What is Hassan Nisar's stature in Pakistan

dish

REASONS FOR DECISION:

I. Procedure

1. The complainant (hereinafter: BF), a national from Pakistan and belonging to the Pashtun ethnic group as well as the Shiite religious community, filed an application for international protection on June 21, 2015 after illegally entering Austria's federal territory (AS 3).

During the initial survey on June 21, 2015, the complainant stated that he was afraid of the Taliban about his reasons for fleeing (AS 29, 31). If he returns, he is afraid of being killed by the Taliban.

2. As part of the questioning in the asylum procedure before the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum (hereinafter: BFA) on February 24, 2016 (AS 63 - 73), the BF stated that he was in Parachinar City from 2007 to 2010 in a Aid organization worked. If someone was injured, they would have taken care of them. The Taliban threatened him for that reason. Because of this, he stopped going to work. In addition, he is not allowed to attend school. They did this voluntarily, but they could not have done their job properly because the Taliban had always prevented them from doing so.

It is generally difficult for Shiites to live there. It is also impossible for Pashtuns to live there. He had no freedom and was unable to exercise his Friday prayer because the Taliban were there.

He is a Pakistani citizen, but he has no rights in that country. He was also simply put in jail. He would be treated like an Afghan in Pakistan.

When asked what the specific trigger for his departure was, the BF reported: "The Taliban invaded our village and wanted to threaten me, then I hid with a friend, sometimes with another friend. Within 10 days I then left Pakistan. " That was in March 2015.

If he returned, he would be killed by the Taliban.

In addition, the BF was offered the opportunity to inspect the Federal Office's findings on the situation in his home country and, if necessary, to comment on them in writing. The BF waived the opportunity to comment (AS 72).

As part of the interrogation, the complainant also submitted a joint letter of recommendation from three people (AS 75), various photos from Austria (AS 77, 78) and a bundle of Internet reports on the general situation in Parachinar (AS 81 - 153).

In the further course of the proceedings, the complainant also sent a letter from the Anjuman-e-Hussaini - Parachinar-Kurram Agency dated February 29, 2016 (AS 155).

3. With the contested decision of the BFA of March 14, 2016 (AS 163-256), the complainant's application for international protection with regard to the granting of the status of person entitled to asylum in accordance with Section 3 (1) in conjunction with Section 2 (1) no. 13 AsylG was rejected. In accordance with Section 8 (1) in conjunction with Section 2 (1) no. 13 AsylG, the application for international protection with regard to the granting of the status of beneficiary of subsidiary protection in relation to the country of origin Pakistan was rejected. A residence permit for reasons worth considering in accordance with Sections 57 and 55 AsylG was not issued. Pursuant to Section 10 (1) no.3 AsylG in conjunction with Section 9 BFA-VG, a return decision was issued against the complainant in accordance with Section 52 (2) 2 FPG and, pursuant to Section 52 (9) FPG, it was determined that he was deported to Pakistan in accordance with Section 46 FPG is permissible. According to Section 55 (1) to (3) FPG, the period for voluntary departure is 14 days from the date on which the return decision becomes final. The allegations of escape were denied credibility (AS 243 - 245).

4. On the other hand, the complainant lodged a full complaint with the Federal Administrative Court on March 25, 2016 (AS 287-293) in a timely manner. With regard to the exact content of the complaint, reference is made to the file content (VwGH 16. 12. 1999, 99/20/0524).

4.1. First, the previous course of the procedure was briefly repeated and, with regard to the reasons for leaving the country of origin, reference was made to what had already been made in the proceedings before the BFA and to a handwritten letter from the BF in Urdu (AS 295 - 303 [translation: OZ 5]) .

In the complaint and in the handwritten letter, the BF once again explained his previous arguments and his personal situation, arguing that he had been a member of a Shiite aid organization in his home country. At this point he wanted to state that it was not correct that he had forgotten the name of this organization when he was questioned. He would have said the name of the aid organization very well, but the interpreter did not translate it, which is why it was not recorded. Consequently, he cannot be blamed for this mistake on the part of the translator. Because of his employment with this aid organization, he was threatened by the Taliban that he should stop his work, which he finally did. In addition, the life of Shiites and Pashtuns in his home province is very difficult. The Shiites are discriminated against and persecuted everywhere and have practically no rights.

