HRCP lauds removal of 47 names from ATA’s 4th schedule in Gilgit-Baltistan
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has welcomed the removal of 47 individuals’ names from a list under Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act in Gilgit-Baltistan, and called for a fair hearing for those remaining on the list.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the commission said: “HRCP welcomes as a positive development a recent notification by the Gilgit-Baltistan Home Department deleting the names of 47 individuals being monitored under Fourth Schedule.”
“An HRCP fact-finding mission to Gilgit-Baltistan last year had received reports from several activists that government agencies in the region monitored their activities after placing their names on the Schedule Four list over alleged links with groups accused of sabotaging law and order in the Gilgit-Baltistan region.”
The HRCP fact-finding mission had learned that individuals classified as posing threats to security by the agencies were forced to report their movements to local police stations and in some instances could not leave their districts of domicile without reporting their intended movements to the authorities. A failure to comply could lead to arrest. “HRCP wishes to emphasise the need to respect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest, and fundamental freedoms, particularly the freedoms of association and expression, by all citizens.”
HRCP also considers that it is vital to share specific charges with all individuals being monitored under Fourth Schedule.
According to the latest notification, 92 names have been retained on the Fourth Schedule list. HRCP urges the authorities that all those on the list should be given a fair hearing with a view to also removing their names. The significance of ensuring adequate measures for access to justice to all suspects cannot be emphasised enough. Anyone suspected of violating any law must be afforded full due process rights.