ICJ chided Pakistan for new ordinance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, says will 'lead to human rights violations'

Geneva: International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has denounced promulgation of an ordinance by Pakistan government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which will extend certain powers of the armed forces and said that the implementation of the order will "lead to serious human rights violations and miscarriages of justice".

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Actions (In Aid of Civil Power) Ordinance, 2019, which was issued by the provincial Governor on August 5, gives sweeping powers to members of the armed forces, including the power to detain people without charge or trial on a number of vaguely defined grounds where it appears that such "internment" would be expedient for peace.

ICJ's Asia Director Frederick Rawski, in its statement dated September 27, said that Islamabad must reject the "dangerous, oppressive, and counterproductive strategy and instead strengthen its judicial process and law enforcement".

The new ordinance depicts Pakistan hypocrisy as the country is howling over India's action in Jammu and Kashmir. However, at the same time, hiding the facts of human rights violation they are committed in their country where minorities are subjugated.

The new order is almost a reproduction of two regulations promulgated by the president in 2011 for Fata and Pata through which legal cover was given to several detention centres set up during the military operations in different regions.

The ICJ also pointed out the same fact saying the regulations of 2011 were "extensively used as a legal cover for arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances".

"ICJ today denounced the promulgation of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Actions (In Aid of Civil Power) Ordinance, 2019, by the Governor of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on 5 August 2019.

The ICJ said that implementation of the Ordinance will lead to serious human rights violations and miscarriages of justice, contrary to the purported aims of the measures," the statement reads.

"The Ordinance is yet another example of Pakistan's resort to 'exceptional' measures that are grossly incompatible with human rights protections, ostensibly to combat terrorism and other serious crime," said Frederick Rawski, ICJ's Asia Director.

"Pakistan must reject this dangerous, oppressive, and counterproductive strategy and instead strengthen its judicial process and law enforcement in line with its domestic law and international human rights law obligations," he added.

The ICJ, an international human rights non-governmental organisation, also noted the ordinance provides that statements or depositions by members of the armed forces shall on their own be sufficient for convicting the detainees if they are tried for any offence.

The ordinance also provides wide immunity for armed forces for any action done, taken, ordered to be taken, or conferred, assumed or exercised by, before or after the promulgation of the Ordinance, it added In their review of Pakistan's implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture (CAT),

the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Committee against Torture in 2017 expressed concern about the Regulations, and recommended that Pakistan "review the Actions (in aid of Civil Power) Regulation, 2011 with a view to repealing it or bringing it into conformity with international standards."

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