UN Committee asks multiple questions on Pakistan’s human rights record

The ICJ and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) urge the Pakistani authorities to fully engage with the UN human rights body by answering its questions comprehensively.

The call follows the recent adoption by the United Nations Human Rights Committee of a document raising a multiplicity of concerns about Pakistan’s human rights record.

“It is encouraging to see Pakistan’s increased engagement with United Nations human rights mechanisms in recent years”, said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Asia Director.

“But it is important that the Government does not stop here and now takes the additional constructive step of answering all the Committee’s questions truthfully and honestly,” he added.

In November 2016, during its 118th session, the Human Rights Committee adopted a document known as a List of issues in relation to Pakistan’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), in which the Committee asked multiple questions about the country’s human rights record, including:

  • Fair trial concerns as a result of the expanded jurisdiction of military courts following the introduction/adoption of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, including the criteria for and the process of selecting cases to be tried by military courts, the qualifications of judges presiding over those courts and their proceedings;
  • Reintroduction of the death penalty and the wide scope of its application, including the mandatory death sentence for “blasphemy”;
  • Broad and vaguely defined “blasphemy offences”, their disproportionate use against individuals belonging to religious minorities; the large number of “blasphemy” cases instituted on the basis of false accusations; and the lack of mechanisms to protect judges who hear “blasphemy” cases and those accused of blasphemy from intimidation and threats;
  • Rights of Ahmadis, including their “right to profess, practice and propagate” their religion without interference;
  • Repatriation of Afghan refugees, including information on the adoption of a draft national refugee law and a comprehensive policy on the voluntary repatriation and management of Afghan nationals;
  • Rights of women, including steps taken by the Government to prevent and punish persistent violence (sexual and otherwise) against women, including so-called honour killings;
  • Torture and other ill-treatment, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances, including steps taken by the Government to implement the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Muhabbat Shah case, which held military authorities responsible for the enforced disappearance of at least 28 people from a Malakand internment centre.

This is the first time Pakistan’s human rights record is being reviewed by the Human Rights Committee, the treaty body that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its State parties, since Pakistan ratified the Covenant in 2010.

The next step in the review process is for Pakistan to respond to the questions framed in the List of Issues.

The Human Rights Committee will undertake a comprehensive review Pakistan’s compliance with and implementation of the ICCPR and adopt concluding observations in July 2017.

“It is of the utmost importance to Pakistan to derive greater benefit from its engagement with the UN human rights mechanisms by making a sincere effort to answer the concerns of the Committee,” said I A Rehman, Secretary General of HRCP.


Pakistan ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in June 2010. Following ratification/accession, every state party to the ICCPR is required to submit an initial “state report” containing information on the implementation of each provision of the treaty.

Pakistan submitted its initial state report to the Human Rights Committee in October 2015.

In light of the information provided in the State report, as well as information received from civil society, the Human Rights Committee then prepares a List of Issues containing particular issues of concern to the Committee, and asking whatever questions it sees fit in light of those concerns.

The answers provided by the State party to those questions, as well as other information submitted by civil society and others form the basis of the “review” of the State’s compliance with the treaty.

The State is not obligated to reply to the List of Issues in advance of the review session, but in practice most do.

The State replies are presented to the Committee at the beginning of the review and are the starting point for the interactive dialogue between the Committee and the State under review.

During the review, the Committee meets with State representatives who present answers to the List of Issues and respond to the Committee’s questions.

At the end of the session, the Committee adopts Concluding Observations, which highlight the Committee’s concerns and make recommendations to the State on improving the implementation of the ICCPR.

Pakistan’s ICCPR review is scheduled to take place in July 2017.


We are using cookies to give you the best experience. You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in privacy settings.
AcceptPrivacy Settings


This Cookie Policy explains how Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK (AMA UK)  Limited (“company”, “we”, “us”, and “ours”) use cookies and similar technologies to recognize you when you visit our websites, including without limitation www.ahmadiyyauk.org and its mobile or localized versions and related domains / sub-domains (“Websites”) and/or our mobile application (“App”). It explains what these technologies are and why we use them, as well as your rights to control our use of them.

What are cookies?

Cookies are text files containing small amounts of information which are downloaded to your computer or mobile device when you visit a website or mobile application. Cookies are then sent back to the originating site on each subsequent visit, or to another site that recognizes that cookies. You can find out more information about cookies at www.allaboutcookies.org.

Cookies are widely used in order to make sites work or to work more efficiently.

We use cookies to enhance the online experience of our visitors (for example, by remembering your visits and/or page preferences) and to better understand how our site is used. Cookies may tell us, for example, whether you have visited our site before or whether you are a new visitor.

Cookies can remain on your computer or mobile device for different periods of time. Some cookies are ‘session cookies’, meaning that they exist only while your browser is open. These are deleted automatically once you close your browser. Other cookies are ‘permanent cookies,’ meaning that they survive after your browser is closed. They can be used by the site to recognize your computer or mobile device when you open your browser and browse the Internet again.

Why do we use cookies?

We use cookies for several reasons. Some cookies are required for technical reasons in order for our Websites and/or App to operate, and we refer to these as “essential” or “strictly necessary” cookies. Other cookies also enable us to track and target the interests of our users to enhance the experience on our Websites and/or App. Third parties serve cookies through our Websites and/or App for analytics and other purposes such as Google Analytics. In particular, we use forms related cookies which when you submit data through a form such as those found on contact pages or comment forms cookies may be set to remember your user details for future correspondence.

How can you control cookies?

You have the right to choose whether or not to accept cookies and we have explained how you can exercise this right below. However, please note that if you do not accept our cookies, you may experience some inconvenience in your use of our site.

You can set or amend your web browser controls to accept or refuse cookies. As the means by which you can refuse cookies through your web browser controls vary from browser-to-browser, you should visit your browser’s help menu for more information.

How often will we update this Cookie Policy?

We may update this Cookie Policy from time to time in order to reflect, for example, changes to the cookies we use or for other operational, legal or regulatory reasons. Please, therefore, re-visit this Cookie Policy regularly to stay informed about our use of cookies and related technologies.