March 14, 2008

Amnesty urges Pakistan lawmakers to restore rights

Filed under: DOMESTIC — civilsocietypakistan @ 7:17 am
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MARCH 14, 2008

Updated at  
LONDON: Amnesty International on Thursday called on Pakistani lawmakers to take action to restore rights suspended since a state of emergency last year, when parliament meets next week. In a report entitled �Repairing the damage: ensuring robust human rights safeguards,� Amnesty voiced concern in particular over the diminished role of an independent judiciary.

�Steps taken by Pervez Musharraf, both as Chief of Army Staff and as President, breached both national and international law,� said Tim Parritt, Amnesty�s deputy head for Asia. �Musharraf suspended fundamental rights including the right to life and freedom from discrimination, put his actions beyond judicial review and illegally replaced judges critical of the executive � including on human rights � with compliant ones.� They obliged him by declaring his actions lawful, he added.

Amnesty said the new parliament should stand firm. �Unless the new parliament decides to undo these measures, the outlook for human rights protection in Pakistan remains bleak,� said Parritt.

�Parliament must take concrete action, ensuring that human rights, the constitution and the judiciary are never again viewed as expendable tools to be tolerated by those in power only to the extent that they are useful. �Piecemeal amendments will not repair the long-term damage caused during the state of emergency � a sea change is needed in Pakistan�s political culture,� he added.


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