, there is no distinction between Muslim and non-Muslim offenders.
In 1998 approximately one-third of the women in jails in Lahore, Peshawar, and Mardan were awaiting trial for adultery; that percentage likely remains accurate. According to an HRCP lawyer, the Musharraf Government has brought fewer charges against women under the Hudood Ordinance than were brought in the past, and the courts have shown greater leniency toward women in their sentences and in the granting of bail. On August 1, a government official stated that the majority of women in prison were there on murder charges, and asserted that the number of cases filed under the Hudood Ordinances was exaggerated. In cases where a woman wishes to bring rape charges, she will have trouble bringing her attacker to justice. According to AI, men accused of rape sometimes are acquitted and released, while their victims are held on adultery charges.
According to Human Rights Watch, women face difficulty at every level of the judicial system in bringing rape cases. Police are reluctant to take the complaint and sometimes are abusive toward the victim; the courts do not have consistent standards of proof as to what constitutes rape and what corroboration is required; and judges, police, and prosecutors are biased against female rape victims, tending towards a presumption of female consent and the belief that women lie about such things. Judges on the whole reportedly are reluctant to convict; however, if there is some evidence, judges have been known to convict the accused of the lesser offense of adultery or fornication (consensual sex). Human Rights Watch also reported that women face problems in the collection of evidence; that the doctors tasked to examine rape victims often believe that the victims are lying; that they are trained insufficiently and have inadequate facilities for the collection of forensic evidence pertaining to rape; that they do not testify very effectively in court; and that they tend to focus on the virginity status of the victim, and, due either to an inadequate understanding of the need for prompt medical evaluations or to inadequate resources, often delay the medical examinations for many days or even weeks, making any evidence that they collect of dubious utility. Medical examiners and police personnel sometimes are abusive physically or verbally during these exams, especially in cases where a woman is charged with adultery or fornication (for which an exam may be requested) and does not wish to be examined (such women, despite the fact that by law they should not be examined without their consent, have been examined, and even have been beaten for their refusal to be examined). Police and doctors often do not know that a woman must consent to this type of exam before it can be performed, and judges may not inform women of their right to decline. If they report rape to the police, women's cases often are delayed or mishandled, and women frequently are harassed by police or the alleged perpetrators to drop the case. Police sometimes accept bribes from the accused rapist to get the victim to drop a case; however, in other cases, police will request bribes from the victim to pursue the case against the accused rapist. Police tend to investigate the cases poorly, and may not inform women of the need for a medical exam or may stall or block women's attempts to obtain one.
The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Women criticized Hudood Ordinances relating to extramarital sex and recommended that they be repealed asserting that they are based on an erroneous interpretation of Shari'a. The Commission charged that the laws on adultery and rape have been subject to widespread misuse, with 95 percent of the women accused of adultery being found innocent either in the court of first instance or on appeal. However, the Commission pointed out that, by that time, the woman may have spent months in jail, suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the police, and seen her reputation destroyed. According to one human rights monitor, 80 percent of adultery related Hudood cases are filed without supporting evidence. The Commission found that the main victims of the Hudood Ordinances are poor women who are unable to defend themselves against slanderous charges. These ordinances also have been used by husbands and other male family members to punish their wives and female relatives for reasons having nothing to do with sexual propriety, according to the Commission. One NGO run by a prominent human rights activist reported that 262 women were on trial for adultery in Lahore as of May. An additional 33 were awaiting trial and 26 had been convicted under the Hudood Ordinances. At the end of 2000, 511 women were awaiting trial for adultery under the Hudood Ordinance in Lahore; 400 in Peshawar; and 300 in Mardan.
Marital rape is not a crime. The Hudood Ordinances abolished punishment for raping one's wife. However, the Commission of Inquiry for women has recommended reinstating penalties for marital rape. Marriage registration (nikah) sometimes occurs years before a marriage is consummated (rukh sati). The nikah (unconsummated) marriage is regarded as a formal marital relationship, and thus a woman or girl cannot be raped by a man to whom her marriage is registered, even if the marriage has not yet been entered into formally. Maulvi Qari Mohammad Sharif, a cleric, was granted bail and pardoned by President Rafiq Tarar in late December 2000. Sharif had been convicted of marital rape and mutilating his wife in a highly publicized case in 1994. Sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, the punishment was reduced on appeal to 10 years before he was released. Government officials declined to comment on the rationale for Sharif's pardon.
