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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.  During 1994, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto 
dominated political policymaking, with President Farooq Leghari 
playing a complementary role.  Chief of Army Staff General 
Abdul Waheed consulted closely with the Government but avoided 
active involvement in governing.

Responsibility for internal security rests primarily with the 
police, although paramilitary forces, such as the Rangers and 
Frontier Constabulary, are responsible for maintaining law and 
order in frontier areas.  On November 30, the Army and 
paramilitary forces ended their operation, begun in 1992, to 
help restore law and order in Sindh province.  Provincial 
governments control the police and paramilitary forces when 
they are assisting in law and order operations.  Both forces 
committed abuses in 1994.

Pakistan is a poor country, with great extremes in the 
distribution of wealth, an extremely high rate of illiteracy, 
and a per capita income of $400.  Its economy includes both 
state-run and private industries and financial institutions.  
The Constitution assures the right to private property and the 
right of private businesses to operate freely in most sectors 
of the economy.  The Government continues to pursue 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 exports.

Although the Government made strong public commitments to 
address human rights concerns, particularly those involving 
women, child labor, and minority religions, most human rights 
abuses are rooted deeply in the social fabric.  At year's end, 
these efforts had not resulted in a significant change in the 
overall human rights situation.  Serious problems continue in 
many areas.  Government forces continued to use arbitrary 
arrest and detention, and have tortured or otherwise abused 
prisoners and detainees.  They are unchecked by any serious 
government effort to reform the police or judicial systems or 
to prosecute those responsible for abuse.  This Government, as 
did previous ones, continued to harass political opponents and 
to repress the Sindh-based Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) 
political party.

Islamic religious zealots continued to discriminate against and 
persecute religious minorities, basing their activities in part 
on discriminatory legislation against those religious 
minorities.  The Government proposed changes in the enforcement 
of the so-called blasphemy law to limit its abuse, but no 
changes were enacted and abuse continued.  However, in November 
the Lahore High Court overturned the 1992 blasphemy conviction 
of a Christian, Gul Masih.

Religious and ethnic-based rivalries resulted in numerous 
murders, mosque bombings, and occasional civil disturbances.  
Traditional social and legal constraints kept women in a 
subordinate position in society.  They continued to be 
subjected to murder, torture, rape, and other forms of 
degradation both by agents of the State and societal elements.  
The Government and employers continued to restrict workers' 
rights significantly.  The use of child and bonded labor 
remained widespread in spite of both legislation to restrict 
these practices and the signing of a Memorandum of 
Understanding (MOU) on child labor with the International Labor 
Organization (ILO).  Little was done to improve basic 
conditions for women and children.  Female children continued 
to fall behind their male counterparts in such measures as 
levels of health care and education.


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" in which the police or military shoot and kill the 
suspects--many of them unarmed--continued in 1994.  Most of 
these killings occurred in rural Sindh Province as part of the 
Army's law and order program, "Operation Cleanup," which ended 
on November 30.  A survey conducted in June by the Human Rights 
Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) reported that the incidence of 
excesses committed by or attributed to the Army and the police 
in Sindh had diminished in early 1994.  However, the frequency 
of extrajudicial killing throughout Pakistan reported in the 
press indicates that this continues to be a serious problem.

A typical case occurred on May 3, when police killed five men 
in Sukkur, Sindh province.  An HRCP investigation determined 
that the men were rounded up, brought to a police clerk's 
residence, tied up and killed with automatic weapons in a 
well-planned operation.  The Government denied this allegation, 
saying the victims were dangerous criminals who were killed 
during a 2-hour "encounter" with police.

The HRCP reported 32 extrajudicial deaths in Sindh between 
January and May.  Many are believed to have died as a result of 
police torture.  The Government did not charge or try any law 
enforcement personnel for these killings.

The Government used excessive force to control political 
demonstrations in Karachi.  At least 13 people were killed and 
87 injured during police clashes with MQM demonstrators from 
April 29 to May 1.  The opposition claims that the police 
killed two demonstrators in October during an 
opposition-organized strike in Punjab.

Ethnic and sectarian tensions rose during 1994.  Members of 
Shi'a and Sunni Muslim organizations targeting rival groups set 
off numerous bombs, especially in Sindh and Punjab provinces, 
causing over a dozen deaths.  The Government made few arrests.  
Some of the bombs were set off following inflammatory sermons 
delivered during Friday prayers.  Ethnic and religiously 
motivated riots continued to occur.  In Karachi, people were 
killed almost daily in fighting among factions of the MQM, and 
between the MQM and Sindhi nationalists.  The rate of killings 
increased in the second half of the year.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reported disappearances.

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

There continued to be credible evidence that police tortured 
and otherwise mistreated detainees.  For example, the HRCP 
reported that Bakhshan Khan Bhatti died in jail on July 25.  
Prisoners claim that Bhatti was hung upside down and beaten.  
However, the authorities maintained that he died from illness 
and internal pain.

In other cases, 13 police officers were charged with torturing 
to death Pervez Akhtar in a police lockup on June 17 in Gujar 
Khan, Punjab.  The Government arrested four officers in 
connection with Akhtar's death, but released them on bail and 
took no further action.  According to a May 25 press report, a 
Christian boy was tortured to death while in Gojra Sadar police 
custody.  In one egregious case, security forces arrested a 
25-year-old MQM activist in Sindh province on June 21, 
reportedly blindfolded and stripped him, and questioned him 
about the location of MQM weapons.  The activist died in 
custody.  After family members recovered the man's body, they 
reported that his eyes had been gouged out, his neck drilled, 
his ears chopped off, and his shoulder and backbone broken.

Police and jailers so routinely use force to elicit confessions 
and compel detainees to incriminate others that the practice 
has become standard procedure.  Torture methods included:  
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, and public humiliation including stripping in 
public.  Some magistrates and doctors helped cover up the abuse 
by issuing investigation and medical reports that the victims 
died of natural causes.

Police frequently use the threat of abuse to extort money from 
prisoners and their families.  In some cases, the authorities 
have detained whole families to force a relative, the subject 
of an arrest warrant, to surrender.

