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Department Seal


DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Pakistan is an Islamic republic in which power is shared 
between the Prime Minister, as the leader of the National 
Assembly, and the President.  The Chief of Army Staff also 
wields considerable influence on many major policy decisions 
and is the third member of the unofficial "troika" which 
governs the nation.

This division of power was clearly illustrated in 1993, when 
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan 
engaged in a struggle for power that led to a compromise 
brokered by the Chief of Army Staff.  Both the President and 
Prime Minister resigned, a neutral caretaker government was 
formed, and elections for the National Assembly and provincial 
assemblies were held.  The national and provincial assembly 
elections held on October 6 and 9 were generally seen by both 
international and domestic observers to have been relatively 
free and fair, and resulted in a new Government under the 
leadership of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of the Pakistan 
People's Party (PPP).  PPP candidate Farooq Leghari was chosen 
President in indirect elections held November 13.  In the early 
months of the new Parliament, both the Government and 
opposition participated in the legislative process, engendering 
considerable free and open public debate of issues.

Responsibility for internal security rests primarily with the 
police, although paramilitary forces, such as the Rangers and 
Frontier Constabulary, are charged with maintaining law and 
order in frontier areas.  Police forces are under provincial 
control, as are paramilitary forces when assisting in law and 
order operations.  Both forces committed human rights abuses in 
1993.  The military continued its traditional role as the 
guarantor of law and order when the police force, which is 
poorly equipped and trained, fails to meet its mandate.  The 
army and paramilitary forces, under the nominal control of the 
Sindh provincial government (but under the effective control of 
the army and central Government), continued their operation 
begun in May 1992 to help restore law and order in Sindh 
province, sparking credible charges of human rights violations 
by the army units involved and of selective targeting of 
certain political elements in Sindh.  

Pakistan, a poor country with a per capita income of $414, has 
a mixed economy of both state-run and private industries and 
financial institutions.  The Constitution assures the right to 
private property and of private businesses to operate freely in 
most sectors of the economy.  The Government is pursuing an 
ambitious program of economic reform, emphasizing the 
privatization of government-owned financial institutions, 
industrial units, and utilities.  Cotton textiles and apparel, 
rice, and leather products are the principal export products.

There was no significant change in the human rights situation 
in 1993, with serious problems remaining in several areas.  
Government harassment of political opponents declined during 
the year, especially after the neutral caretaker government 
took power in July.  However, repression against a Sindh-based 
political party continued.  The arbitrary detention, arrest, 
torture, and other abuse of prisoners and detainees continued 
to be a serious problem, and there were no significant efforts 
to reform the police or judicial systems or to prosecute and 
punish those responsible for abuses.  Religious zealots 
continued to discriminate against and persecute non-Muslims, 
basing their activities in part on discriminatory legislation 
against religious minorities.  The Government did little to 
curb these activities.  Sectarian riots between the Sunni and 
Shi'a communities were less intense,  but religious and 
ethnic-based rivalries resulted in numerous murders and 
occasional civil disturbances.  Traditional social and legal 
constraints kept women in a subordinate position in society, 
and significant restraints remained on workers' rights.  The 
use of child and bonded labor remained widespread in spite of 
legislation to restrict these practices.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Extrajudicial killings, often in the form of staged "police 
encounters"--shootouts resulting in the death of suspects--
continued in 1993.  Most of these killings occurred in rural 
Sindh as part of the army's law and order program "Operation 
Cleanup."  The frequency of such deaths at army hands, however, 
appeared to decline in 1993.  There were also scores of 
credible reports from the media and human rights monitors 
concerning prisoners' deaths while in police custody, including 
reports of instances in which prisoners alleged to have been 
killed in shootouts probably died as a result of police torture.

In May, Azeem Tariq, chairman of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement 
(MQM) political party, was assassinated.  Tariq was a 
controversial figure who had enemies within his own party as 
well as in the security forces.  Two persons were arrested and 
charged with Tariq's death; their trial had yet to begin at 
year's end.

In July a man in Islamabad accused of passing counterfeit 
currency was found hanging by the neck in the jail's bathroom 
following police interrogation.  The police claimed the death 
was suicide, but the medical report did not support this cause 
of death and said there was evidence of torture.  Following 
widespread news coverage of the case, former Prime Minister 
Sharif ordered an investigation, but no police officials are 
known to have been charged or punished.

In late July, Nazeer Ahmed was arrested by police in Karachi 
for alleged theft and severely tortured for several days until 
his death on August 3.  The police official who arrested and 
allegedly tortured Ahmed reportedly sought revenge because of a 
personal vendetta.  Ahmed had reportedly been subjected to 
numerous types of torture, including having his testicles 
ruptured with pliers.  The case is being investigated by local 
authorities.  One of the five police officials accused of 
torturing Ahmed to death had been arrested by year's end. 

Law enforcement personnel were rarely charged or tried for 
killings, which are estimated to have numbered in the hundreds 
in 1993.  According to government figures, 660 prisoners died 
in Pakistani jails during the past 5 years, all reportedly from 
natural causes.

Security forces also used excessive force which resulted in 
deaths of suspects.  One such case occurred in May when 
Islamabad police stopped a businessman at a checkpoint and 
ordered him to prove his relationship to the woman traveling in 
his car.  During the ensuing altercation, the businessman was 
shot and killed.  At year's end the accused police officer 
remained in jail pending trial.  

The October elections were among the most peaceful in 
Pakistan's history.  Still, numerous acts of violence, 
including the assassination of candidates, occurred.  Ghulam 
Haider Wyne, former Punjab Chief Minister and a Pakistan Muslim 
League (Nawaz Group) candidate for the National Assembly, was 
assassinated while campaigning in his home district.  The 
police stated that the killing was an act of revenge by a local 
criminal gang for the killing of one of its members by the 
police, which occurred while Wyne was Chief Minister.  Two 
Pakistan People's Party provincial assembly candidates also 
were murdered during the campaign.  No arrests were made in any 
of these cases.  Several unsuccessful assassination attempts 
against candidates were reported during the campaign, and a 
number of political workers from various political parties were 
killed or injured.

During 1993 numerous bombs were detonated in various parts of 
the country, especially in Sindh and Punjab provinces, causing 
some deaths.  The Government has been unable to determine the 
groups or individuals responsible.  Some observers believe the 
bombings are unrelated attacks aimed at rival ethnic or 
religious groups.  Ethnic and sectarian tensions continued to 
be a cause of politically motivated killings, as leaders of 
both Shi'a and Sunni organizations were assassinated.  Ethnic 
and religiously motivated riots also continued to occur, 
although to a lesser extent than in 1992.  The most serious 
riot occurred in August, when Sunni and Shi'a organizations 
clashed in Gilgit, leaving 12 dead and leading to the arrest of 
more than 100 persons.

Tribal violence in Balochistan often resulted in bloodshed.  A 
continuing dispute between two factions of the Bugti tribe in 
Balochistan turned increasingly violent and led to the 
assassination of several tribal leaders.  Some 27 persons were 
killed when two factions of the Magsi tribe clashed near Jhal 
Magsi, Balochistan.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of government-instigated disappearances.  

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

There continued to be persuasive evidence of police 
mistreatment, including torture, of detainees.  Police and 
jailers routinely use force to elicit confessions and compel 
persons under detention to incriminate others.  Beating, 
whipping the soles of the feet with rubber whips, sexual 
assault, and prolonged isolation continue to be serious 
problems.  When deaths result, suicide or natural causes are 
the commonly offered explanation.

Police frequently use the threat of abuse to extort money from 
prisoners and their families.  Whole families have been 
detained to force a relative, the subject of an arrest warrant, 
to surrender.

There were continuing credible reports of the sexual abuse of 
women by police.  Some women under detention are reportedly 
coerced by police officers to trade sexual favors for their 
release; other women are simply raped.  Although there is 
increasingly widespread press coverage in the English-language 
print media of such cases, this abuse is often not reported due 
to societal taboos, police intimidation, and family pressure.  
There are few policewomen to perform matron duties, despite 
regulations requiring that policewomen be present for the 
questioning or detention of female suspects in station houses.  

Despite the promulgation of regulations in 1991 to prohibit 
police from keeping women overnight in custody, women are 
arbitrarily detained overnight and are sexually abused.  Upon 
release, these women are often ostracized by their family and 
friends and barred from their homes.  Government efforts to 
bring an end to sexual abuse by the police have had little 
effect.  Police accused of abuse are seldom tried and 
punished.  Police assigned to investigate abuses by other 
police generally shield their colleagues from such charges, and 
courts seldom charge policemen with offenses.  Those who 
attempt to bring charges against police are often threatened 
and drop the charges.  However, in December four police 
officers from Swabi were convicted in Peshawar for illegal 
confinement and rape of a woman.  They are appealing the 
conviction.  In an effort to reduce police abuse of women, in 
the final 3 months of 1993 the new Government of Prime Minister 
Bhutto announced plans to open "women's police stations" 
staffed by female personnel.  As of year's end, one women's 
police station had been opened in Rawalpindi.