There are numerous reports of women killed or mutilated by male relatives who suspect them of adultery. Few such cases are investigated seriously and those who are arrested often are acquitted on the grounds that they were "provoked," or for a lack of witnesses. While the tradition of killing those suspected of illicit sexual relations in so-called "honor killings," in order to restore tribal or family honor, applies equally to offending men and women, women are far more likely to be killed than men. The PWO estimated that as many as 300 women are killed each year by their husbands or family, mostly as a result of "honor killings," known as "karo/kari" (or adulterer/adulteress) in Sindh. More than 800 women were killed by family members in so-called "honor killings" during the year 2001. In March 2000, women's rights activists told a local newspaper that the frequency of honor killings was on the rise. By the end of 2000, the PWO had collected data on 369 honor killings. The problem is believed to be even more extensive in rural Sindh. "Karo/kari" killings are common in rural Sindh and Baluchistan. The HRCP reported an average of 30 killings per month for the first half of 2000. Tribal custom among the Baluch and the Pathans sanctions such killings. The Commission of Inquiry for Women has rejected the concept of "honor" as a mitigating circumstance in a murder case and recommended that such killings be treated as simple murder. Women who are the victims of rape may become the victims of their families' vengeance against the victims' "defilement." The Government has failed to take action in honor killing cases, particularly when influential families are involved. Mehvish Miankhel, a member of an influential political family in Dera Ghazi Khan, allegedly was killed by her uncle in April. Her uncle had accused her of having an affair with the family's driver. A criminal complaint was filed against Miankhel's uncle, father, grandfather, two cousins, and two maternal uncles on July 7. All were granted prearrest bail and were not detained. In December 2000, Khalida was killed by her uncle and other relatives who accused her of having illicit relations with Momin Gorchani. Khalida's relatives also injured Momin's father and another one of his relatives. Police arrested one person in connection with the murder. In June 2000, a man from Yar Hussain in the NWFP allegedly killed his 20-year-old daughter, Mumlikat Bibi, while she was sleeping. The father reportedly opposed his daughter's efforts to choose a spouse without parental consent. AI also reported that if an accused adulteress is killed, and the adulterer manages to escape this fate, he may be required under the karo/kari tradition to compensate the family of the accused adulteress; sometimes, a woman from the adulterer's family is given compensation to repair the honor of the adulteress' family.
Female genital mutilation (FGM), which is condemned widely by international health experts as damaging to both physical and psychological health, is practiced by the Bohra Muslims. There are an estimated 100,000 Bohra Muslims in the country; the Bohra observe a form of Shi'a Islam that was practiced in medieval Cairo. There were no available statistics on the extent to which the Bohra practice FGM; however, the practice of FGM in the Bohra community reportedly has declined in the last few years.
In December 2000, speakers at a seminar stated that large numbers of working women face discrimination and sexual harassment. Women routinely are denied equal opportunities for promotion, pay, and benefits. Additionally women in some sectors are denied days off and overtime benefits.
Trafficking in women also is a serious problem.
The value of women's testimony is not equal to that of a man's in certain court cases tried under the Hudood Ordinances or before a Federal Shariat Court.
During the year 2001, the Government held elections and installed local governments where women compose one-third of the members. Federal Ministers, especially the Minister for Women's Development, have continued to speak out against "honor killings" at public seminars and symposiums. In late April, President Tarar issued an amendment ordinance to the citizenship law to enable women married to foreigners to claim citizenship for their children.
Children sometimes are kidnaped to be used as forced labor, for ransom, or to seek revenge against an enemy. In September 2000, an antiterrorist court in Karachi convicted five men for kidnaping the 15-year-old son of a businessman in January 2000; three of the five defendants were sentenced to death. In rural areas, it is a traditional practice for poor parents to give children to rich landlords in exchange for money or land, according to human rights advocates. These children frequently are abused by these landlords and held as bonded laborers for life. Landlords also have been known to pay impoverished parents for the "virginity" of their daughters, whom the landlords then rape. Incidents of rape are common. A 1996 survey conducted in Punjab showed that 40 percent of reported rape victims were minors, with the youngest victim in the study only 8 years old. A UNICEF-sponsored study of Punjab found that 15 percent of girls reported having been abused sexually. Sexual abuse of boys is more common in segments of society where women and girls traditionally remain within the home. According to a local NGO, 459 boys and 615 girls were reported to have been sexually abused during the year 2001.
