• The judicial ouster of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, attacks on civilians by militant groups, growing electricity shortages, and rising food and fuel prices all contributed to turbulence in Pakistan. Religious minorities – such as the Shia-Muslim Hazara community – were killed in large numbers with no one held to account. The military dominated politics in Pakistan and operated above the law. A number of terrorism suspects and the military’s opponents were forcibly disappeared. The police committed widespread abuses, including torturing criminal suspects and committing extrajudicial killings, while law enforcement broke down in the face of attacks by armed militant groups. Abuses by state security forces and militant groups worsened in mineral-rich Balochistan.
  • Afghan refugees living in Pakistan attend Eid-al-Fitr prayers on the outskirts of Peshawar on August 8, 2013.
    Pakistan’s government should ensure that its proposed National Refugee Law meets international standards for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Any promise of progress on human rights and security in Pakistan after elections last year has disappointed. Militant, terrorist, and sectarian attacks continue while the Pakistani government flip-flops on talks with the Taliban and serious counterterrorism abuses persist. Meanwhile, there is real uncertainty for Afghanistan as U.S. forces withdraw and the Afghan presidential election unfolds.

    Looking at a pivotal year for Pakistan and the region, experts debate the greatest threats to human rights and security, talks with the Taliban and other militant groups, and what kind of impact the United States, the international community, and civil society can have on security and human rights.



  • Apr 11, 2014
    Pakistan’s draft counterterrorism law threatens basic rights and freedoms in violation of Pakistan’s international legal obligations.
  • Jan 27, 2014
    Madeeha Syed speaks to Human Rights Watch's Ali Dayan Hasan about the state and predicament of the Hazara in Quetta.
  • Jan 20, 2014
    Former Parkistan Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who retired on December 11, 2013, has earned a place in Pakistan's history as the first chief justice to successfully defy a military ruler's attempt to dismiss him. His defiance set off the "lawyers' movement," whose members took to the streets to defend judicial independence.
  • Dec 18, 2013
    The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) should leverage their countries’ collective bargaining power to seek greater protection for their nationals working in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
  • Dec 17, 2013
    We are writing to you in advance of International Migrants Day, December 18, to draw your attention to the abuse and exploitation of workers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries—Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Kuwait.
  • Nov 15, 2013
    Pakistan’s government should ensure that its proposed National Refugee Law meets international standards for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Nov 11, 2013
    The Pakistani government should urgently act to prevent deadly sectarian attacks on Pakistan’s Shia Muslims that escalate during the Muslim holy month of Moharram.
  • Oct 14, 2013
    Human Rights Watch is a nongovernment organization that monitors and reports on international human rights, refugee, and humanitarian law issues in more than 90 countries around the world.
  • Sep 9, 2013
    Iranian authorities should shelve plans to expel hundreds of thousands of Afghans after their visas expired on September 6, 2013.
  • Aug 28, 2013
    The Pakistani government should affirm its commitment to end enforced disappearances by ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Human Rights Watch said today. The third annual United Nations International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances is on August 30, 2013.