Upon assuming his position, the superintendent of the Karachi 
central jail reportedly ordered 450 prisoners stripped, and 
many of them beaten, injuring at least 50.  During this period 
from January 13 to 15, the prisoners were kept in a 24-hour 
lockup, with no toilet facilities, no water, and little food.  
The superintendent justified his actions as part of his mandate 
to clean up corruption at the jail.  Abuse is reported to have 
continued in the jail throughout the year.

Despite regulations that prohibit the police from detaining 
women overnight, some women continue to be arbitrarily detained 
overnight and sexually abused.  The police reportedly gang 
raped five women in a village in Sindh province on January 18.
Although there is increasing coverage of rape in the 
English-language press, rape victims often do not file reports 
because of social taboos, police intimidation, and family 
pressure.  There are few policewomen to perform matron duties, 
despite regulations requiring that policewomen must be present 
in station houses during the questioning or detention of 
females.  To address this problem, the Government opened 
"women's police stations" in several cities staffed by female 
personnel.  However, the press has reported that the staff is 
poorly trained.  The Government is offering these officers 
additional training.

Rape, along with other forms of police and military abuse, 
takes place in a climate of impunity caused by the failure of 
successive Governments to prosecute and punish the abusers.  
This failure is the single largest obstacle to ending or even 
reducing the incidence of abuse.  The authorities transfer or 
arrest offending officers, but seldom prosecute or punish 
them.  There were no known court convictions of abusive police 
officers in 1994.  In general, investigating officers shield 
their colleagues.  Persons who attempt to bring charges against 
police officers are often threatened by other officers and drop 
the charges.  However, according to one human rights advocate, 
the Government took action in several cases--a move which 
reportedly resulted in a decline of such sexual abuse cases in 

The incidence of torture and abuse was not restricted to the 
security forces.  There were reports that different factions of 
the MQM tortured and killed members of rival groups.  Three 
persons were killed on July 16 in Karachi.  According to the 
press, two of the victims were members of the MQM's Altaf 
group.  Their bodies were discovered in a field with marks of 
torture, including burn wounds and broken bones.  The other 
victim, a member of the MQM's Haqiqi group, was gunned down in 
the street along with his 5-year-old niece.  MQM gunmen are 
also suspected of murdering six Karachi policemen on June 28.

The Hadood Ordinances, promulgated by the central Government in 
1979, were an attempt to make the Penal Code more Islamic.  
These Ordinances provide harsh punishments for violating 
Islamic law, or Shari'a, including death by stoning for 
unlawful sexual relations and amputation for some 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.  Under these ordinances, a 
woman who reports that she has been raped or files for divorce 
may find herself charged with adultery.  All consensual 
extramarital sexual relations are considered violations of the 
Hadood Ordinances.  However, according to a lawyer from the 
HRCP, the Government has brought fewer charges against women 
under the Hadood Ordinances than in the past, and the courts 
have shown greater leniency toward women in their sentences and 
in the granting of bail.

There are three classes of prison facilities:  Class "C" cells 
generally hold common criminals--convicts and those in pretrial 
detention.  Such cells 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.  The 
authorities reserve the latter for "prominent" persons.

There were several reports in 1994 that wealthy landlords or 
political parties operated private jails.  Many such jails are 
believed to exist in tribal and feudal areas.  Some of the 
prisoners have reportedly been held in them for many years.  
The police raided several such jails in 1994 and released the 
prisoners.  In February the police raided a private jail 
operated by a local landlord in Umerkot, Sindh province.  They 
released 13 men, 11 women, 9 girls, and 7 boys.  The police 
arrested four persons during the raid.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The law permits a Deputy Commissioner (DC) of a local district 
to order detention without charge for 30 days of persons 
suspected of threatening public order and safety.  The DC may 
renew detention in 30-day periods, for a total of 90 days.  For 
other criminal offenses, the police may hold a suspect for 24 
hours without charge.  If the police can provide material proof 
that detention is necessary for an investigation, a court may 
extend detention for a total of 15 days.

In practice, the authorities do not strictly observe the limits 
on detention.  The police are not required to notify anyone 
when an arrest is made, and often hold detainees without charge 
until they are challenged by a court.  The police sometimes 
detain individuals arbitrarily without charge, or on false 
charges, in order to extort payment for their release.  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 about 6 months after the filing of charges.

The authorities generally permit family members and lawyers to 
visit inmates.  However, in some cases the authorities refuse 
such visits, even though the detainee has been held for years 
awaiting trial.  A report published by the HRCP on a visit to a 
prison in Sukkur, Sindh province, in July cited 11 detainees 
who had been awaiting trial from 1 to 3 years.  HRCP officials 
speculate that detainees in other areas may have been held for 
over 10 years.

The Government uses mass arrests to quell civil unrest.  The 
army arrested over 800 MQM party workers from May 4 to 7, 
following 5 days of violence in Karachi.  The arrested included 
3 MQM Senators and 11 MQM members of the Sindh Provincial 
Assembly.  Almost all were released within 1 week.  The 
authorities established detention facilities near the 
Provincial Assembly building to allow jailed assembly members 
to attend sessions.

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas have a separate legal 
system, the Frontier Crimes Regulation, which recognizes the 
doctrine of "collective responsibility."  Under this 
regulation, the authorities are empowered to detain the fellow 
members of a fugitive's tribe, or to blockade the fugitive's 
village, pending his surrender or punishment by his own tribe, 
as is the local tradition.  The Government exercised such 
authority in 1994.  After the Supreme Court ruled that all 
federal laws extend to tribal areas, the tribes in the Malakand 
Division of the Northwest Frontier province clashed with 
government forces, demanding a return to Islamic law.  The 
tribes blockaded roads and an airport, killed a member of the 
Provincial Assembly, and held numerous officials hostage.  In 
response, government forces were called in to pacify the area, 
and burned several houses belonging to the leaders of the 
unrest.  In November the provincial government agreed to a 
return to Shari'a law in Malakand Division after 30 Islamic 
activists and soldiers were killed in the fighting.

In August the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), the 
Government's military intelligence organization, detained 
Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, the Secretary General of the Jammu and 
Kashmir People's National Party.  In September the ISI released 
Mr. Kashmiri from Attock Fort Detention Center, but denied that 
it had held him in detention.