A newspaper reported that there were 1,025 incidents of sexual abuse of children between January and September 2000; in the majority of cases, children were abused by acquaintances. There were credible reports of boys being sexually abused in a jail located in Punjab province in 2000. At a May 2000 conference in Karachi on trafficking in women, speakers claimed that more than 15,000 child sex workers were operating in Lahore and other cities. NGO's estimated that this number remained stable or increased slightly during the year 2001. Child prostitution involving boys and girls widely is known to exist but rarely is discussed. All forms of prostitution are illegal, and a person who abducts a child under the age of 10 and commits sexual assault may be sentenced to death. The Shabab-i-Milli, the youth wing of the Jaamat-i-Islami party, launched a campaign in May 2000 to combat child prostitution by raising public awareness of the problem. The Commission of Inquiry for Women has observed that child sexual abuse is a subject that "has been virtually ignored," and called for a public education campaign on the subject, including introducing it into school curriculums and training nurses and doctors in how to handle such cases.
In the aftermath of a September 2000 prison riot in Hyderabad, military personnel discovered that adult prisoners abused sexually about 50 imprisoned minors. The Government did not take action by year's end 2001, nor is it likely to take action, against prison officials for permitting the abuse. According to a 1999 Human Rights Watch report, children in detention also are subjected to torture and mistreatment.
Children's rights theoretically are protected by numerous laws that incorporate elements of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, the Government frequently fails to enforce these laws.
In July 2000, the Government passed the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance. The ordinance abolished the death penalty for minors under 18 years of age, mandates that the Government provide children with legal assistance, prohibits children from being tried for crimes with adults, and prohibits the proceedings of juvenile courts from being published.
According to press reports, there are several madrassahs where children are confined illegally and kept in unhealthy conditions, and there were reports of the abuse of children studying at madrassahs during the year 2001. Sexual abuse of boys is believed widely to occur at some madrassahs.
Trafficking in children is a serious problem.
Child labor is a significant problem. Many children begin working at a very early age. At the age of 5 or 6, many female children assume responsibility for younger siblings.
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
There are no specific domestic legal provisions dealing with trafficking in persons, although the suspended Constitution and various laws deal with certain elements of trafficking; trafficking in persons, especially in women, is a serious problem. The law prohibits the trafficking of women under age 21 into the country for sexual purposes and kidnaping, and the suspended Constitution prohibits slavery and forced labor. Trafficking in women is protected by powerful criminal interests and operates relatively openly. The Government has done little to stem the flow of women trafficked into the country or to help victims of trafficking. For example, despite the estimated thousands of women involved, only 88 cases were registered in Sindh between 1990 and 1999. Of the 260 men and 110 women arrested, 87 were charged and only 7 were sentenced. The Government does not provide direct assistance to victims but does provide legal assistance and funding for NGO's that assist victims.
Pakistan is a source, transit, and destination country for trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation, but more significantly, for use as bonded labor. Thousands of women are trafficked into the country every year, mainly from Bangladesh. Smaller numbers of Burmese, Sri Lankan, Indian, Afghan, and Central Asian women also are trafficked into the country and some Pakistani women are trafficked overseas, mainly to Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia to work as prostitutes or domestic workers. East Asian and Bangladeshi women are trafficked through the country en route to other destinations. Trafficking in women has occurred for decades; there likely are several hundred thousand trafficked women in the country. A Karachi-based NGO estimates that 100 to 150 women who are trafficked into the country each day from Bangladesh are sold for domestic labor throughout the country and for prostitution in Karachi; other estimates state that approximately 50 women are trafficked into the country per day. Press reports indicate that the buying and selling of brides persists in parts of the NWFP and Punjab.
Trafficking victims usually are deceived with false prospects of marriage or offers of legitimate jobs in the country. Traffickers also use force, abduction, threats, and coercion to entice and control trafficking victims. Traffickers generally are affiliated with powerful criminal interests. There have been some reports of lower level official complicity and corruption with regard to trafficking. The border police, immigration officers, customs officials, police, and other officials (including members of the judiciary), reportedly sometimes facilitate trafficking in return for bribes.
