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PAKISTAN: Human rights NGO calls on Govt to respect right to life

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pakistan.jpgFORUM-ASIA's Pakistan based member Human Rights Commission for Pakistan (HRCP) has called on the authority to address the plight of the people living in the militancy-hit area of Swat.

The statement, issued on 25 September 2008 and undersigned by Chairperson Asma Jhagir, said that the human rights situation in the area was alarming and was deteriorating daily.
It further pointed out that the population was facing a serious threat from militants and also disruption of electricity, gas and water supply and shortage of edibles, which have compounded their miseries.

HRCP believed that time had come to seek the help of the UN High Commission for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Crosss in mitigating the suffering of the displaced people. This should also apply to displaced persons in other parts of the country.

According to the statement, "the citizens have to put up with the rigours of extended curfew, at some places round the clock, they must have protection against criminals and lawless elements who appear to be enjoying a free hand".

NOTE: Pakistan has come under heavy attacks from Islamist militant and Pakistani Taleban in the past few months.
Pakistan army launched security operation in the areas adjoining Afghanistan in 2002 to comb out Islamist and pro-Taleban fighters.

In Swat, the forces are fighting against the militants supporting religious leader Maulana Fazlullah, noted for his anti-west rhetoric, extremist religious views and anti-polio eradication campaign in the valley.

His militants have also torched nearly 125 girls' schools in the area.
The operation and subsequent conflict has resulted in mass exodus of locals from upper Swat.
The North West Frontier Province government in which Swat valley lies and militants led by Maulana Fazlullah signed an agreement on 21 May to restore peace but it lasted only till 19 September.