The authorities arrested more than 1,100 political opponents of 
Prime Minister Bhutto, including 45 members of the provincial 
and national assemblies, prior to or during the October 11 
general strike.  The authorities charged only a few of them and 
released most within a month.  The Government filed criminal 
charges, ranging from murder to possession of illegal weapons, 
against five opposition members of the National Assembly who 
were arrested on October 11.  Three were later released on bail 
but two refused to apply for bail and remained in custody at 
year's end.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judicial system involves several different court systems 
with overlapping and sometimes competing jurisdictions.  There 
are civil and criminal systems with special courts for 
high-profile cases, as well as the Federal Shari'a appeals 
courts for certain Hadood offenses.  The appeals process in the 
civil system is:  civil court, district court, high court, and 
Supreme Court.  In the criminal system, the progression is:  
magistrate, sessions court, high court, and Supreme Court.

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. 
Bail is set, often purposely, at unreasonably high levels for 
indigent defendants.

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.  The Federal 
Shari'a Court also may overturn 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.

The judicial process continued to be impeded by bureaucratic 
infighting and inactivity and the overlapping jurisdictions of 
the different court systems.  Scores of positions in the lower 
magistracy remained unfilled.  Persons in jail awaiting trial 
are sometimes held for periods longer than the sentence they 
would receive if convicted.

Cases involving bombings, sabotage, highway robberies, 
banditry, or kidnaping may be brought before three types of 
special courts.  These include the special courts established 
by the Suppression of Terrorist Activities Act of 1975 to try 
"terrorist" cases and the "speedy trial courts," established by 
a 1987 ordinance to circumvent the judicial backlog.  The 
Government abolished both of these courts in July.  A third 
type of court, established in 1991 by the Constitution's 12th 
amendment, adjudicates heinous crimes.  In 1991 the President 
promulgated new ordinances which gave the Federal Government 
the exclusive authority to refer cases to these courts.  In 
practice, the Government refers cases involving violent 
criminal offenses to these courts.

Many legal experts believe the special courts do not provide 
for a fair trial.  They maintain that the short time for 
investigations and trials detract from the accused's right to 
prepare an adequate defense.  Some observers maintain that 
trial procedures have effectively repudiated the presumption of 
innocence.  They also cite the encroachment by federal 
authorities on the provincial government's constitutional 
authority to administer justice and the inherent unfairness of 
parallel courts to which cases may be assigned arbitrarily.  
Moreover, the special courts may deny bail if the judges decide 
that the accused may have reasonably committed an offense.

Government officials and some attorneys maintain that despite 
the deficiencies, the special courts are necessary because of 
the judicial backlog.  They also maintain that the rules of 
evidence apply in the courts, defendants have the right to 
counsel, and the judges must meet the same standards as those 
appointed to a high court.  Defendants also have the right to 
appeal, but only one appeal is allowed.

In late 1993, the Government announced that it would allow the 
speedy trial courts ordinance to lapse in July 1994.  After 
that date, the Government transferred all pending cases and 
investigations before the speedy courts to the regular courts.  
The special terrorist courts still exist.

The judiciary is not independent.  Through the President's 
power to transfer High Court justices and grant tenure to new 
appointees, the executive branch is able to influence the 
provincial High Courts, and especially the lower levels of the 
judicial system.  Judges in the special courts are retired 
jurists, who are hired on renewable contracts.  The desire to 
maintain their positions influences many of their decisions.

Despite the Government's promise to strengthen judicial 
independence, it took several measures regarded as efforts to 
influence the court for political reasons.  In February, in a 
ruling regarded as politically motivated, the Supreme Court 
upheld the right of two members of the Northwest Frontier 
Provincial Assembly, who were members of the Muslim League 
Nawaz group, to join the Pakistan People's Party (PPP).  Their 
move allowed the PPP to gain control of the assembly.  In other 
moves regarded as politically motivated, the PPP government and 
the President transferred the well-respected chief justice of 
the Sindh High Court to the Federal Shari'a court, replacing 
him with a judge considered loyal to the PPP.  There was also 
criticism of the appointment of 20 new judges to the Lahore 
High Court.  The Government also refused to confirm six judges 
named to the High Court in Sindh province, and several High 
Court judges in Punjab, who had been appointed when the 
opposition party was in power.

After dissolving the first Bhutto government in 1990, President 
Ghulam Ishaq Khan 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 brought to trial.  In 1994 the 
tribunals acquitted the accused.

In 1994 the Government brought numerous criminal cases against 
members of the former Nawaz Sharif government, their 
businesses, and their political supporters.  The Government 
also filed cases to have Nawaz Sharif and other members of his 
party disqualified from the National Assembly.  The Government 
incarcerated several accused persons, including Nawaz Sharif's 
75-year-old father, who was arrested in November for tax 
evasion and money laundering.  The authorities released the 
father after 4 days, but at year's end his case and those of 
the others were pending.

A 1990 Shari'a court decision resulted in the introduction of 
the Islamic concepts of Qisas--roughly an "eye for an eye"--and 
Diyat--"blood money"--into the Penal Code.  The Qisas and Diyat 
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 sometimes escape punishment for 
such crimes as murder and assault.  The right to seek pardon or 
commutation is not available to defendants under the 
ordinance.  The Hadood and 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 courts.  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 the lawyer of their choice.  
There is a system of bail.

Under the Hadood Ordinances, evidence is given different weight 
depending on the religion and sex of the witness.  A non-Muslim 
may not be a witness against a Muslim but may offer testimony 
against another non-Muslim.  Testimony of females is not 
admissible for the harsher punishments (lashing, amputation, 
and stoning).  In cases involving financial matters, the 
testimony of two women is required for it to be admitted as 
evidence.  The evidentiary laws that apply to lesser 
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 
detainees 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 on the magistrates, including the threat to transfer 
them to other assignments.  Magistrates also perform a wide 
variety of administrative functions for the provincial 
governments, reducing the time devoted to judicial duties.

Administration of justice in the Federally Administered Tribal 
Areas is normally 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 local governments, oversee 
such proceedings and may impose prison terms of up to 14 years.