There continued to be credible reports that some ethnic 
political parties tortured opponents and, in some cases, used 
torture to enforce party discipline among their own members.  
There were credible reports that the dissident rival faction of 
the MQM tortured some members of the mainline MQM.

The Hadood Ordinances, promulgated by the central Government in 
1979, were an attempt to make Pakistan's Penal Code more 
Islamic.  These Ordinances provide harsh "hadd" punishments for 
violating the Islamic Code of Behavior, including stoning to 
death for unlawful sexual relations and the amputation of limbs 
for other crimes.  In practice, the standards of evidence for 
imposing these punishments are exceptionally high, and to date 
they have never been carried out.  Nonetheless, these laws 
apply to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and weigh most heavily 
on women.  A woman who reports a case of rape to the 
authorities or files for a divorce can find herself charged 
with adultery under these ordinances.  All consensual 
extramarital sexual relations are considered violations of the 
Hadood Ordinances.  The predominantly male police force 
reportedly uses the Hadood Ordinances to threaten people on the 
basis of personal and political animosities.  Some human rights 
monitors believe that international pressure and publicity 
surrounding the Hadood Ordinances have reduced the number of 
Hadood cases.  They report that, in contrast to past years, 
women are now frequently granted bail for Hadood offenses, and 
convictions have been markedly reduced.

Three classes of prison facilities exist.  Class "c" cells 
generally hold common criminals.  They often have dirt floors, 
no furnishings, and poor food.  The use of handcuffs and 
fetters is common.  Prisoners in these cells reportedly suffer 
the most abuse, such as beatings and being forced to kneel for 
long periods.  Conditions in "b" and "a" cells are markedly 
better, with the latter reserved for "prominent" persons.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Pakistani Law permits the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of a local 
district to order detention without charge for 30 days for 
persons suspected of threatening public order and safety.  This 
preventive detention is renewable by the DC for 30 days at a 
time, up to a total of 90 days.  For other alleged criminal 
offenses, a suspect may be held for 24 hours by police without 
charge.  If the police can provide material proof that the 
physical detention of the accused is necessary to conduct the 
investigation, the court may extend detention without charges 
to a total of 15 days.  In practice, laws on detention are not 
strictly observed.  Police often hold prisoners without charge 
until challenged by the court and then release them if they do 
not have a case.  The police are not required to notify anyone 
when an arrest is made.  There are allegations that the police 
sometimes detain citizens arbitrarily without charge or on 
false charges in order to extort payment for their release.  

The law on pretrial detention has recently been amended to 
require that suspects be brought to trial within 30 days of 
their arrest.  However, in a case without complications, a 
trial will ususally commence about 6 months after the initial 
filing of charges.  Family and lawyers are legally permitted to 
visit inmates.  In practice this access is generally granted.

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have a separate 
legal system, the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), which 
recognizes the doctrine of "collective responsibility."  Under 
the FCR, legal procedures provide that fellow tribesmen of a 
suspect may be indefinitely detained or the village blockaded 
by the Government pending surrender or punishment of the 
suspect by the tribe.  Such authority continued to be exercised 
in 1993; in one case, over 40 members of the Afridi tribe were 
detained within the settled districts due to attacks by other 
Afridi tribesmen against a government road project.

The Sindh provincial government detained hundreds of MQM Party 
workers and linked them to unsolved criminal cases, often with 
little evidence.  Many of the PPP workers who were arrested in 
1992 have been granted bail while they await trial on criminal 
counts.  Some 200 political activists are still being held in 

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Pakistan's judicial system involves several different court 
systems with overlapping and, in some instances, competing 
jurisdictions.  There are civil and criminal tracks with 
special courts for high-profile cases and the federal Shari'a 
appeals courts for certain Hadood offenses.  The progression in 
the civil legal system is:  civil court, district court, high 
court, and Supreme Court.  The progression in the criminal 
system is:  magistrate, sessions court, high court, and Supreme 
Court.  The special courts were created to handle sensational 
cases or cases of great public interest.  Such cases are 
referred to the special courts by the Federal Government.  The 
Federal Shari'a court and the Shari'a bench of the Supreme 
Court serve as appeals courts for certain convictions in the 
criminal court under the Hadood Ordinances.  In addition, the 
Federal Shari'a court may and does overturn legislation if it 
is not consistent with the tenets of Islam.  However, these 
cases may be and are appealed to the Shari'a bench of the 
Supreme Court.  

The courts traditionally experience pressure from the 
executive.  Critics point to the President's power to transfer 
high court justices or to decline to grant new appointees 
tenure as devices that provide the executive undue influence 
over the provincial high courts and especially over the lower
levels of the judicial system, the special terrorist courts, 
and the so-called "speedy courts."  Judges in the special 
courts are retired jurists who are hired on renewable contracts 
and many of whose decisions are influenced by their desire to 
maintain their position.  However, the provincial high courts 
and the Supreme Court exhibited independence, deciding a number 
of important cases against the Government.  For example, the 
Court ruled that President Ghulam Ishaq Khan's dismissal of 
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was unconstitutional (see Section 
3).  Nevertheless, the judicial process continued to be impeded 
by bureaucratic infighting and inactivity and the overlapping 
jurisdictions of the different court systems.  The creation of 
the "speedy courts" to speed up the judiciary system has not 
significantly eased the backlog of cases.  Scores of positions 
in the lower magistracy remained unfilled.  Persons in jail 
awaiting trial often are held for periods longer than the 
sentence they would receive if convicted.  This problem is 
especially acute among Africans and citizens of other South 
Asian countries jailed for having overstayed their visas or for 
being involved in the drug trade.

The civil judicial system provides for an open trial, 
cross-examination, representation by an attorney, and appeal of 
sentences.  Attorneys are appointed for indigents only in 
capital cases.  There are no jury trials.  Owing to the limited 
number of judges, the heavy backlog of cases, and outdated 
court procedures, cases routinely drag on for years.  In both 
the Hadood 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 
the accused in "nonbailable" offenses should be granted bail if 
accused of a crime where the sentence is less than 10 years.  
In July the 1992 presidential ordinance revoking the statutory 
right to bail in cases where trials proved lengthy was allowed 
to lapse without being renewed.  However, human rights groups 
credibly complain that bail is set, often purposely, at 
unreasonably high levels for indigent defendants.

A 1990 Shari'a court decision resulted in the Islamic concepts 
of Qisas (roughly an "eye for an eye") and Diyat ("blood 
money") being made part of the Penal Code, through the Qisas 
and Diyat Ordinance.  The ordinance allows compensation to be 
paid to a victim's family in lieu of the accused receiving 
punishment.  As a result, wealthy or influential persons can 
often escape punishment for such crimes as murder and assault.  
In one case, a convicted murderer received no punishment 
because he paid blood money to the victim's family, while his 
accomplices received sentences of life in prison.  The right to 
seek pardon or commutation is not available to defendants under 
the ordinance.  The Hadood, Qisas, and Diyat ordinances apply 
to both ordinary criminal courts and Shari'a courts.  Appeals 
of certain Hadood convictions involving penalties in excess of 
2 years' imprisonment are referred exclusively to the Shari'a 

Under the Hadood Ordinances, evidence for cases involving the 
harsh "hadd" punishments (see Section 1.c.) is given different 
weight depending on the religion and sex of the witness.  A 
non-Muslim may not serve as a witness against a Muslim 
offender, but may offer testimony against another non-Muslim.  
Testimony of females is not admissible for the awarding of 
"hadd" punishments (as prescribed in the Koran, e.g., 
amputation, stoning, and lashes).  In cases involving financial 
matters, the testimony of two women is required for the 
evidence to be admissible.  The evidential laws that apply to 
awarding the lesser "tazeer" punishments are roughly based on 
English common law.  

There continued to be charges that magistrates and police, 
under pressure to achieve high conviction rates, persuade 
persons in custody to plead guilty without informing them of 
the consequences.  Politically powerful persons also attempt to 
influence magistrates' decisions and have used various forms of 
pressure, including the threat of transfer, to do so.  
Magistrates also perform a wide variety of administrative 
functions for the provincial governments, reducing the time 
they devote to their judicial duties.

