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Pakistan: New parliament must honour will of the people

Amnesty calls for return of independent judiciary and release of judges and lawyers

Pakistan’s new Parliament must take urgent steps to restore an independent judiciary, ensure the release of illegally detained lawyers and judges, and restore the constitution to its pre-emergency state, Amnesty International said today.

Tim Parritt, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific programme, said:

“The Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz who have secured at least half the seats in Parliament have an historic opportunity to ensure a full restoration of respect for human rights in Pakistan – not least by upholding provisions guaranteeing human rights and the rule of law at all times.

“The new Parliament must show that it will listen to its people who have given it a powerful mandate for change. By shouldering this responsibility and exercising political will they can bring an end to the cycle of violence and abuses that have affected Pakistan for decades and ensure that Pakistan emerges as a state that extends protections to all its civilians.

“As a priority, Parliament must commit itself to reversing the changes introduced in the Constitution during the emergency period, ensuring that the constitutional protection of human rights may not be suspended by military or other unilateral executive interventions in future.”

Amnesty International believes that the new Parliament and future government must:

· Reinstate the judges of the superior judiciary who were punitively and unconstitutionally dismissed in November 2007
· Uphold the independence of the judiciary at all times
· Ratify and implement international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention Against Torture and Convention against Enforced Disappearances

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