In remote areas outside the jurisdiction of the Political 
Agents, tribal councils occasionally levy harsher, unsanctioned 
punishments, including flogging or death by shooting or 
stoning.  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.

There are fewer than 10 known political prisoners.  Several are 
serving sentences under the laws concerning the Ahmadi 
religious sect.  One person is appealing the death sentence for 
blasphemy (see Section 2.c.).

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

By law the police must obtain a warrant to search a house but 
do not need a warrant to search a person.  However, the police 
often enter homes without a warrant.  In the absence of a 
warrant, a policeman is subject to charges of criminal 
trespass.  However, policemen are seldom punished for illegal 

The Government maintains several domestic intelligence services 
which monitor politicians, political activists, suspected 
terrorists, and suspected foreign intelligence agents.  
Credible reports indicate that the authorities commonly resort 
to wiretapping and occasionally intercept and open mail.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press, 
and citizens are generally free to discuss public issues.  
However, the Constitution stipulates the death penalty for 
anyone who damages the Constitution by any act, including the 
publication of statements against the spirit of the 
Constitution.  The Constitution prohibits the ridicule of 
Islam, the armed forces, or the judiciary.  Moreover, the Penal 
Code mandates the death sentence for anyone convicted of 
blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad (see Section 2.c.).  
Journalists censor themselves on such subjects.

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 books is 
freely allowed.  Government censors occasionally ban 
publications, usually for objectionable religious content, but 
for other reasons as well.  In 1994 the Government banned a 
book entitled "The Political Role of Intelligence Agencies in 
Pakistan" because it contained a critical view of intelligence 

A government-owned press trust controls two newspapers--an 
English-language and an Urdu daily.  The Ministry of 
Information controls one of the two main wire services; the 
other is privately owned.  The numerous privately owned 
newspapers have a circulation that far exceeds that of the 
government-owned newspapers.  The government newspapers and 
wire services are circumspect in their coverage of the news and 
generally follow the government line.

Nevertheless, the press has enjoyed an increasing level of 
freedom since 1989.  Privately owned newspapers freely discuss 
public policy and criticize the Government.  They report 
remarks made by opposition politicians and their editorials 
reflect a spectrum of views.

The Government attempts to influence editorial policy at 
privately owned newspapers by its power to allocate duty-free 
newsprint and its placement of government advertising--an 
important source of newspaper revenue.  In the first half of 
1994, the Ministry of Information stopped placing advertising 
for several months with two leading Urdu dailies, Khabrain and 
Nawa-e-Waqt, claiming they had engaged in irresponsible 
journalism.  There were also widespread reports that 
journalists took bribes from government or opposition political 

Various political parties and the police harassed journalists 
and newspaper companies.  The police arrested Farooq Aqdas, 
senior political correspondent of an Urdu daily, Jang, during 
the summer and detained him for several hours on charges filed 
against him a year and a half earlier by another journalist.  
On December 4, unidentified gunmen assassinated Muhammad 
Salahuddin, the editor of the weekly Takbeer in Karachi.  
Salahuddin was known for his criticism of the MQM and PPP and 
he had been the victim of previous attacks on his home and 
office in 1990 and 1991.  On December 6, unidentified 
assailants shot dead the General Manager of an Urdu daily, 
Parcham, in his Karachi office.

The Government owns and operates all radio stations, and all 
but one semiprivate television station.  It strictly controls 
their news broadcasts.  However, the Shalimar Television 
Network (STN), a semiprivate television station, provides 
programs including Cable News Network (CNN) and British 
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) programs, with considerable 
independence from government oversight.  The Government censors 
segments of CNN and BBC considered socially offensive.  The 
Ministry of Information monitors the advertisements on STN, 
editing or removing those deemed objectionable.

Conservative religious and political groups have been active in 
promoting their own code of social morality.  The Shari'a Law 
has bolstered such efforts by placing greater pressure on 
individuals to conform to Islamic sensibilities.  In 1994 there 
were occasional reports of campaigns to remove obscene 
materials from video stores, but book and video stores 
generally operated without hindrance.

Literary and creative works remain generally free of 
censorship.  Obscene literature, a category broadly defined by 
the Government, is subject to seizure.  Dramas and 
documentaries on previously taboo subjects, including 
corruption, social privilege, narcotics, violence against 
women, and female inequality, are now broadcast on television.

The Government and universities generally respect academic 
freedom.  However, the atmosphere of violence and intolerance 
fostered by student organizations, typically tied to political 
parties, is a threat to academic freedom.  On some campuses, 
well-armed groups of students of varying political persuasions 
clash with 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 of campus violence, they question the 
legality of school officials expelling students they find 
guilty of membership in a political organization.

     b.   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Government generally permits peaceful assembly.  District 
magistrates occasionally exercised their power under the 
Criminal Procedures Code to ban meetings of more than four 
people when demonstrations seemed likely to result in 
violence.  This provision was invoked frequently in June during 
the Islamic month of Muharram, when tensions between Sunni and 
Shi'a Muslims traditionally peak.  Many observers attributed 
the relatively peaceful month of Muharram to these measures.  
The Government usually did not interfere with large political 
rallies, although in an attempt to prevent a strike, it 
arrested over 1,000 opposition members in October.

Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and a large number of supporters 
traveled unhindered across the country in September, holding 
large rallies critical of the Government.  However, the 
authorities sometimes prevented leaders of politico-religious 
parties to travel to certain areas if they believed their 
presence would increase sectarian tensions.

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 parties.

     c.   Freedom of Religion

Pakistan is an Islamic republic in which 97 percent of the 
people are Muslim.  The Constitution requires that laws must be 
consistent with Islam.  The Government permits Muslims to 
convert to other faiths but prohibits proselytizing among 

Minority groups fear that the Shari'a Law and its goal of 
"Islamizing" government and society may further restrict the 
freedom to practice their religion.  Many reportedly live in 
terror because the religious legislation has encouraged an 
atmosphere of religious intolerance which has led to acts of 
violence directed at Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus, Zikris, and 
others.  Several incidents in 1994 heightened the sense of 
insecurity and fear among the religious minorities.

