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Report portrays grave plight of human rights in Pakistan’s Sindh province

Visual from the event where the HRCP report was launched (Photo: X/@HRCP87)

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s 2023 annual report has revealed a grave state of human rights in Pakistan’s Sindh province with a significant rise in street crime, kidnappings, and violations of both civic and fundamental rights.

The HRCP report has stated that heavy-handed response from state authorities, along with enforced disappearances and violence targeting vulnerable groups, has further underscored the seriousness of the situation. It has also highlighted the urgent need for action.

According to the report, instances of civic and fundamental rights violations persisted throughout the year.

The May 9 riots — which erupted after former Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s arrest — resulted in damage to public and private properties, with over 25 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders, including former Sindh governor Imran Ismail, being arrested due to the state’s forceful intervention.

The rise in enforced disappearances of various individuals, including political workers, nationalists, lawyers, and journalists, continued with at least 175 reported cases across different districts.

Additionally, a security operation near Sakrand resulted in extrajudicial killings and injuries.

Furthermore, vulnerable groups in Sindh faced additional challenges, with numerous Afghan refugees and migrants being arrested and deported following an executive order by the federal caretaker government, the report stated.

It also emphasized that civil society’s response in Sindh was ‘divided’, with a significant faction supporting the deportation policy. Moreover, violence against women and children persisted, with 546 reported cases of child abuse in Sindh in 2023.

Although the minimum wage for unskilled workers was raised to PKR 32,000, the implementation remained inadequate in many workplaces.

Attacks on places of worship belonging to religious minorities, particularly the Hindu and Ahmadi communities, as well as instances of forced conversions, were reported, prompting affected communities to protest against these violations, the report added.