Administration of justice in the Federally Administered Tribal 
Areas (FATA) is normally the responsibility of the elders and 
maliks (appointed leaders) of individual tribes who, in 
response to complaints, conduct public hearings according to 
the dictates of Islamic law and tribal custom.  There is no 
professional legal representation for the accused, no provision 
for bail, and no appeal.  The usual penalties consist of fines, 
even for murder, although the Government's political agents 
directing the assemblies of elders and maliks (jirgas) have the 
authority to levy prison terms of up to 14 years.  In more 
remote areas outside the effective jurisdiction of the 
political agents, jirgas occasionally levy harsher, 
unsanctioned punishments, including flogging or death by 
shooting or stoning.  A photograph of a public flogging in the 
tribal areas was prominently featured in a local paper in 
September.  The accused received five lashes for selling and 
using heroin.  Paramilitary forces under the direction of the 
political agents frequently perform punitive actions during 
enforcement operations.  For example, in raids on criminal 
activities the authorities have been known to damage 
surrounding homes as extrajudicial punishment of residents for 
having tolerated nearby criminal activity.  

Cases referred to the Federal Shari'a court are heard jointly 
by Islamic scholars and high court judges using ordinary 
criminal procedures.  Cases referred to the Shari'a bench of 
the Supreme Court are heard jointly by Islamic scholars and 
Supreme Court judges using ordinary criminal procedures.  
Judges and attorneys must be Muslim and be familiar with 
Islamic law.  Within these limits, defendants in the Shari'a 
court are entitled to a lawyer of their choice.  If accused of 
a bailable offense, defendants in the Shari'a court are 
entitled to bail and may be granted bail for nonbailable 
offenses, as noted above.

The Suppression of Terrorist Activities (Special Courts) Act of 
1975 established special courts to try cases involving crimes 
of a "terrorist" nature (e.g., murder and sabotage) 
expeditiously.  In 1987 another ordinance was passed 
establishing special "speedy trial" courts to circumvent the 
judicial backlog.  The Twelfth Constitutional Amendment, passed 
by Parliament in July 1991, created another tier of special 
courts to deal with particularly heinous crimes.  Cases 
involving bomb blasts, sabotage, highway robberies, banditry, 
or kidnaping may be brought before these three types of special 
courts, and the Government may transfer cases from any other 
court to one of the special courts, or from one special court 
to another (within the same province).

In 1991 the President promulgated new versions of the Terrorist 
Affected Areas (Special Courts) Ordinance and the Special 
Courts for Speedy Trials Ordinance which made referring cases 
to special courts the exclusive domain of the Federal 
Government.  Each special court has a list of scheduled 
offenses over which it has jurisdiction.  For the "speedy 
courts," the criteria is that the case is sensational or has 
received widespread public attention.  This determination is 
made by the Federal Government.  The ordinances also 
established that an appeal to a speedy court ruling goes to the 
Supreme Appellate Court rather than to the high courts.  In 
addition, the Government may refer a broader range of cases 
involving violent criminal offenses to the special courts.  

Many legal experts believe the special courts do not provide 
for a fair trial.  Time constraints on investigations and 
trials, including the strict limitation on adjournments, 
detract from the accused's right to an adequate defense.  Some 
critics contend that the special courts' procedures have 
effectively repudiated the presumption of innocence.  They also 
cite the encroachment of the federal authorities upon the 
provincial government's constitutional authority to administer 
justice and the inherent unfairness of parallel courts to which 
cases may be assigned arbitrarily.  Another problem faced by 
those brought to trial under the special courts is obtaining 
bail.  Under the special courts' provisions, bail is denied if 
it appears to the court that it is reasonable to believe the 
accused committed a scheduled offense.

Government officials and some attorneys argue that, in spite of 
their shortcomings, the special courts are necessary due to the 
judicial backlog.  They also claim that all requirements of the 
rules of evidence still apply, the accused has the right to 
counsel, and the judges must meet the same standards as those 
appointed to a high court.  They note that decisions of the 
speedy trial courts may be appealed.  However, for these courts 
only one appeal is allowed and it may only be made through a 
special appellate bench appointed by the Government.  In late 
1993, the Bhutto Government announced that it would not refer 
any new cases to the special courts and would allow the 
constitutional authority for special courts to lapse in July 

In 1990 President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, after dissolving the 
Bhutto government, established special "accountability" 
tribunals to try members of previous federal and provincial 
governments on criminal and corruption charges.  However, only 
members of the Bhutto government, all of whom belong to the 
PPP, were charged with corruption and misconduct.  No members 
of other political parties were ever brought to trial.  Trials 
under these tribunals continued in 1993, although bail had been 
granted in all cases.  International observers maintain that 
the accountability tribunals have not met the minimum standards 
for due process needed to ensure fair trials and that the trial 
procedures prevented the accused from presenting a full 
defense.  Some Pakistani attorneys and judges, however, 
maintain that the actual conduct of the tribunals has been 
balanced and fair.  In early 1993, bail was granted to Asif 
Zardari, husband of Benazir Bhutto, in his accountability and 
criminal cases.  At year's end, Zardari was still under trial 
in one remaining accountability case.  He has been acquitted in 
the 12 other cases.  In the remaining "Presidential reference" 
cases, most notably the seven against Prime Minister Benazir 
Bhutto and the appeal of the conviction of former Law Minister 
Iftikhar Gilani, there was no movement in 1993.  These cases 
remain before the accountability tribunals.

There are individuals in Pakistan imprisoned for attempting to 
exercise their human rights, including those charged with 
blasphemy, and some political workers who may be imprisoned on 
trumped-up charges.  In addition, there are others who were 
convicted in trials which may not have been fair.  While it is 
not possible to cite a specific number, it is likely that the 
number of political prisoners could be as many as a few hundred 
(see appendix A for the definition of "political prisoner") at 
year's end.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

Police are required by law to obtain a warrant from a 
magistrate to search a house.  (No warrant is required to 
search a person.)  However, police often enter a home without a 
warrant.  In the absence of a warrant, a policeman is subject 
to charges of criminal trespass.  In practice, policemen are 
seldom, if ever, punished for illegal entry.  Pakistan 
maintains several domestic intelligence services which monitor 
politicians, political activists, suspected terrorists, and 
suspected foreign intelligence agents.  Informed sources 
maintain that wiretapping is commonplace, mail is occasionally 
intercepted and opened, and surveillance is often used.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press.  
Pakistanis are generally free to discuss and debate public 
policy issues.  However, some laws restrict free speech, such 
as laws against bringing Islam or the armed forces into 
discredit or ridicule and the Shari'a bill signed by the 
President in 1991, which calls for promoting Islam through the 
mass media and the censoring of "objectionable" and "obscene" 
material.  In addition, the Pakistan Penal Code mandates the 
death sentence for anyone convicted of blaspheming the Prophet 
Muhammad.  Most of those accused of blasphemy are Ahmadis or 
Christians.  Two persons have been convicted of blasphemy and 
sentenced to death.  Their cases are on appeal.  (See Section 

The press enjoys a high degree of freedom, but some 
restrictions apply.  A government-owned press trust still 
controls two newspapers, an English-language daily and an Urdu 
daily.  One of the two main wire services is controlled by the 
Ministry of Information, the other is privately owned.  There 
are numerous privately owned newspapers, and their circulation 
far exceeds that of the government-owned newspapers.

There was relatively free discussion of government policies and 
open criticism of the Government in the privately owned press.  
The press routinely reports remarks critical of the Government 
made by opposition politicians, and editorials reflect a broad 
spectrum of views.  Government newspapers and wire services, 
however, are circumspect in their coverage of the news and 
generally follow the government line.  Press criticism of the 
military is usually circumspect.  

The Constitution provides for the death penalty for those who 
damage the Constitution by any act, including publishing 
statements against the spirit of the Constitution.  Reporters 
and editors generally exercise self-censorship in these areas.

However, the Government exploits the privately owned 
newspapers' dependence on government advertising, an important 
source of revenue for them, as a way of influencing editorial 
policy.  The duty-free importation of newsprint is also 
controlled by the Government, nominally on the basis of a 
newspaper's circulation.  Journalists complain that newspapers 
that criticize the Government are provided less than their due 
and must pay market prices to make up the difference.  

Incidents of harassment of individual journalists, including a 
spate of burglaries at journalists' homes, occurred in 1993, 
though the incidence was less than in previous years.  The 
Sharif government harassed news organizations that criticized 
it, primarily by using the tax laws to threaten foreclosure.  
Two prominent newspapers had substantial tax bills levied 
against them far in excess of the taxes levied on other 
newspapers with comparable tax liabilities.  The cases were 
reportedly resolved when the news organizations agreed to 
change editorial content and transfer some personnel.

The Government owns and operates all radio and all but one 
semiprivate television station and strictly controls the news 
they carry.  The Shalimar Television Network (STN), a 
semiprivate television station, provides programs with 
considerable independence from government oversight.  STN began 
broadcasting Cable News Network (CNN) programs in 1990; CNN is 
shown live, but segments considered socially offensive are 
censored by the Government.  Satellite television reception, 
which has become increasingly widespread, is not subject to 
censorship or scrambling.  During the first half of 1993, the 
Sharif government severely limited the amount of coverage given 
to opposition activities during government-controlled news 
broadcasts.  In contrast, the news broadcasts during the tenure 
of the two caretaker governments displayed greater 
objectivity.  Nevertheless, many media watchers complain the 
government-controlled media continues to avoid reporting on 
controversial domestic subjects.