In April men riding a motorcycle shot and killed Manzoor Masih, 
a Christian, as he departed a courthouse in Lahore where he was 
being tried for blasphemy.  The authorities had arrested Masih 
and two other Christians, including a 13-year-old boy, in 1993 
for allegedly writing blasphemous remarks about the Prophet 
Muhammad on a wall--even though two of the three were 
illiterate.  Two other persons with Manzoor were injured in the 
attack.  The police arrested three suspects, among them the 
complainants who brought the blasphemy case against Masih.  At 
year's end, the suspects were free on bail.  While government 
officials condemned the incident, Christian leaders and human 
rights groups maintain that the Government reacted weakly and 
has done little to discourage extremists or offer increased 
protection to religious minorities.  In at least two other 
instances, the inhabitants of two villages of Christians, 
including Masih's village, were forced to move after receiving 
threats from Muslim extremists.

A 1974 constitutional amendment declared Ahmadis to be a 
non-Muslim minority because they do not accept Muhammad as the 
last prophet of Islam.  However, Ahmadis regard themselves as 
Muslims and observe many Islamic practices.  In 1984 the 
Government inserted Section 298(c) into the Penal Code which 
prohibited an Ahmadi from calling himself a Muslim and banned 
Ahmadis from using Islamic terminology.  The punishment is up 
to 3 years' imprisonment and a fine.  Since 1984, the 
Government has used Section 298(c) to harass Ahmadis.

In 1993 the Supreme Court ruled against the Ahmadis in a case 
on the constitutionality of Section 298(c).  The Court upheld 
that section of the law, rejecting the argument that it 
violated the right of freedom of speech and religion.  The 
judge writing for the majority found that Islamic phrases are 
in essence a copyrighted trademark of the Islamic religion.  He 
reasoned that the use of Islamic phrases by Ahmadis was 
equivalent to copyright infringement and violated the Trademark 
Act of 1940.  The majority also found that the use of certain 
Islamic phrases by Ahmadis was equivalent to blasphemy.

The judgment has emboldened anti-Ahmadi groups and resulted in 
more court cases against Ahmadis.  In 1994 the Government 
promised that it would defend Section 298(c) from an appeal on 
other grounds.  In the first 9 months of 1994, 17 cases under 
Section 298(c) were filed against Ahmadis resulting in 1 
conviction.  Rashood Ahmad of Sangahr was sentenced to 2 years 
in prison and fined $166 for displaying a verse from the Koran 
on his wall.

In January the authorities arrested five journalists, including 
the septuagenarian editor of Al Fazal, the Ahmadi daily, under 
Section 298(c).  The arrests were made because of general 
complaints that the writers in Al Fazal had propagated their 
faith and passed themselves off as Muslims, thus injuring the 
feelings of Muslims.  The five were released on bail on March 
7.  At year's end, their case was pending in the courts.

In another incident, the Rawalpindi Development Authority 
demolished an Ahmadi center in Rawalpindi on September 15.  The 
Government claimed that the land was illegally converted to a 
place of worship--despite the fact that the land had been used 
for worship for 40 years.  On the building plans submitted to 
the city, the Ahmadi community did not describe the building on 
the land as a mosque, because that would have violated Section 
298(c).  In other incidents, several prominent Ahmadis, 
including a university professor, were killed during the year 
in what some regard as sectarian murders.  Investigations of 
the cases are continuing.

The Government classifies Ahmadis as "non-Muslims" on their 
passports.  This has led the authorities in Saudi Arabia to 
prevent Ahmadis from performing the religious pilgrimage to 
Mecca.  In 1992 the Government ordered national identity cards 
to convey the bearer's religion, but so far the Government has 
not submitted implementing legislation.

In 1986 the Government inserted Section 295(c) into the Penal 
Code which stipulates the death penalty for blaspheming the 
Prophet Muhammad.  This provision has been used by litigants 
against Ahmadis, Christians, and even Muslims.  In 1992 the 
Senate unanimously adopted a bill to amend the Blasphemy Law so 
that the death penalty is mandatory upon conviction.

According to Ahmadi sources, 5 blasphemy cases, involving 15 
persons, were registered against Ahmadis in the first 9 months 
of 1994.  Since 1986 over 100 blasphemy cases have been 
registered against Ahmadis with no convictions.  In the same 
period, at least nine blasphemy cases have been brought against 
Christians and seven against Muslims.

Two persons were convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to 
death:  Mohammad Arshad Javaid of Bahawalpur, a 37-year-old 
Muslim who is reportedly mentally unsound and remains in 
prison, and Gul Masih, a Christian of Sargodha.  However, Gul 
Masih was acquitted of blasphemy by the Lahore High Court on 
November 27 and released from prison.

The Blasphemy Law has also been used to justify extrajudicial 
killings.  In Gujranwala, Punjab, a mob lynched a Muslim in 
April in front of the police station after falsely accusing him 
of burning a copy of the Koran.  In May a judge sentenced a 
Muslim accused of killing a Christian school teacher to 14 
years in prison.  Nevertheless, some observers criticized the 
ruling because the judge took into account the defendant's 
claim that he committed the offense because the teacher had 
blasphemed the Prophet Muhammad.  The judge reportedly stated 
that blaspheming the Prophet would be conducive to a total loss 
of control by every Muslim.

When such religious cases are brought to court, extremists 
often pack the courtroom and make public threats against an 
acquittal.  As a result, judges and magistrates often continue 
trials indefinitely, and the accused is burdened with further 
legal costs and repeated court appearances.

A Sunni Muslim group, the Anjuman Sipah-i-Sahaba, 
unsuccessfully sought to introduce legislation in 1994 that 
would have declared the Zikri sect in Balochistan as a 
non-Muslim sect.  There were also continued reports in the year 
of attacks by extremists on Hindus.

The security of religious minorities was a major issue of 
discussion in the Government and the press in 1994.  The 
Government promised to introduce measures to reduce the abusive 
litigation under the blasphemy laws, but defended the laws 
themselves.  At year's end, the Government had not taken any 
remedial action.

