Lahore, February 22: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Monday expressed grave concern over detention of family members of suspected militants and continuing reports of revenge killings in Swat in the Malakand Division.
A statement issued by the Commission said: “HRCP has noted with deep concern credible reports of a large number of people in custody of the security forces in the Malakand Division who have not been produced in court. Many such detainees are relatives, including female family members, of suspected militants, who have apparently been taken into custody to press the militants to surrender.
Of similar concern are continuing reports of revenge killings targeting individuals suspected to have sided with the Taliban.
The Commission acknowledges that the government is dealing with a difficult situation in the fight against violent extremism in the region, but no circumstances authorise the state agencies to deal with the citizens in any manner they please. Nor does such situation deprive the citizens of their basic rights, particularly their right to life and to due process of law.
The government must ensure that each one of such detainees is immediately produced in court or released and paid compensation for arbitrary detention. HRCP also demands that International Committee of the Red Cross is granted access to the detainees.
The government must also ensure that no one is allowed to deny the citizens their right to life in an arbitrary manner. Allowing the citizens to take the law into their own hands would only fuel a cycle of revenge killings and the government would have lost another opportunity to distinguish its rule from that of the militants.