After passage of the Shari'a law, there was a significant 
increase in censorship of "objectionable material" on 
television, which continued in 1993.  The Ministry of 
Information keeps close watch on advertisements broadcast by 
STN, editing or removing those deemed objectionable.

Conservative religious and political groups have been active in 
promoting their own code of morality for Pakistani society.  
The Shari'a bill's passage in 1991 bolstered these groups' 
efforts by placing greater pressure on individuals to conform 
to Islamic sensibilities.  In early 1993, there was a campaign 
by religious groups and provincial governments to crack down on 
"obscene" video cassettes.  While no guidelines were 
established on obscene material, media reports stated that 
thousands of video cassettes were destroyed by police officials 
and over 100 persons were arrested.  Some were reportedly 
sentenced to several years imprisonment.

However, literary and creative works remain generally free of 
censorship.  Obscene literature, a category broadly defined by 
the Government, is subject to seizure.  Authorities have 
occasionally banned or confiscated books and magazines dealing 
with sensitive political topics.  A bookstore in Islamabad was 
raided and temporarily closed by police on December 18 
following reports that the store was selling the book 
"Encyclopedia of Religion," which allegedly contains remarks 
offensive to Islam and images of the prophet Mohammad.  The 
Muslim owner was charged with blasphemy under Section 295 C of 
the Penal Code.  The case was pending at year's end.  However, 
dramas and documentaries on once taboo subjects, including 
corruption, social privilege, narcotics, violence against 
women, and female inequality, are now shown on Pakistani 

A Print, Press, and Publications Ordinance requires the 
registration of printing presses and newspapers and allows the 
Government to confiscate newspapers or magazines deemed 
objectionable.  Foreign books must pass government censors 
before being reprinted, although the importation of the books 
is freely allowed.  Publications are occasionally banned, 
usually for objectionable religious content or political 
views.  The provincial government of Balochistan banned two 
books which allegedly promoted secessionist political movements.

Academic freedom is generally recognized by government and 
university authorities.  The atmosphere of violence and 
intolerance fostered by student organizations, typically tied 
to political parties, is a threat to academic freedom.  On 
campuses, well-armed groups of students of varying political 
persuasions clash frequently and intimidate other students, 
instructors, and administrators on matters of language, 
syllabus, examination policies, doctrine, and dress.

Human rights groups remain concerned about the implementation 
of a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that prohibits student political 
organizations on campuses.  While they acknowledge the ruling 
led to a reduction in violence on campuses in 1993, they 
question the legality of school officials determining guilt or 
innocence and expelling students they find guilty of belonging 
to a political organization.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Peaceful assembly was generally permitted.  District 
magistrates occasionally exercised their power under Section 
144 of the criminal procedure code to ban meetings of more than 
four people when demonstrations seemed likely to result in 
violence.  This provision was invoked frequently and 
arbitrarily in Sindh Province during the first half of 1993.  
Political parties had to apply for special permission to hold 
any outdoor political rallies.  The Sindh government during 
this period tended to allow its supporters to hold rallies and 
to block its opponents from doing so.  Section 144 was also 
applied by the national and provincial interim governments in 
numerous locations throughout Pakistan during the fall general 
election campaign.  While imposition of Section 144 may not 
have been necessary in every instance to maintain security, 
there is no indication that the interim governments applied 
section 144 in a biased manner.  When it was imposed in Karachi 
during the election campaign, for example, rallies of all major 
parties were banned.

Most political leaders were able to travel freely and address 
large rallies; however, leaders of politico-religious parties 
were sometimes barred from travel to certain areas if their 
presence was deemed likely to increase sectarian tensions.  
Article 17 of the Constitution provides for freedom of 
association subject to restrictions by government ordinance and 
law.  There have been no recent cases of banned groups or 

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Pakistan is an Islamic republic with a population that is 97 
percent Muslim.  The Constitution requires all laws to be 
consistent with Islam.  With notable exceptions (see below), 
members of minority groups may practice their own religion 
openly, maintain links with coreligionists in other countries, 
and travel for religious purposes.  Conversions are permitted, 
but the Government prohibits proselytizing among Muslims.

Minority groups fear that the 1991 Shari'a law's goal of 
"Islamizing" all aspects of Pakistan's government and society 
may further restrict freedom to practice their religion.  The 
religious legislation has encouraged an atmosphere of religious 
intolerance which has led to acts of violence directed at 
Ahmadis and Christians.  For example, in 1993 a landlord from 
Sindh province bulldozed over 30 homes, a church, and a school, 
destroying a 30-year old Christian village, rather than wait 
for a civil court's order in a land dispute.  No action had 
been taken against the landlord as of the year's end.

A 1974 constitutional amendment declared Ahmadis to be a 
non-Muslim minority because they do not accept Muhammad as the 
last prophet of Islam.  The Ahmadis, however, look on 
themselves as Muslims, for whom many Muslim practices are an 
important feature of their religion.  In 1984 the Government 
inserted Section 298(c) into the Pakistan Penal Code which made 
it illegal for an Ahmadi to call himself a Muslim and banned 
Ahmadis from using Muslim terminology.  The punishment is up to 
3 years' imprisonment and a fine.  Section 298(c) has been used 
since 1984 to harass Ahmadis.  According to an Ahmadi rights 
organization, as of the end of 1992 at least 2,133 Ahmadis had 
criminal cases brought against them, most of which were still 
pending before the courts.  New cases were brought during 1993.

Attacks on Ahmadi places of worship continued in 1993.  On June 
20 three youths attempted to set fire to an Ahmadi house of 
worship in Lahore while Ahmadi elders were praying there.  The 
incident was reported to the police, but no action was taken.

In 1986 legislation was passed inserting Section 295(c) into 
the Pakistan Penal Code, making blaspheming the Prophet 
Muhammad a capital offense.  The law was apparently aimed at 
Ahmadis but has been increasingly used against Christians and 
Muslims as well.  In 1992 the Senate unanimously adopted a bill 
to amend the blasphemy law so that the death penalty is 
mandatory in cases of conviction for defiling the name of the 
prophet Muhammad, and in 1993 a bill was introduced to extend 
the law to include defiling the names of the Prophet Muhammad's 
family and companions.  The latter bill, generally supported by 
anti-Shi'a groups as a means of persecuting the Shia's, had yet 
to be acted upon.  According to a respected Pakistani human 
rights organization, since 1986, 107 Ahmadis have been charged 
with blasphemy under section 295(c) in at least 25 separate 
cases.  As of the end of 1993, there had been no convictions.  
One case had been dropped, and two persons had been acquitted.  
At least four Ahmadis were charged with blasphemy in 1993.

Eight Christians have reportedly been charged with blasphemy.  
Two other Christians were stabbed to death by their accusers 
without formally being charged.  Of those charged before 1993, 
Tahir Iqbal died under mysterious circumstances in jail in 1992 
while awaiting trial, Gul Masih was convicted in 1992 and his 
appeal was still pending, and Sarwar Masih was still awaiting 
trial.  One individual was acquitted in January but remains in 
fear for his life from local religious groups.  Four of the 
eight were charged in 1993.  In one case, three Christians were 
arrested in May and accused of writing blasphemous words on a 
mosque wall in violation of Section 295(c).  One of those 
accused was Salamat Masih, a 13-year-old illiterate boy.  
Salamat was released on 50,000 rupees bail ($1,666) on November 
8.  At year's end, the two adults remain in prison.  In another 
case, Anwar Yaqoob Masih was charged with blasphemy following 
an argument with a shopkeeper over 1 rupee (less than 4 cents) 
worth of candy.  When the shopkeeper, who was a friend of Anwar 
Masih, refused to press charges, a local Muslim religious 
leader filed the charges instead.

The most prominent case of a Muslim charged with blasphemy is 
that of Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan, a noted social worker, who was 
charged with blasphemy in both Sindh and Punjab provinces.  In 
1992 charges were dropped in Sindh.  However, the charges were 
not dropped in Punjab, and at the end of the year he remained 
subject to arrest in that province.

Three Muslims are known to have been charged with blasphemy in 
1993.  Mohammad Arshad Javed was convicted of blasphemy and 
sentenced to death in February, despite being found insane by 
two government-appointed doctors.  His case has been appealed 
to the Lahore High Court.