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

Most citizens enjoy freedom of movement within the country and 
to travel abroad, but the Government occasionally prohibits 
movement of persons within Pakistan through "externment orders" 
when it believes their presence will lead to a threat to public 
order.  Travel to Israel is legally prohibited.  Government 
employees must obtain "no objection certificates" before 
traveling abroad.  Students are also required to have these 
certificates from their institutions.  Pakistanis have and 
regularly exercise the right to emigrate.  Exit control lists 
are used to prevent the departure of wanted criminals.

The resumption of civil war in Afghanistan in early 1994 
created a new wave of refugees.  In response to this new 
influx, the Government closed its borders with Afghanistan and 
officially admitted only those Afghans who were properly 
documented or in need of humanitarian assistance.  Despite 
these restrictions over 66,000 new refugees arrived in the 
first 9 months of 1994.

Approximately 1.4 million Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan.  
They have limited access to legal protection and depend on the 
ability of the leaders of their groups to resolve disputes 
among themselves and with Pakistani society.  Women and girls 
have obtained better education and health care as group leaders 
gradually secured such services.  Many refugees have found 
employment but are not covered by the labor laws.

Traffickers in women bought or lured hundreds of women from 
Bangladesh with promises of a better life.  They transported 
the women across India and placed them with families as 
domestic servants or as prostitutes in brothels.  The 
authorities detained some of the women for prostitution under 
the Hadood Ordinances.  Few are able or willing to return to 
Bangladesh.  Many are released into the custody of their 
exploiters, who set them to work as prostitutes again.  Efforts 
to repatriate Bangladeshis in 1994 were mostly unsuccessful.

The "repatriation" of Biharis continued to be a contentious 
issue.  The Biharis are Urdu-speaking people from the Indian 
state of Bihar who went to East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, at 
the time of partition in 1947.  Since 1971, after Bangladesh 
gained its independence, approximately 250,000 Biharis have 
been in refugee camps in Bangladesh.  The repatriation of these 
people is tied to Pakistan's various ethnic problems.  While 
the Mohajir community, made up of Pakistanis who emigrated from 
India during partition, supports the repatriation, the Sindhi 
community opposes the move.  In 1993 the Government flew 342 
Biharis to Pakistan and placed them in temporary housing in 
central Punjab.  No further repatriation has occurred.

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

Citizens have the right and the ability to change their 
government peacefully.  With certain exceptions, citizens aged 
21 and over have the right to vote.  However, several million 
bonded laborers and nomads may not vote because the National 
Election Commission has ruled that 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.  In 1988 the Supreme Court struck down a law 
banning unregistered political parties from participating in 

The Senate is elected by the members of the four provincial 
assemblies.  Senators serve for 6 years.  The President is 
indirectly elected by an electoral college consisting of the 
members of the national and provincial assemblies and the 
Senate.  The President serves for 5 years.  Members of the 
national and provincial assemblies serve 5 years, unless the 
President dissolves the Assembly.  The Senate may not be 
dissolved by the President.  The President has the 
constitutional authority to dismiss the Government arbitrarily, 
but a 1993 Supreme Court ruling significantly limited that 

The Constitution requires that the President and Prime Minister 
be Muslims.  Members of minority religious groups may not vote 
in Muslim constituencies.  They cast their ballots for 
candidates running for special at-large seats reserved for them 
in the national and provincial assemblies.  Most Ahmadis, 
disputing their designation as non-Muslims, have refused to 
vote for such representatives.  Christians and Hindus note that 
this system marginalizes religious minorities, by allowing the 
Muslim candidates to ignore them as a voting block.  As a 
result, areas where minorities predominate receive 
significantly less government development and assistance funds.

Local governments and the provincial and national assemblies 
are directly elected.  However, local government bodies were 
dissolved in 1993 as the result of a political compromise 
between the ruling party and the opposition.  New elections 
have not been held.  In the meantime, provincial and federal 
officials are responsible for governance.

The more than 2 million Pushtun people living in the Federally 
Administered Tribal Areas do not vote for their National 
Assembly representatives and have no representation in the 
assembly of the Northwest Frontier province.  In keeping with 
local traditions, FATA's National Assembly members are elected 
by tribal leaders, or maliks, who are appointed in the 
Governor's name by the central Government's political agents.  
Many people living in this area have expressed dissatisfaction 
at having no vote.  However, the majority of Pushtun people 
live outside the FATA and, while retaining their tribal 
identity, are fully integrated into politics and society.

Because of a longstanding territorial dispute with India, the 
political status of the Northern Areas--Hunza, Gilgit, and 
Baltistan--is not 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 federal 
legislature.  The area is administered by an appointed civil 
servant.  While there is an elected Northern Areas Council, 
this body serves in an advisory capacity to the Federal 
Government and has no legislative authority.  In 1994 in 
response to concerns of lack of representation, the Federal 
Cabinet decided that residents of the Northern Areas would vote 
in elections for representatives to serve on an expanded 
Council.  However, the expanded Council does not have the 
authority to change laws or raise and spend revenue.

In 1993 the High Court of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) ruled 
that the Northern Areas should be incorporated into the 
semiautonomous state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and its 
inhabitants given a right to be represented in the AJK 
legislative assembly.  In August the High Court ruled that the 
Federal Government has authority over the Northern Areas until 
final status of Jammu and Kashmir is resolved.

Although women participate in government, they are 
underrepresented in political life at all levels.  Only 4 women 
hold seats in the 217-member National Assembly.  However, for 
the first time, the Government appointed at least five women to 
the previously all-male high court benches.  While women 
participate in large numbers in elections, some women are 
dissuaded from voting in elections by family, and religious and 
social customs in rural areas.

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

There are several domestic human rights organizations, and new 
human rights and legal aid groups continue to form and are 
generally free to operate without government restriction.  
Senior members of the Bhutto government, including the former 
Minister of Law and Justice, have been active members of 
respected human rights organizations and participate in human 
rights organization functions.

Religious extremists distributed material that accused several 
human rights activists of blasphemy and called for them to be 
killed.  Various international human rights organizations have 
been permitted to visit Pakistan and travel freely.

