LONDON: Amnesty International urged Pakistan on Monday to tackle human rights violations ahead of a visit to Britain by President Asif Zardari, which has become clouded by a diplomatic row over terrorism.
The spat erupted after British Prime Minister David Cameron said last week that Pakistan could not be permitted to “look both ways” in promoting the export of terror while publicly working for stability in the region.
On the eve of President Asif Ali Zardari’s arrival in London on Tuesday, Amnesty said the worsening security situation there has left thousands of civilians dead and over a million displaced, and urged Islamabad to take action. “The conditions are right for Pakistan to show it is serious about political solutions to the human rights violations, poverty, and constitutional rights vacuum in the northwest,” said Amnesty Asia-Pacific head Sam Zarifi.
“President Zardari should take this opportunity to answer his critics by announcing specific, major reforms, like the abolition of the Frontier Crimes Regulations that treat northwestern Pakistan like a human rights-free zone.”
The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) is a colonial-era law that applies only to the population of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where police and courts have no jurisdiction. It advocates collective punishment and restricts electoral rights, Amnesty International said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2010.
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