In late 1992, the Supreme Court issued a ruling favorable to 
the Ahmadis by granting bail to members of an Ahmadi family 
accused of using Islamic expressions on wedding invitations.  
In its ruling, the Court observed that use of Islamic 
expressions by Ahmadis "does not create in a Muslim, or for 
that matter anyone else, any of the feelings of hurt, offence 
or provocation, nor is it derogatory to the holy Prophet 

In 1993, however, the Supreme Court ruled against the Ahmadis 
in a major case regarding the constitutionality of Section 
298(c).  Rejecting the argument that it violated the 
fundamental rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion 
guaranteed in the Constitution, the Court upheld the law.  The 
judge writing for the majority found that Islamic phrases are 
in essence a copyrighted trademark of the Islamic religion.  
Therefore, use of the Islamic epithets by Ahmadis was 
equivalent to copyright infringement and violated the Trademark 
Act of 1940.  The majority also found that use of certain 
Islamic phrases was equivalent to blasphemy.  Ahmadis and some 
human rights monitors fear the Supreme Court judgment upholding 
the law will lead to more cases being brought against Ahmadis 
and possibly more rapid convictions.

Pakistani passports carry a designation of religion which the 
Ahmadis find especially vexing.  Ahmadis are classified as 
"non-Muslims" on their passports, leading Saudi authorities to 
prevent them from performing the religious pilgrimage, the 
hajj.  Despite having issued an order in 1992 requiring that a 
similar designation be included on the national identity card, 
the Government did not submit implementing legislation in 
1993.  Although the order has not been formally withdrawn, 
widespread protests in 1992 appeared to have persuaded the 
Government to abandon the proposal, which is a longstanding 
demand of fundamentalist religious parties.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Pakistanis generally enjoy freedom of movement within the 
country and to travel abroad.  The Government occasionally 
prohibits movement of individuals within Pakistan through 
"externment orders" when it believes their presence will lead 
to a threat to public order.  Travel to Israel is legally 
prohibited.  Pakistanis succeed in traveling to Jerusalem for 
religious purposes.  Government employees must obtain "no 
objection certificates" before traveling abroad.  Students are 
also required to have these certificates from their 
institutions.  The Sharif government briefly used the exit 
control list during 1993 to prohibit the travel of political 
opponents.  The prohibitions were lifted following the 
dismissal of the Sharif government in July.  In November the 
Bhutto Government also placed restrictions on the exit of 
certain businessmen involved in an investment scandal.  The 
exit control list continues to be used against serious 

With the exception of those on the exit control lists, 
Pakistanis have and regularly exercise the right to emigrate.

More than 3 million Afghans fled to Pakistan as a result of the 
Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the ensuing civil war 
there.  The movement and employment of Afghans in Pakistan has 
generally not been restricted, and many Afghans reside outside 
the camps set aside for them in the Northwest Frontier Province 
(NWFP), Punjab, and Balochistan.  With the change of government 
in Kabul in 1992, over a million Afghans returned to their 
homes.  Repatriation continued in 1993, although at a much 
lower rate.  The outbreak of new fighting in Kabul in early 
1993 among different factions of the Government sparked a new 
flow of thousands of refugees into Pakistan.  Despite its 
reluctance in August 1992 to accept new refugees, the 
Government subsequently allowed as many as 80,000 new refugees 
to enter Pakistan.

Approximately 1.4 million Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan, 
where they have greater security, more economic opportunities, 
social welfare benefits, and a better human rights situation 
than in Afghanistan.  Security concerns among the refugees, 
including intraparty rivalries that mirrored the unsettled 
conditions in Afghanistan, have improved as the political 
parties focused their energies on disputes inside Afghanistan.  
There has also been an improvement in the access of women and 
girls to education and health care as group leaders gradually 
begin to accept the benefits of these services.  Nevertheless, 
life in the camps can be frustrating.  The many refugees who 
have found employment are outside of the limited security net 
provided by Pakistani labor laws.  The refugees have limited 
access to legal protection and are for the most part dependent 
on group leaders to negotiate disputes in Pakistani society and 
within their own society.

Hundreds of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are held in prisons 
throughout Pakistan, charged with immigration violations.  
Almost all of these detainees are without the documents 
necessary to prove Bangladeshi citizenship.  Many of the women 
are alleged to be in Pakistan as a result of trafficking in 
women for purposes of prostitution, and some are detained under 
the Hadood Ordinances.  The Government, with the help of the 
Bangladesh Government, took steps in 1990 to document and 
repatriate some of these Bangladeshis, but the influx 
continues, and few are able or willing to return to 
Bangladesh.  Many are released from jail into the custody of 
their exploiters, and the cycle repeats itself. 

The repatriation to Pakistan of the Biharis (Urdu-speaking 
immigrants from the Indian state of Bihar who went to East 
Pakistan, now Bangladesh, at the time of partition in 1947) 
continued to be a contentious issue.  Approximately 250,000 
Biharis have been in refugee camps in Bangladesh since 1971, 
waiting to be brought to Pakistan.  Their repatriation 
continues to be a Pakistani political issue tied to the 
country's various ethnic problems.  While the Mohajir 
community, made up of Pakistanis who emigrated from India 
during partition, actively supports Bihari repatriation, ethnic 
Sindhis oppose the move.  In 1992 the Government of Pakistan 
announced that repatriation of the Biharis would begin.  In 
January 342 Biharis were flown to Pakistan and placed in 
temporary housing in central Punjab.  No further repatriation 
occurred in 1993.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

The citizens of Pakistan have the right and the ability to 
change their government peacefully.  The President, who is 
indirectly elected, is given the power to dissolve the 
Government by Amendment 8 to the Constitution.  This 
controversial authority was used twiceduring 1993 by former 
President Ghulam Ishaq Khan.  In April the President dissolved 
the Government, but his decision was overturned by the Supreme 
Court.  In July the President again dissolved the Government, 
this time at the Prime Minister's request, in a political 
compromise which allowed for new elections in October.  The 
national and provincial assembly elections held on October 6 
and 9 were seen by both international and domestic observers to 
have been relatively free and fair.  Although some losing 
candidates alleged voter manipulation and fraud, they failed to 
produce compelling evidence.  Election observers documented 
several problems, however, including outdated and poorly 
prepared electoral rolls which disenfranchised some legitimate 
voters while allowing some fraudulent voting to take place.  
Some individuals were arrested and summarily fined for 
violating election laws on polling day.  Despite these isolated 
incidents, there is no compelling evidence that vote 
manipulation changed the outcome of the elections in any 
constituencies.  Following the elections, in which the Pakistan 
People's Party (PPP) won a plurality of seats in the National 
Assembly, Benazir Bhutto was elected Prime Minister.  In the 
November 13 indirect presidential elections, PPP-supported 
candidate Farooq Leghari was selected President.

With certain exceptions, Pakistanis aged 21 and over have the 
right to vote by secret ballot.  In August the National 
Election Commission informed a human rights organization that 
bonded laborers and nomads, of which there are several million, 
are not qualified to be registered voters because they do not 
"ordinarily reside in an electoral area, nor do they 
own/possess a dwelling or immovable property in that area."  
Political parties have been allowed to operate freely since the 
lifting of martial law in 1985 and 1986, and in 1988 the 
Supreme Court struck down a law banning unregistered political 
parties from participating in elections.

Local governments and the provincial and national assemblies 
are directly elected.  The Senate is elected by the members of 
the four provincial assemblies.  The President is indirectly 
elected by an electoral college consisting of the members of 
the national and provincial assemblies and the Senate.  The 
Constitution provides that members of the national and 
provincial assemblies shall serve terms of 5 years, unless the 
Assembly is dissolved.  The Senate is not subject to 
dissolution by the President.  The President is elected every 5 
years and senators are elected for 6-year terms.  

The more than 2 million Pushtun ethnic people living in the 
FATA do not participate in direct election of their National 
Assembly representatives and have no representation in the NWFP 
provincial assembly.  In keeping with local traditions, FATA's 
National Assembly members are elected by the tribal maliks who 
have been appointed in the NWFP Governor's name by the central 
Government's political agents.  People living in this area have 
expressed dissatisfaction at having no representation in any 
legislature.  The vast majority of Pushtun ethnic people, 
however, live outside the FATA and, while retaining their 
tribal identity, are fully integrated into the political, 
social, and economic life of Pakistan.

Because of a longstanding territorial dispute with India, the 
political status of the Northern Areas (Hunza, Gilgit, and 
Baltistan) has never been resolved.  As a result, more than 1 
million inhabitants of the Northern Areas are not covered under 
any constitution and have no representation in the national 
Government.  The area is administered by a civil servant 
appointed by the Government of Pakistan.  While there is an 
elected Northern Areas Council, this body serves in an advisory 
capacity to the Federal Government and has no legislative 
authority.  The people of this region do not enjoy the 
democratic right to change their government.  In 1993 the Azad 
Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) High Court ruled that the Northern 
Areas should be incorporated into the semiautonomous state of 
Azad Jammu and Kashmir and its citizens be given a right to be 
represented in the AJK legislative assembly.  The Federal 
Government is appealing the ruling to the Supreme Court of the 

On May 5, by-elections were held in Sindh Province to fill 20 
vacant provincial assembly seats.  The MQM, an urban-based 
party in Sindh, boycotted the elections because it alleged the 
provincial government and army prevented it from campaigning 
openly.  Partly as a result of the MQM's boycott, there was 
only a 5 percent voter turnout in the by-elections in Karachi 
and Hyderabad.

