Pakistan’s government has ceded significant constitutional and decision-making authority to the armed forces. The military – which has muzzled the media and critical voices – assumed control of implementing a national plan to address terrorism, largely without civilian oversight. 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. The government ended an unofficial ban on the death penalty, executing more than 300 in 2015.

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