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U.S. Faults Pakistan On Rights Shortcomings


A Pakistani policeman sits beside detained and hooded men inside a secure police van in Bahawalpur, in Punjab province, in October.

A Pakistani policeman sits beside detained and hooded men inside a secure police van in Bahawalpur, in Punjab province, in October.

A U.S. State Department report says Pakistan has made only "limited" progress in improving human rights.

The assessment also draws attention to reports that thousands of political separatists are being detained by security forces without communication with the outside world -- particularly in the separatist-hit Balochistan Province.

The report, which was mandated by the U.S. Congress, was completed in November but was apparently first reported on this week in "The New York Times."

The report says there continue to be what it called "gross violations of human rights by Pakistani security forces," and says Pakistan "has made limited progress in advancing human rights and continues to face human rights challenges."

It says the State Department continues to pressure Pakistani military and civilian authorities, at the highest levels, to take what it called "serious and sustained action to eliminate extrajudicial killings, provide humanitarian access and investigate all cases of disappearances."

The assessment expressed particular concern about the southwestern province of Balochistan, where there is a long-running separatist insurgency. The report notes that nongovernmental organizations "have reported thousands of disappearances, mostly in Balochistan," and says "hundreds of cases are pending in the courts and remain unresolved."

compiled from agency reports
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