The Constitution requires that the President and Prime Minister 
be Muslims.  Members of minority religious groups are not 
permitted to vote in Muslim constituencies.  They must cast 
their ballots in countrywide, at-large constituencies reserved 
for them in the national and provincial assemblies, an 
arrangement that has been widely criticized.  Many Ahmadis, 
disputing their designation as non-Muslims, have refused to 
exercise this option.  Minorities, especially Christians and 
Hindus, complain that this system of separate electorates has 
marginalized their voting power, allowing the local Muslim 
candidates to ignore them as a voting block.  As a result, 
minority areas receive significantly less development funds and 
other government assistance.

Although women participate in government, as evidenced by Prime 
Minister Bhutto, gender roles make it difficult for most of 
them to succeed in politics, and women are underrepresented in 
political life at all levels.  At the federal level, the 
statute creating 20 reserved seats for women in the National 
Assembly lapsed in 1990, and its renewal was not supported by 
the Government then led by Benazir Bhutto.  In 1993 the Senate 
Standing Committee on Women's Development recommended the 
restoration of the reserved women's seats.  Despite statements 
by the Sharif government that the seats would be restored, no 
legislation was submitted.  In the October elections, only 11 
women were nominated by the political parties to stand as 
candidates for general seats in the National Assembly and of 
these only 4 were elected.

Some women are often dissuaded from voting in elections by 
family, religious, and social custom in the rural areas of 
Pakistan.  In some areas, women are discouraged from voting by 
the authorities' failure to provide separate voting facilities 
for women who observe "purdah" (seclusion of women from public 
observation) restrictions.  The lack of women's polling booths 
is a very limited problem and contrary to government policy.  
However, where it occurs it may represent a deliberate attempt 
by local officials in very traditional areas to discourage 
women from voting.  

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

There are a number of domestic human rights organizations, and 
new human rights and legal aid groups continue to form and are 
generally free to operate without government restriction.  
Their reports receive extensive coverage in the press.  There 
was, however, one reported incident of official harassment of a 
human rights organizations.  In March federal security agents 
raided the Lahore headquarters of the Human Rights Commission 
of Pakistan (HRCP), a leading nongovernmental human rights 
organization.  The security agents detained several staff 
members, including the director, and confiscated posters 
critical of President Ghulam Ishaq Khan.  No charges were 
brought against HRCP members, nor were any of the federal 
security agents involved in the incident disciplined.  The 
local police and civil authorities deny any knowledge of the 

In 1993 the Senate formed a permanent committee on human rights 
to advise the Government on various aspects of human rights, 
including child and bonded labor, women's issues, and abuse of 
prisoners.  The committee has yet to take any specific action.  
Persons affiliated with various international human rights 
organizations have been permitted to visit Pakistan and travel 

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status


In 1991 the Government passed the Shari'a Bill, a law aimed at 
bringing all aspects of government and society in Pakistan into 
conformity with the tenets of Islam.  Human rights monitors and 
women's groups feared that the law would have a harmful effect 
on women's and minority rights.  The final version included 
language ensuring that women's and minority rights protected 
under the Constitution would not be affected.  No enabling 
legislation has been passed, and the Shari'a law's direct 
impact on these groups remained limited.  Nonetheless, its 
passage influenced popular attitudes and perceptions, 
contributing to an atmosphere in which discriminatory treatment 
against women and non-Muslims is more readily accepted.

Aside from the specific Shari'a legislation, some Islamic 
leaders continued to stress a conservative interpretation of 
Islamic injunctions to justify discrimination against women.  
Many Pakistanis interpret the Koran's injunctions on modesty to 
mean that women should remain either at home or veiled.  It 
remains accepted practice to assign women subordinate roles in 
the civil, political, and managerial hierarchies.  

Despite clear injunctions in the Koran and the civil laws that 
provide for the right of women to inherit, in practice women 
generally do not receive (or are pressed to surrender) their 
due share in family inheritance.  In rural Pakistan the 
practice of a woman "marrying the Koran" is still widely 
accepted if her family cannot arrange a suitable marriage or to 
keep the family wealth intact.  A woman who is married to the 
Koran is forbidden to have any contact with males, including 
her immediate family members, over 14 years of age.  A petition 
filed in a Lahore court in 1992 challenging the practice has 
yet to be heard.  Both civil and religious laws protect women's 
rights in cases of divorce, but, as in the case of inheritance 
laws, many women are unaware of them, and often the laws are 
not observed.

In 1992 the Supreme Court invalidated the requirement that a 
husband give written notice of a divorce to a local union 
council.  Thus, the husband's statement of divorce, with or 
without witnesses, is the defining legal step and one which he 
can confirm or deny at will.  The woman, lacking written proof 
of divorce, remains legally and socially vulnerable.  Human 
rights organizations expressed concern that a woman could be 
charged with adultery if her former spouse were to deny having 
divorced her.  This occurred in February, when a district and 
sessions court sentenced Nasreen Bibi to be stoned to death and 
sentenced her second husband to 100 lashes when her first 
husband denied divorcing her.  Upon appeal, the Federal Shari'a 
court acquitted both Bibi and her husband because there was 
sufficient evidence to prove they had entered into marriage in 
the belief that Bibi was divorced.

Although a small number of women study and teach in the 
universities, postgraduate employment opportunities remain 
largely limited to teaching, medical services, and the law.  
Nevertheless, an increasing number of women are entering the 
commercial and public sectors.  Karachi lawyers estimate that 
the number of women judges in civil courts there has increased 
to about 30 percent of the total.  There are reports that women 
who apply to professional colleges face discrimination.  Women 
may now participate in international athletic competition, 
although few do.

In rural areas, women in small farm families generally work 
alongside men in the fields.  However, they remain subordinate 
to men and suffer discrimination in education, employment, and 
legal rights.

There is no reliable information on the extent of domestic 
violence against women in Pakistan, primarily because it is 
viewed as a private matter, and many women do not even 
acknowledge domestic violence as a serious problem.  While 
abusive spouses may be charged under Pakistani law for assault, 
in practice cases are rarely filed.  Police usually return to 
her abuser a victim who tries to file a complaint.  Legal 
experts report there have been no reported convictions of men 
for domestic violence.

Rape is a widespread problem in Pakistan.  Marital rape is not 
a crime under Pakistani law, and rape of a another man's wife 
is a common method of seeking revenge in rural and tribal 
areas.  A nongovernmental organization called War Against Rape 
(WAR), which is dedicated to publicizing the problem and 
providing victim assistance, reported that, in 1992, 1,300 
cases of rape were filed in Punjab province.  They 
conservatively estimate that, because of social and family 
pressures against reporting rape, the actual number of rapes is 
at least four times that number .  A WAR study of 60 publicly 
reported rape cases in Lahore during January found that police 
officials were allegedly implicated in nearly 20 percent of 
these cases.  Police are frequently unresponsive in 
investigating rape cases, especially when police officials are 
implicated.  WAR also estimates that one third of the victims 
are under 18 years of age.

In the interior of Sindh, Balochistan, and Southern Punjab, the 
primarily Baloch tribal custom of Karo Kari exists in which men 
and women believed to have had sexual relations outside of 
marriage are both murdered to protect the honor of the women's 
family.  Such cases are rarely reported to the police or 
seriously investigated.  While the problem is widely 
acknowledged to exist, reliable statistics are unavailable.  
One magazine that investigated the problem estimated there were 
hundreds of cases each year.  While Karo Kari technically means 
the killing of both persons, women are more frequently killed, 
while the man is often able to pay compensation to the 
"wronged" family.

In 1993 the press continued to draw attention to the problem of 
so-called "dowry deaths," in which women are burned to death, 
allegedly in kitchen stove accidents.  Many of these deaths are 
believed to be murders perpetrated by husbands or in-laws.  It 
is difficult to differentiate criminal "dowry deaths" from 
common kitchen stove accidents that occur as a result of the 
use of unsafe wood or gas stoves combined with the highly 
flammable material commonly worn by women in Pakistan.  Women 
also continued to be killed or mutilated by male relatives who 
suspect them of adultery. Few such cases are investigated 

Women's organizations operate throughout the country but 
primarily in Pakistan's urban centers.  Many concentrate on 
educating women about existing legal rights.  Other groups 
concentrate on providing legal aid to poor women in prison who 
may not be able to afford an attorney.


