2010 was another deadly year in Pakistan, and this year is likely to be worse, according to a report from the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), the country’s principal human rights watchdog.
Pakistan's biggest problem continues to be violence carried out militants, HRCP chairman Mehdi Hasan said.
In 2010, 67 suicide attacks were carried out across the country in which 1,169 people were killed. At least 1,000 of those were civilians.
Hasan added that 2,542 people were estimated to have been killed in militant attacks in the country last year.
In Baluchistan, the southwestern region bordering Iran, where the Pakistani government is battling insurgents, 118 people were killed by state security forces. Hasan believes 2011 will show even more such killings in the lawless province.
The study also said that at least 900 people were killed by drone strikes launched by the U.S. military in connection with its war in neighboring Afghanistan.
HRCP also lamented about increasing violence against religious minorities in Pakistan.
The report indicated that 99 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community were killed in attacks in 2010, while another 64 people had been charged under the country's strict blasphemy law.
Despite promises by the government to amend or lift the blasphemy laws, HRCP saw no hope of such a measure on the horizon.
“Vigilantes and radical elements continued to treat as fair game anyone accused of blasphemy, or anyone voicing support for such accused,” HRCP stated.
“Extremist views grew more vociferous as voices endorsing basic human rights and tolerance became more isolated and muted in the face of violence and intimidation.”
HRCP described 2010 as a “particularly bad one for religious freedoms” in Pakistan, and warned that “worse times are in store”.
Among other items in the report:
*As many as 12,580 people were murdered, while 581 kidnappings for ransom and 16,977 cases of abduction were also reported.
*There were 37,088 cases of vehicle theft or snatching. Police recovered 60,884 illegal weapons.
*338 people were killed in police encounters. Only 28 ?suspects? were injured and captured alive.
*At least 174 people were rescued from illegal police detention.
*237 political activists and 301 other civilians were killed in targeted killings in Karachi.
*118 people were killed and 40 injured in 117 targeted killings in Balochistan. They included 29 non-Baloch settlers and 17 members of the Shia Hazara community. Bodies of 59 missing persons were found in the province.
*NGOs and human rights defenders faced threats and attacks because of their work.
*The death row population has grown to around 8,000, with nearly 6,000 death penalty convicts in Punjab alone.
*The authorized capacity of the country’s 91 prisons was 42,617 persons but 75,586 prisoners are being detained.
*Of the 12,980 detainees in jails across Sindh, 10,306 were under trial, while 33,809 of the 51,902 detainees in the prisons of Punjab were under trial.
*There were 931 women and 1,154 juvenile detainees in prisons across the country, most of them under trial.
*72 prisoners died in prisons across the country and another 157 were injured.
*356 people were sentenced to death, including seven women and one juvenile.
*20 journalists and media workers lost their lives in attacks and targeted killings.
*Security forces personnel subjected journalists to physical attacks,intimidation and arbitrary detention. Extremist militants and criminals hired by private individuals also harassed and assaulted them