In 1994 the Government formed a human rights unit in the 
Ministry of Interior as a sort of ombudsman for human rights.  
The unit brought attention to the problem of spouse abuse by 
arranging visits by the Prime Minister to hospitalized abuse 
victims.  A human rights committee was also established in the 
National Assembly; a similar committee was formed in the Senate 
in 1993.  These committees have taken little action to date.

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


There are significant barriers to the advancement of women, 
beginning at birth.  In general, female children are less 
valued and cared for than male children.  According to a United 
Nations study, girls receive less nourishment, health care, and 
education than their brothers.  According to the Government, 
only 23.5 percent of the females over 10 years old are 
literate, compared with 48.9 percent for males.  Only 12 
percent of women use family planning methods.  As a result, the 
fertility rate is six children per woman.  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.

Human rights monitors and women's groups fear that the Shari'a 
Law would have a harmful effect on the rights of women and 
minorities.  However, the Law states that women's and minority 
rights protected under the Constitution would not be affected.  
The Law's impact on these groups has been limited because the 
Government has not passed enabling legislation.  Nonetheless, 
the Law reinforces popular attitudes and perceptions, and 
contributes to an atmosphere in which discriminatory treatment 
of women and non-Muslims is more readily accepted.

Some Islamic leaders continue to stress a conservative 
interpretation of Islamic injunctions to justify discrimination 
against women.  Many citizens 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 

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 
such cases women generally do not receive--or are pressed to 
surrender--their due share of the inheritance.  In rural areas, 
the practice of a woman "marrying the Koran" is still widely 
accepted if her family cannot arrange a suitable marriage or 
wants to keep the family wealth intact.  A woman married to the 
Koran is forbidden to have any contact with males over 14 years 
of age, including her immediate family members.

In 1992 the Supreme Court invalidated the requirement that a 
husband must give written notice of a divorce to a local union 
council.  The husband's statement, with or without witnesses, 
is the defining legal step.  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.

Although a small number of women study and teach in 
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 female 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.

There is no reliable information on the extent of domestic 
violence, primarily because it is viewed as a private matter 
and many women do not acknowledge that it is a serious 
problem.  A survey of burn victims at two hospitals in 
Rawalpindi and Islamabad conducted by the Progressive Women's 
Association from March to October reported 35 cases of burned 
women, only 4 of whom survived.  So far the Government has 
taken legal action against the perpetrators in seven cases and 
obtained two convictions.

While abusive spouses may be charged for assault, cases are 
rarely filed.  Police usually return battered wives to their 
abusive husbands.  A notable exception occurred in 1994 when a 
man convicted of mutilating his wife was sentenced to 30 years 
in prison and required to pay $4,000 in compensation.  That 
case had received extensive media coverage and the attention of 
the Prime Minister.

Rape is a widespread problem, although there was a slight 
decline in the reported incidence of rape during 1994 compared 
to 1993.  There were about 800 cases of rape reported in the 
press during the year.  It is estimated that less than 
one-third of all rapes are reported to the police.  Marital 
rape is not a crime.  The rape of another man's wife is a 
common method for revenge in rural and tribal areas.

The HRCP reports that there were 92 cases of public humiliation 
of women during 1994, including stripping in public, dragging 
them by the hair through the streets, throwing acid in their 
face, or public sexual harassment.  There is little evidence of 
efforts by police to stop such activities.

In 1994 the press continued to draw attention to the problem of 
so-called dowry deaths in which married women may be killed by 
relatives in a dowry dispute.  Most of the victims are burned 
to death, allegedly in kitchen stove accidents.  It is 
difficult to differentiate criminal conduct from stove 
accidents which are common because of the use of unsafe wood or 
gas stoves and because women wear garments of highly flammable 

There are an increasing number of reports of women killed or 
mutilated by male relatives who suspect them of adultery.  Few 
such cases are investigated seriously.  An article in the 
magazine Newsline alleged that hundreds of men and women from 
Balochistan and rural areas of Sindh and Punjab provinces are 
killed annually for illicit sexual relations.  While the 
tradition of such killing applies equally to offending men and 
women, women are more likely to be killed than men.

Women's organizations operate primarily in 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 began implementation of an internationally 
funded program to train and deploy 33,000 female health care 
workers in rural areas.  By December, it had hired 1,760 
workers.  The Government also produced television documentaries 
on women in development and family planning, and promoted 
population services in advertisements and by enlisting the 
support of religious leaders.  The Prime Minister spoke at the 
September 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and 
Development.  All these efforts were seen as important for the 
reversal of Pakistan's poor record in this area.


Legal rights for children are theoretically protected by 
numerous laws which incorporate elements of the U.N. Convention 
on the Rights of the Child.  However, the Government frequently 
fails to enforce these laws.  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 for convicted prisoners under age 21.  A 
United Nations report estimates that there are 250 children 
under the age of 14 in Pakistani prisons at any time.  Although 
Punjab and Sindh provinces have laws mandating special judicial 
procedures for child offenders, in practice, children and 
adults are essentially treated equally.  Very young children 
accompany their convicted mothers to jail.

Many children begin working at a very early age.  At the age of 
five or six, female children are often responsible for younger 
siblings.  Children are sometimes kidnaped to be used as forced 
labor, for ransom, or to seek revenge against an enemy.  The 
HRCP reported an average of 400 kidnapings of children per 
month in Punjab province alone in 1993.  The HRCP also reported 
that half of the 4,000 rapes that were registered in Pakistan 
in 1993 were of minors or teenagers.

Child prostitution involving boys and girls is widely known to 
exist but is rarely discussed.  The Government does little to 
deter it.  In Lahore, there are reported to be 2,900 full-time 
prostitutes in over 1,200 brothels.  It is estimated that 20 
percent of the prostitutes are minors.

In July human rights groups and the press reported that 27 boys 
were being kept in chains in an Islamic school in the Punjab.  
The boys, who had been turned over to the school by their 
parents, often for disciplinary reasons, had been shackled in 
groups to wooden blocks.  Some had been chained for several 
years.  The school's existence and the chaining was known to 
the parents and the community where it had operated for 20 
years.  Police raided the facility and cut the chains but no 
further action was taken to arrest the school's owner or remove 
the children.  There were unconfirmed reports of the existence 
of other such institutions.