Trafficking victims do not have legal residency and, if found by the authorities, are detained, arrested, and prosecuted for violation of immigration laws or of the Hudood ordinances. The Hudood ordinances criminalize extramarital sexual relations and place a burden on female rape victims because testimony of female victims and witnesses carry no legal weight. If a woman brings charges of rape to court and the case cannot be proved, the court automatically takes the rape victim's allegations as a confession of her own complicity and acknowledgment of consensual adultery. These laws discourage trafficking victims from bringing forward charges. Without money to pay for bail, trafficking victims often are bailed out by their pimps, who require them to return to prostitution. Small numbers of escaped victims of trafficking end up in shelters run by NGO's that assist trafficking victims, but most do not because there are few such shelters available. Many women who are not bailed out are not repatriated. Since most Bangladeshi women arrive without documentation, the Bangladesh High Commission will not take responsibility for them, and they remain confined to women's shelters. Some have been repatriated at the expense of individuals who discover them and pay for their return home. The Commission of Inquiry for Women drew attention to the problem of "enforced prostitution and trafficking in women," noting that women are the victims of exploitation by police and pimps, and should be treated with compassion. One NGO, Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA), has reported extensively on trafficking and has provided documentation of the problem; several other NGO's occasionally work on the issue. Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid and the Society for Human Rights and Prisoner's Aid run specific programs to assist trafficking victims, and a few other local NGO's also assist trafficking victims on a smaller scale.
Prices for trafficked women start at approximately $550 (PRs 30,000) but can go as high as approximately $5,000 (PRs 260,000). Physical beauty and educational level are major factors in determining prices. Some women sold in shops in Karachi reportedly are sent to Persian Gulf countries, where they are slaves; women sent to rural Pakistan reportedly are de facto slaves. Buyers in such shops reportedly purchase women for purposes of labor or sex; some are married to their buyers.
Young boys are trafficked to the Persian Gulf to work as camel jockeys; reports estimate that there are between several hundred and a few thousand boys between the ages of 3 and 10 working as camel jockeys, mostly in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Most are from Punjab or Sindh. There are approximately 1,000 such children in Qatar, and there are reports of such children in Saudi Arabia. Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab is a center for trafficking in children, and is a major source of children trafficked as camel jockeys. The majority of these boys are sent to the Gulf countries by their parents, landless agricultural workers who receive either a monthly sum of money or a lump sum for their child's labor. Parents occasionally also accompany their children to the Persian Gulf. However, a significant minority of these children are abducted by traffickers in the country and sent abroad without the knowledge of their parents. The boys generally are sent to the Gulf countries under the passports of women posing as their mothers. The conditions such children live under often are poor, and many children reportedly are injured or maimed while racing camels. The children reportedly do not receive proper medical care or schooling, and deliberately are underfed to keep them as light as possible. When they become too old to race, they are sent back to the country and left to fend for themselves. In February 2000, the district administration in Multan approached the Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE for the return of two children reportedly sold to a UAE citizen for approximately $400 (PRs 20,000) each, and the federal investigation agency filed charges against four residents of Multan who were involved in the deal. As of year's end, there was no report on the return of the boys. Within the country, children sometimes are kidnaped to be used as forced labor, for ransom, or to seek revenge against an enemy. In rural areas, it is a traditional practice for poor parents to give children to rich landlords in exchange for money or land, according to human rights advocates. These children frequently are abused by these landlords and held as bonded laborers for life.
Narcotics have become a multiple challenge to law enforcement authorities. In the late 1980s, Pakistan and Afghanistan exported nearly half the world's heroin, and, although their relative share declined somewhat thereafter, they remain among the world's major producers. Pakistan, especially under United States prodding, has attempted to cut back the cultivation of poppies, but the government's influence has not extended effectively into tribal areas. In addition, various political and economic forces have been brought to bear to keep narcotics police from pursuing their work too assiduously. In 1991 the Pakistan Narcotics Control Board--an organization that was supposed to have close ties to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration--was so riddled with corruption that its new director had to fire a majority of the staff. The vast profits generated by the narcotics industry not only had corrupted the enforcement authorities, including, it was rumored, some military units, but also had funded many other related crimes.
Pakistan is a source and transit country for opiates and cannabis. Pakistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In 1998, Pakistan advanced toward its goal to eliminate opium poppy in the year 2000 by reducing opium poppy cultivation by 26 percent. The atmosphere for cooperation on drug control between Pakistan and the U.S. also improved significantly. Pakistan extradited two narcotics fugitives to the U.S., an improvement over 1997, when none were extradited, but failure to apprehend and/or extradite U.S. fugitives is a continuing problem. There are 22 pending U.S. extradition requests. The Government of Pakistan (GOP) extended application of the Control of Narcotic Substances Act (CNSA) and the Anti-Narcotics Force Act (ANFA) to tribal areas in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), where many narcotics violators were able to find sanctuary in the past. The Prime Minister approved a 5-year drug control master plan in principle, and cabinet approval is expected early in 1999. Unfortunately, the overall record on narcotics seizures was disappointing, with heroin seizures down by 48 percent.
