Pakistan

Despite the first-ever transfer of power from one civilian government to another in Pakistan, the army and its associated agencies have regained primacy in governance. Enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and torture take place with impunity. Violent attacks by extremist Islamist groups or mobs on religious minorities, fostered in part by draconian “blasphemy laws,” are frequent. Sectarian violence and the government’s confrontation with militant groups continue to feed instability. In response to massacres by the Pakistani Taliban, overly broad counterterrorism legislation was passed in 2014 that created a legal pretext for abuses by the security forces without accountability. Despite the long moratorium on the death penalty imposed by the previous government, the Nawaz Sharif government has engaged in numerous executions of those on death row for political reasons.