     Religious Minorities

In addition to the violence and harassment noted in previous 
sections of this report, religious minority groups experience 
much discrimination in employment and education; 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 midlevel 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.  Ahmadis 
find that they are prevented from entering management levels in 
government service.  Even the rumor that someone may be an 
Ahmadi or have Ahmadi relatives can stifle opportunities for 
employment or promotion.

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.  Among religious minorities, 
there is a well-founded belief that the authorities afford them 
less legal protection than they afford Muslim citizens.

Many Christians continue to express the fear of forced 
marriages between Muslim males and Christian women, although 
the practice is relatively rare.  Christians are also subject 
to harassment by the authorities, notably including the 
blasphemy laws and difficulty in obtaining permission to build 

     People with Disabilities

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

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Industrial Relations Ordinance of 1969 (IRO) enunciates the 
right of industrial workers to form trade unions but is subject 
to major restrictions in some employment areas.  In practice, 
labor laws place significant constraints on the formation of 
industrial unions and their ability to function effectively.  
For example, the law prohibits workers in export processing 
zones (EPZ's) from forming trade unions.  Under the Essential 
Services Maintenance Act of 1952 (ESA), workers 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 
transport, are allowed to form unions.  However, the ESA 
sharply restricts normal union activities, usually prohibiting, 
for example, the right to strike in affected industries.

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.  There is no provision in the law granting the 
right of association to agricultural workers.

Legally required conciliation proceedings and cooling-off 
periods constrain the right to strike, as does the Government's 
authority to ban any strike that may cause "serious hardship to 
the community" or prejudice to the national interest.  The 
Government may also ban a strike that has continued for 30 days.

Strikes are rare.  When they occur, they are usually illegal 
and short.  The Government regards as illegal any strike 
conducted by workers who are not members of a legally 
registered union.  Police do not hesitate to crack down on 
worker demonstrations.  The law prohibits employers from 
seeking retribution against leaders of a legal strike and 
stipulates criminal penalties for offenders.  The courts may 
imprison employers for violating this prohibition but they are 
more likely to fine them.  The law does not protect leaders of 
illegal strikes.

Unions may belong to federations.  There are seven major 
federations which are free to affiliate with international 
federations and confederations.  The Government permits trade 
unions of all political orientations.  While many unions remain 
aloof from party politics, 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.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) encourages 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.  The 
Government was also asked to amend any provisions of the 
Industrial Relations Ordinance, 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 government request, the ILO 
agreed to provide technical assistance to bring the country's 
labor laws into conformity with the world body's conventions.

In 1994 a government task force on labor prepared a report 
recommending improvements on worker rights problems.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The right of industrial workers to organize and freely elect 
representatives to act as collective bargaining agents is 
established in law.  The IRO prohibits antiunion discrimination 
by employers.  If found guilty of antiunion discrimination, 
employers are required to reinstate workers fired for union 

In general, legally constituted unions have the right to 
bargain collectively.  However, the many restrictions on 
forming unions discussed above preclude collective bargaining 
by large sections of the labor force, e.g., agricultural 
workers, who are not guaranteed the right to strike, bargain 
collectively, or make demands on employers.

The Essential Services Act also restricts collective 
bargaining.  For each industry subject to the ESA, the 
Government must make a finding, renewable every 6 months, on 
the limits of union activity.  In cases in which the Government 
prohibits collective bargaining, special wage boards decide 
wage levels.

These boards are established at the provincial level and are 
comprised of representatives from industry, labor, and the 
provincial labor ministry, which provides the chairman.  The 
chairman may name additional industry and labor representatives 
to the board.  Despite the presence of the labor 
representatives, unions are generally dissatisfied with the 
boards' findings.  Disputes are adjudicated before the National 
Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC).  A worker's right to 
quit may also be curtailed under the Essential Services Act.  
Dismissed workers have no recourse to the labor courts.  Most 
unions call for the abolition of the ESA.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Constitution and the law prohibit forced labor.  However, 
critics argue that the ESA's limitation on some worker rights 
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.  However, the Government has taken no further action.

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.  
Conservative estimates put the figure of bonded workers at 
several million.

The Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act, adopted in 1992, 
outlawed bonded labor, canceled all existing bonded debts, and 
forbade lawsuits for the recovery of existing debts.  However, 
the provincial governments, which are responsible for enforcing 
the law, have failed to establish enforcement mechanisms.  
Hence, the law is largely ineffective.  Lacking employment 
alternatives, many workers have voluntarily returned to bonded 

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Child labor is common and results from a combination of severe 
poverty, weak laws, and inadequate enforcement of those that do 
exist.  A key factor is the absence of any compulsory primary 
education.  The Government acknowledges that violations of 
existing laws are common.

Unofficial estimates indicate that workers under 18 years old 
make up one-third of the total labor force.  While much child 
labor is in the traditional framework of family farming or 
small business, the employment of children in larger industries 
and, according to labor activists, in state-sponsored training 
programs, is also widespread.  Child labor is widely employed 
in the carpet industry, much of which is family-run.  This 
appears to be the only export industry in which child labor is 
employed on a significant scale.

In June the Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding 
with the ILO on cooperation toward elimination of child labor.  
The two sides will conduct a nationwide survey to develop an 
accurate assessment of the scale of child labor.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Labor regulations are governed by federal statutes applicable 
throughout the country.  The monthly minimum wage is 
approximately $50 (1,500 rupees).  Although this wage provides 
a meager subsistence living for a small family, minimum wage 
benefits affects only a small part of the work force.

The law, applicable nationally, provides for a maximum workweek 
of 54 hours, rest periods during the workday, and paid annual 
holidays.  These regulations do not apply to agricultural 
workers, workers in factories with fewer than 10 employees, and 
to the small "contract groups," which are subdivisions within 
factories of 10 or fewer workers.  Many workers are unaware of 
the regulations protecting their rights because of their lack 
of education.

The provinces have been ineffective in enforcing labor 
regulations, because of limited resources, corruption, and 
inadequate regulatory structures.  In general, health and 
safety standards are poor.  Although organized labor presses 
for improvements, the Government has done little and weakly 
enforces existing legal protections.

[end of document]


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