The government prevented the re-emergence of heroin/morphine laboratories in Pakistan, although the labs simply moved across the border into still chaotic Afghanistan. The Prime Minister pledged, in November, to take steps to strengthen Pakistan's law enforcement agencies, particularly the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).
In general, Pakistan's efforts to attack narcotics problems were constrained by a severe economic crisis which restricted its ability to finance anti-drug programs. In a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Clinton in December, the President welcomed Pakistan's efforts to combat narcotics and offered additional funds for law enforcement training. The Prime Minister said that he appreciated the offer, which he said would strengthen Pakistan's counternarcotics enforcement agencies and meet common goals, including interdiction, extraditions, and eradication.
According to USG figures, Pakistan produced an estimated 65 metric tons (mts) of opium from approximately 3,030 hectares (ha) of poppy in 1998. While Pakistan has been reducing its opium production, neighboring Afghanistan has become the world's second largest producer. As a result, Pakistan faces major challenges caused by the flow of opiates from Afghanistan and by Pakistan's rising heroin addiction problem. In addition, Pakistan is an important transit country for the precursor chemical acetic anhydride (AA), en route to Afghanistan's heroin laboratories. Pakistan's only AA factory was closed down in 1998. Chemical controls are adequate, but, despite the closure of the country's only AA factory, there is still diversion of AA from licit imports. Pakistan is not a major money laundering country, but, given the level of drug trafficking, money laundering almost certainly occurs.
Corruption is widespread in Pakistan, and the low salaries paid by government to enforcement and judicial personnel create a substantial risk which threatens the integrity of law enforcement and judicial institutions. However, to our knowledge, neither the GOP (as a matter of policy) nor any senior government official encourages or facilitates the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. In 1998, a Swiss judge indicted Asif Ali Zadari, former Investment Minister and husband of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, on a charge of money laundering, a charge he denies.
Corruption also extends to the prison system. In March 1998, the Assistant Superintendent of the Jail in Mardan, NWFP was arrested for assisting a narcotics smuggler to escape. It appeared that the escape was planned well ahead of time. The prisoner first managed to get transferred to Mardan from a more secure prison in Peshawar on the pretext that his presence was required in Mardan in connection with a divorce case filed against him by his wife in Mardan's family court.
During 1998, there were numerous reports that one member of Pakistan's National Assembly, Lal Karim, was openly exhorting farmers in NWFP to grow opium poppy. Several members of NWFP's provincial assembly also engaged in that activity.
3,030 ha of opium poppy were cultivated in Pakistan in 1998, compared to 4,100 ha in 1997. This 26 percent decrease was especially impressive because it was accomplished despite favorable weather and the fact that opium gum was being bought from farmers at double the price paid the previous year when poppy cultivation increased by 13 percent. All opium poppy is produced in NWFP. The largest producer continued to be Dir district with 1,800 ha. Dir was followed by Mohmand agency with 570 ha and Bajaur agency with 430 ha. Opium production for 1998 was estimated by the USG to be 65 MT, compared to 85 MT in 1997.
Both cannabis and opiates transit Pakistan. Afghanistan is the primary source of opiates passing through Pakistan. Afghanistan produced an estimated 1,350 MT of opium in 1998, compared to Pakistan's 65 MT. Afghan opiates enter Pakistan's Baluchistan and NWFP provinces. Opiates exit from Pakistan's southern Makran coastal area through cargo shipments and from international airports located in Pakistan's major cities. They also transit land routes from Baluchistan to Iran and from the tribal agencies of NWFP to Chitral area of NWFP where they re-enter Afghanistan at Badakshan province for transit through Tajikistan.
An estimated 25 mts of Afghan opium remains in Pakistan for local consumption. It is estimated that Pakistan uses 92 mts of opium a year to meet the needs of Pakistani addicts; however, decreasing production of opium in Pakistan means that more Afghan opium is destined for the Pakistani market. Some opiates cross Pakistan en route to the Indian market. An estimated 80 percent of the heroin from southwest Asia is destined for the European market. Most of the balance goes to North America. Couriers who were intercepted this year were attempting to travel to Europe, Thailand and the Middle East. Due to border tensions between Afghanistan and Iran and increased vigilance of their Afghan borders by Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, it is highly probable that an increased volume of opiates entered Pakistan from Afghanistan in 1998.
Internet research assisted by Jordon M. Cruz