The Government commits a share of its national budget to  
children's welfare but does not publish the figures for such 
expenditures.  Parts of the budgets for health, education, and 
various social service programs are components of the total 
federal child welfare expenditures.  In addition to the federal 
expenditures, each province also commits funds to similar 
programs.  Despite a 1962 law that requires each province to 
designate areas where primary education is compulsory, none of 
the provinces has designated such areas.  Therefore, in fact, 
primary education is not compulsory.  Schools are available in 
most localities but they have very limited space, staff, and 
resources.  According to government figures, less than 65 
percent of children between 5 and 9 attend primary school and 
more than 50 percent of those drop out before finishing their 
primary education.  Many observers believe even these figures 
are optimistic.  The Government claims that overall literacy is 
about 30 percent, although many educators believe actual 
functional literacy is about 15 percent.  The budget introduced 
by the Government in July reduced education expenditures by 
nearly 2 percent.

Legal rights for children are theoretically protected by 
numerous laws which incorporate elements of the U.N. Convention 
on the Rights of the Child.  Legal enforcement of these laws, 
however, is frequently lacking.  According to an independent 
study, 12,198 children under 21 years of age were detained 
while under trial in Punjab province during 1991.  Some 2,095 
were eventually convicted, of whom 129 were under 14.  Federal 
law allows, but does not require, offenders under the age of 14 
to be placed in reform schools; however, no such facilities 
exist.  There is only one jail in each province set aside for 
convicted prisoners under age 21.  Although Punjab and Sindh 
provinces have laws mandating special judicial procedures for 
child offenders, in practice, children and adults are 
essentially treated equally.

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 
Pakistan has one of the highest reported ratios of males to 
females in the world.  One of the reasons for the high ratio of 
males is the preference for boys within the family structure.  
According to one study, female children are provided less food 
and medical care than male children, leading to a higher 
percentage of female children dying before their 5th birthday.  
Many observers believe female infanticide occasionally occurs, 
especially in poorer areas where the family may not be able to 
support the child.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Discrimination on ethnic and linguistic grounds underlies 
ethnic conflicts in several areas.  In Sindh there continue to 
be conflicts between Sindhis and Mohajirs (Urdu-speaking 
immigrants originally from India).

Non-Punjabis throughout Pakistan resent what they see as 
Punjabi domination of the bureaucracy, the police, and the 
armed forces.  Social stratification also contributes to 
discrimination.  Socially prominent Pakistanis generally suffer 
less at the hands of officials than those less well off, partly 
because of their ability to reciprocate favors and partly 
because of the general deference accorded social "betters" in 
Pakistani society.

     Religious Minorities

There is much discrimination against religious minority groups 
in employment and education, and several International Labor 
Organization bodies expressed concern in 1993 that Pakistani 
laws facilitate discrimination in employment based on 
religion.  In Pakistan's early years, minorities were able to 
rise to the senior ranks of the military and civil service.  
Today, many are unable to rise above mid-level ranks.  Because 
of the lack of educational opportunities for some religious 
minority groups, discrimination in employment is believed to be 
increasingly prevalent.  Christians, in particular, have 
difficulty finding jobs above those of menial labor.

Officially designated as non-Muslims, Ahmadis in particular 
suffer from harassment and discrimination and have limited 
chances for advancement in the public sector.  Young Ahmadis 
and their parents complain of increasing difficulty in gaining 
admittance to good colleges, forcing many children to go 
overseas for higher education.  They complain that charges are 
often filed against them for the purpose of harassment or 
extortion and that the police will not accept their complaints 
when they and their property are attacked; few cases ever come 
to trial.  Among religious minorities, there is a belief that 
the authorities, even if they do not prosecute them, afford 
them less protection under the law than is afforded Muslim 
citizens.  There were several incidents in 1993 in which 
Ahmadis were physically assaulted by both police and civilians.

Many Christians continue to express the fear of forced marriage 
of Christian women to Muslims, although some human rights 
monitors believe the practice is relatively rare.  Many 
Christians also believe they are subject to harassment by the 
authorities.  They cite difficulty in obtaining permission to 
build churches and the blasphemy laws as primary examples.

     People with Disabilities

Pakistan has no laws requiring equal accessibility to public 
buildings for disabled persons.  

According to a 1987 government study, more than 10,000 disabled 
children were enrolled in the 158 special education centers 
administered by the Government and nongovernmental 
organizations.  This represented about 1.7 percent of the 
estimated population of disabled children in Pakistan.  
Pakistan law reserves 1 percent of public sector jobs for 
disabled persons, although human rights monitors say this quota 
has never been met.  The caretaker government of Prime Minister 
Qureshi announced in September that the quota would be raised 
to 2 percent.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The right of industrial workers to form trade unions is 
enunciated in the Industrial Relations Ordinance (IRO) of 1969 
but is subject to major restrictions in some employment areas.  
In practice, labor laws place significant constraints on the 
formation of unions and their ability to function effectively.  
Workers in export processing zones (EPZ's) currently are 
prohibited from forming trade unions, although a proposal to 
apply Pakistani labor laws to the EPZ's was before the Cabinet 
for decision.  As part of the Government's trade policy over 
the past year, the Finance Act of 1992 extended this 
prohibition to all export-oriented units that export at least 
70 percent of their production, although this decision has not 
yet been implemented.

The All Pakistan Federation of Labour (APFOL) charges that 
trade unionists seeking to organize workers employed in the 
construction of the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway were arrested and 
mistreated by police while in custody.  APFOL also alleges that 
some 500 workers were terminated from the project, which is 
being carried out by the Daewoo Corporation, and that the 
government of Punjab went to court to block the registration of 
the union.  Government of Punjab officials deny that any abuses 
took place while the workers were in police custody.  The 
Punjab Secretary of Labor said in December that the government 
had dropped its objection to the registration of the union and 
that the union would be allowed to register.  In October the 
Federal Government also rescinded its previous application of 
the Essential Services Act to the motorway project.  The 
Essential Services Act severely restricts normal union 
activities in sectors associated with the "administration of 
the State."  

The right of unions to strike is severely constrained by 
legally required conciliation proceedings and cooling-off 
periods and especially by the Government's authority to ban any 
strike found to cause "serious hardship to the community" or 
prejudice to the national interest, or in any case after any 
strike has continued unresolved for 30 days.  Strikes continue 
to be rare; when they do occur, they are usually illegal and 
short.  Police do not hesitate to crack down on worker 

Union members make up only about 13 percent of the industrial 
labor force and 10 percent of the total estimated work force.  
Contract labor continues to flourish, undercutting the power of 
the unions and exploiting workers willing to work on temporary 
contracts.  These workers receive fewer benefits and have no 
job security.

Trade unions of all political orientations are permitted, and 
the political leanings of labor leaders cover the entire 
spectrum.  While many unions remain aloof from party politics, 
it appears that the most powerful are those associated with 
political parties.  After the PPP came to power in 1988, it 
successfully organized trade unions under the banner of the 
People's Labor Bureau (PLB).  The PLB's main competitors are 
the Jamaat-i-Islami's National Labor Federation and the 
MQM-backed labor unions.

Labor federations are free to affiliate with international 
federations and confederations.  International Labor 
Organization (ILO) committees have criticized Pakistan for 
years for its failure to abide by Convention 87 regarding 
freedom of association and Convention 98 on the right to 
organize and bargain collectively, both of which it has 
ratified.  The charges, repeatedly raised by Pakistani trade 
unions, have focused on the limitations on union formation, 
strikes, and collective bargaining.  Except for lifting the ban 
on an airline employee union, no Pakistani government has made 
any serious effort to change the laws criticized in the ILO 
reports.  Even the employers' members of the ILO Conference 
Committee in 1993 accused the Government of bad faith in 
failing to take remedial action it had promised.  The decision 
to extend union membership to certain state-owned enterprises 
had been taken during the Bhutto government's previous tenure 
but had not yet been implemented when her government fell in 
1990.  The administration of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif 
subsequently reversed this decision.  There is a proposal 
before the Cabinet to allow employees of other government 
entities, including Pakistan Television, to form unions.  

The ILO continues to encourage the Government to lift 
prohibitions against union activity in EPZ's and with respect 
to radio, television, and hospital employees, as well as to 
rescind the existing ban on strikes.  Pakistan was also asked 
to amend any provision of the IRO, the Press and Publications 
Ordinance, and the Political Parties Act which impose 
compulsory prison labor in a manner inconsistent with ILO 
Convention 105.  In response to a request by Pakistan, the ILO 
agreed to provide technical assistance to bring the country's 
labor laws into conformity with the world body's conventions.  

