’Karachi action mustn’t undermine due process, right to criticize institutions’

July 27, 2015 Off By Web Desk

KARACHI: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called for greater transparency and due process in the Rangers’ operation in Karachi and expressed concern over actions that can undermine citizens’ right to criticise and question actions of state institutions.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Commission stated: “In the ongoing Rangers’ operation in Karachi, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement has asserted that it is being singled out and victimised. Amid raids on MQM offices, many claims have been made by the MQM and the Rangers that merit independent scrutiny.

“Amid the action, claims and counter-claims, HRCP has grown increasingly concerned over rising challenges to freedom of opinion and expression. There is no good reason why there should be any restriction on the right to criticise the Rangers, or any other institution for that matter. This right of course does not extend to inciting hatred or violence against anyone. HRCP does not think that actions such as booking MQM leaders for listening to Altaf Hussain’s speeches are in consonance with the freedom of opinion and expression, again with the caveat that such expression must not incite hatred.

“HRCP acknowledges that the rampant target killings in Karachi have certainly decreased during the Rangers’ operation in the city. We hope and expect that effective measures will be taken to make these gains sustainable and to ensure that those indulging in the killings are brought to justice in a transparent and lawful manner.

HRCP said it had many concerns with regard to due process amid a perceptible rise in suspects’ killings in encounters in Karachi, as was obvious from official figures also. They could not stress enough the need for transparency in security operations, and unequivocally state that people being picked up and their whereabouts remaining unknown for days is utterly unacceptable.

“We believe that the security agencies are also familiar with reports of bands of Taliban and other similar groups, who seem to be flourishing in Karachi, holding their own ‘courts’ and deciding disputes. We hope the security agencies agree that any action to restore peace and security in Karachi would remain incomplete so long as such elements are not pursued.”