IHC Seeks Comments on Removal of Judge and Child Labor Laws in Rizwana Torture Case
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has requested detailed comments from the Islamabad commissioner and court-appointed advisors regarding the removal of civil judge Asim Hafeez and the enforcement of child labor laws in the Rizwana torture case. Chief Justice Aamer Farooq presided over the hearing, where the Ministry of Human Rights provided a report.
Notices were also issued to the Child Labor Department, Ministry of Law, and Ministry of Human Rights. The court expressed concern about child labor in Islamabad and inquired about the steps taken to implement child labor laws. The federal law officer submitted relevant laws and stated that the responsibility for enforcement lies with the Islamabad Child Labor Department. The hearing was adjourned until December 6.
Shortage of Female Police Officers Hinders Justice Access for Women in Merged Districts
A striking shortage of female police officers in the merged district is reportedly discouraging women from reporting injustices, as law enforcement teams there are predominantly comprised of men. For example, when Khalida, a resident of Mohmand District, sought a share of the inheritance money from her brothers after the sale of ancestral land, she encountered rejection and found no viable recourse for her grievance. This issue is not limited to her district alone; data from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Police reveals that out of 117,000 officers in the provincial police force, only 1,105 are female, constituting less than 1% of the total force. In the merged tribal districts, including Mohmand, the gender disparity among police officers is even more pronounced, with just 30 women out of 25,879 personnel, accounting for less than 0.5%.
This lack of female representation is concerning, especially considering that Mohmand District, with a population of over 550,000, has merely six female police officers despite almost half of its residents being women. This gender imbalance extends to other merged districts, such as Kurram, North Waziristan, and South Waziristan, with populations ranging from 690,000 to 880,000, where female officers are scarce. Addressing this disparity is crucial, as it not only undermines women’s access to justice but also hinders the ability of the police force to effectively address women’s issues and concerns. Efforts to attract more female personnel have been acknowledged, but a concrete timeline for improving gender representation remains undisclosed.
Civil Society Urges UNHCR to Halt Afghan Deportations by Pakistan
A coalition of civil society groups is calling on the UNHCR to prevent the deportation of Afghan asylum-seekers by the Pakistani government. These Afghans, including women, children, the ill, and the elderly, possess valid documents and have pending refugee applications. They have urged the UNHCR to intervene and discourage forced deportations, which have recently been ordered by the caretaker government, a departure from Pakistan’s long-standing policy of providing refuge to Afghans with valid documents.
The civil society coalition highlights reports of harassment and extortion against these vulnerable individuals. They argue that the deportation decision contradicts legal and constitutional decisions and violates international agreements and treaties. The alliance insists that the government should recognize the right to asylum for vulnerable people, as recognized by Pakistan’s Constitution and upheld by the Islamabad High Court.