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The right of workers to form associations and freely elect 
representatives to act as collective bargaining agents is 
established in law.  Section 15 of the IRO specifically 
prohibits antiunion discrimination by employers.  Current laws, 
however, place major limitations on the extent and 
effectiveness of such activities.  Industrial workers have the 
right to organize and bargain collectively under the IRO, 
although large sections of the labor force do not enjoy similar 
rights.  Agricultural workers, who are not defined as 
"industrial workers" under the IRO, have the right to organize 
and form associations, but they are not guaranteed the right to 
strike, bargain collectively, or make demands on employers.  
Under the Essential Services Maintenance Act of 1952 (ESA), 
normal union activities are severely restricted in sectors 
associated with "the administration of the State," which covers 
a wide range of government services and state enterprises, such 
as education, health care, oil and gas production, and 

For each industry found subject to the ESA, a finding that must 
be renewed every 6 months, a specific determination is made by 
the Government as to what constitutes the limits of union 
activity.  In cases in which collective bargaining has been 
barred, individual wage boards decide wage levels.  The Minimum 
Wage Ordinance of 1961 provides the authority under which 
minimum wage boards are formed.  Minimum wage boards are 
constituted at the provincial level and are comprised of an 
industry representative, a labor representative, and an 
at-large member generally chosen from the senior ranks of the 
provincial labor ministry.  A chairman provided by the 
provincial labor ministry presides over the board's 
deliberations, and additional industry and labor 
representatives may be added at the discretion of the 
chairman.  Despite the presence of a labor representative on 
the minimum wage board, labor organizations are generally 
dissatisfied with the board's findings.  Disputes are 
adjudicated before the National Industrial Relations 
Commission.  A worker's right to quit may also be curtailed 
under this act, and a fired worker has no recourse to the labor 
courts.  Collective bargaining and even strikes take place in 
some job areas covered by the act, e.g., the nationalized 
banks.  Most unions continue to call for the abolition of the 

The ILO has advised the Government that a 1980 ordinance 
permitting it to exempt EPZ's from the provisions of any law is 
inconsistent with the requirements of ILO Conventions 87 and 
98.  An EPZ, with its own labor regulations, including 
regulations governing how workers may bargain collectively, is 
functioning in Karachi.  Over the years, the ILO has also 
expressed concern about the ban on trade union activities in 
several specific organizations, including the government-run 
Pakistan television station.  It has asked that collective 
bargaining rights be given to bank officers and employees, 
denouncing the practice in the foreign banking sector of 
granting false promotions to employees in order to remove them 
from the category of workers having the right to organize.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced labor is specifically prohibited by law.  However, 
critics argue that the ESA's limitation on some employees' 
rights to leave their jobs constitutes a form of compulsory 
labor.  The Government informed the ILO's Committee on the 
Application of Standards in 1990 that amendments were under 
consideration to rectify the problem and that steps had been 
taken to address other forced labor issues.  However, the 
Government has taken no further action on the ESA issue. 

Illegal bonded labor is widespread.  Bonded labor is common in 
the brick, glass, and fishing industries and is found among 
agricultural and construction workers in rural areas.  The 
total labor force in Pakistan is approximately 33.8 million 
people, and while there are no reliable figures available on 
the number of bonded laborers, conservative estimates put the 
figure at several million.  In late 1992, a private jail was 
discovered in the Sindh province in which over 200 people had 
been incarcerated for up to 10 years.  The detainees were being 
used to provide forced labor on the surrounding farmland.  The 
local landlord, who owned the jail, was not charged in the 
case, but his son was charged and is currently a fugitive.  The 
detainees continue to be held by local police at the private 
jail as material witnesses in the case.  Human rights monitors 
believe that such private jails are common, particularly in 
Sindh, Balochistan, and Southern Punjab.

In the brick kiln industry, a workers' association succeeded in 
bringing the plight of bonded brickmakers in Punjab before the 
Supreme Court.  The Court's 1989 compromise ruling reinforced 
prohibitions on forced labor and forcible collection of debts 
and limited salary advances to 1-week's wages but upheld the 
legality of existing debts.  The Court granted laborers the 
right to work wherever they wished and to make arrangements 
other than bonded labor to pay their existing debts.

The Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act, adopted in March 1992, 
is the first law officially recognizing the existence of bonded 
labor in Pakistan.  It outlaws the bonded labor system, cancels 
all existing bonded debts, and forbids lawsuits for the 
recovery of existing bonded debts.  In principle, the law 
enables laborers to work where they wish and should result in 
all bonded debt recovery cases brought by employers being 
thrown out of court.  The new legislation was not yet fully 
implemented but offers a basis for court cases which could 
improve the bonded labor situation.

However, little progress was made in 1993 in the industries 
employing bonded laborers.  A significant impediment to the 
law's implementation is the absence of any credible enforcement 
mechanism at the provincial level, as required by the law.  
While enforcement of antibonded labor statutes has always 
rested with the provinces, enforcement mechanisms historically 
have been deficient.  Provinces have at their disposal cadres 
of labor inspectors, but their numbers are consistently 
inadequate to meet the requirements of the law.  Plans exist 
for the formation of "vigilance committees" which would assist 
in the collection of information concerning possible labor code 
violations.  As of the end of 1993, however, none of the 
vigilance committees had been constituted.  Accordingly, no 
bonded labor petitions had been accepted by provincial courts, 
which are designated by federal law as having jurisdiction.  In 
addition, resistance to the new law among employers was strong, 
reports of violations continued to appear, and the workers' 
movement was divided over the issue.  Due to the lack of 
employment alternatives, many workers voluntarily returned to 
bonded labor at the kilns and elsewhere.  The newly formed 
Senate Human Rights Committee announced in 1993 that bonded 
labor was to be one of its highest priorities.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Despite legal limitations, child labor is common.  Child labor 
is limited by at least four separate statutes and Article 11 of 
The Constitution.  The Employment of Children Act of 1991 
defined the child as "a person who has not completed his 14th 
year of age."  The Act also set 7 hours as the maximum workday 
for a child, inclusive of 1-hour's rest after 3 hours of 
continuous work, and reiterated restrictions against the 
employment of children in hazardous industries.  The Act 
remains essentially unimplemented and did little to promote 
much needed enforcement mechanisms.

While much child labor is in the traditional framework of 
family farming or small business, the abusive employment of 
children in larger industries and government business is also 
widespread.  Child labor is widely employed in the carpet 
industry, much of which is family-run, cottage industry 
production.  This appears to be the only export industry in 
which child labor is employed on a significant scale.  Although 
there are no reliable official statistics, unofficial surveys 
and occasional press articles suggest that violations of 
existing laws are common.  Unofficial estimates indicate that 
one-third of Pakistan's total labor force of 33 million is made 
up of workers under age 18.  The employment of children is 
sometimes linked with stories of child prostitution and abuse.  

The manager of the ILO program on the elimination of child 
labor visited Pakistan in December to discuss the development 
of a program for the elimination of child labor in Pakistan.  
The ILO has earmarked $600,000 for project development over the 
next several years, which will include a grassroots campaign to 
raise awareness about child labor, as well as a review and 
revision of Pakistani legislation on child labor.

A Punjab labor department study concluded that about a million 
children are engaged in carpet weaving, mostly in the cottage 
industry, throughout Pakistan.  In addition to suffering 
work-related health problems and receiving beatings if they try 
to avoid work, these children remain uneducated, 42 percent 
never having attended school and 58 percent having dropped 

The smuggling of young Pakistani children to the Gulf countries 
reportedly continued.  Most of the boys, many of whom are 
preschool age, are used as jockeys in camel races.  Thousands 
of young Pakistanis reportedly have been smuggled to the Gulf 
in recent years.  In some cases the children, usually from 
rural areas, were kidnaped.  In other cases, poor parents are 
said to have sold their children to the traffickers.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Labor regulations are governed by federal statutes applicable 
throughout the country.  The minimum wage is approximately $50 
(1,500 rupees).  Although this wage is ostensibly enough to 
support a small family, minimum wage benefits are extended to 
only a minority of the work force by virtue of an extensive 
list of exempted activities.  The law, applicable nationally, 
provides for a maximum workweek of 54 hours, rest periods 
during the workday, and paid annual holidays.  These 
regulations specifically do not apply to agricultural workers, 
to workers in Pakistan's numerous small factories with fewer 
than 10 employees, and to the small contract groups of under 10 
workers into which factory work forces are increasingly 
divided.  Due in part to a lack of education, many workers are 
unaware of the regulations protecting their rights.  In 
September the Government amended laws relating to workmen's 
compensation, payment of wages, old-age pensions, social 
security, workers' children education, gratuity, and workers' 
share in companies' profits to expand those benefits to workers 
earning approximately $100 or less per month.  Previously, the 
ceiling on salary for the receipt of such benefits was set at 
about $50 per month.

Enforcement of labor regulations, the responsibility of 
provincial governments, has generally been ineffective.  The 
attention given to enforcement varies among the provinces in 
proportion to the significance of industrial labor.  In all 
cases, limited resources, corruption, and inadequate regulatory 
structures hamper the effort.  In general, worker health and 
safety standards are poor, and little is being done to improve 
them.  Organized labor is occasionally able to press for 
improvements, and some legal protections apply, although they 
are weakly enforced.

[end of document]


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