academics write to shehbaz sharif about pakistan’s ‘deteriorating’ human rights situation
Pakistan – According to media reports, a group of academics, including Noam Chomsky, has written an open letter to Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, urging him to take action against the country’s ‘deteriorating human rights situation’, especially since the ouster of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
“There has been an alarming rise in human rights violations in Pakistan in the last two months, including suppression of freedom of speech; harassment and intimidation of journalists, social media users, and political activists; and the filing of false blasphemy cases against political rivals,” according to the letter dated May 26.
It also raised worry about political opponents’ arrests, including former human rights minister Shireen Mazari and other political activists, for their social media posts.
According to the Express Tribune, the letter stated that there had been raids and cases against journalists and politicians with “electronic equipment hacked, seized, and kidnapped.”
The scholars also discussed the blasphemy cases brought against the PTI’s leadership following an incident on the premises of Masjid Nabwi (SAW) earlier this year. The government was accused of exploiting blasphemy laws for ‘political revenge against political enemies’, according to the report.
“These troubling developments go against democratic government’s minimum criteria, fundamental freedoms guaranteed by Pakistan’s constitution, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” the statement read.
“We strongly urge Pakistan’s competent authorities to respect and protect basic human rights, especially the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and religion or believe,” the statement continued.