In March 2015, the Taliban invaded his village and wanted to threaten him. However, at the time he was with a friend. Because of these incidents, he would have decided to leave his home and seek protection in Europe. His father organized the departure for him, which is why he was able to legally travel to Iran with a visa, from where he finally came to Europe.

His father went to the aid organization and told them that his son had worked for the organization and that he had sent him abroad. For this reason, his father was threatened by the Taliban and his life is now in danger.

He had already wanted to tell everything when the police were interviewed for the first time, but he was told that he should give the details at the second interview.

4.2. Finally, an application was made that the Federal Administrative Court should amend the contested decision of the BFA in ruling point I. so that the application for international protection would be followed and the BF would be granted the status of asylum seeker in accordance with Section 3 (1) AsylG 2005; If necessary, amend the contested decision of the BFA to the effect that the BF is granted the status of a beneficiary of subsidiary protection in relation to the country of origin Pakistan in accordance with Section 8 (1) no III. concerning the return decision issued against the BF in accordance with Section 10 (1) (2) [correct: in accordance with Section 10 (1) (3)] is revoked; In the eventu, correct the contested decision in its entirety and refer it back to the BFA for supplementation of the procedure and a new decision and, in any case, schedule an oral hearing before the Federal Administrative Court.

4.3. With this appeal, however, no sufficiently substantiated submission was made that would be capable of reaching a different decision.

5. Evidence was obtained by inspecting the administrative act at the first instance, based on the written information provided by the complainant, the content of the notification and the content of the complaint against the notification of the BFA.

II. The Federal Administrative Court has considered:

1. Procedural provisions

1.1. Competence, decision by the single judge

Pursuant to Section 7, Paragraph 1, Item 1 of the Federal Act, which regulates the general provisions on the procedure before the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum for the granting of international protection, the issuing of residence permits for reasons worthy of consideration, deportation, toleration and the issuing of measures to terminate the stay, as well as for Issuance of Austrian documents for foreigners are regulated (BFA-procedural law - BFA-VG), Federal Law Gazette I 87/2012 as amended, the Federal Administrative Court decides on complaints against notices of the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum.

In accordance with Section 6 of the Federal Act on the Organization of the Federal Administrative Court (Federal Administrative Court Act - BVwGG), Federal Law Gazette I 10/2013, the Federal Administrative Court decides by single judges, unless the decision by senates is provided for in federal or state laws.

Thus, in the absence of any other statutory arrangement in the applicable laws, individual judges are responsible.

1.2. Applicable procedural law

The procedure of the administrative courts, with the exception of the Federal Finance Court, is regulated by the Federal Act on the Procedure of the Administrative Courts (Verwaltungsgerichtsververfahrengesetz - VwGVG), Federal Law Gazette I 33/2013 as amended by Federal Law Gazette I 122/2013 (§ 1 leg.cit.). Pursuant to Section 58 (2) VwGVG, contrary provisions that were already announced at the time this federal act came into force remain in force.

According to § 17 VwGVG, unless otherwise provided in this federal act, the provisions of the AVG apply to the procedure for complaints pursuant to Art. 130 Para. 1 B-VG, with the exception of §§ 1 to 5 and Part IV, the provisions of the Federal Tax Code - BAO, Federal Law Gazette No. 194/1961, the Agricultural Procedure Act - AgrVG, Federal Law Gazette No. 173/1950, and the Service Law Procedure Act 1984 - DVG, Federal Law Gazette No. 29/1984, and also those procedural provisions in federal or state laws that the authority applied or should have applied in the proceedings preceding the proceedings before the administrative court.

Section 1 of the BFA-VG (Federal Act, which regulates the general provisions on the procedure before the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum for the granting of international protection, the issuing of residence permits for reasons worthy of consideration, deportation, tolerance and the issuing of measures to terminate the stay as well as the issuing of Austrian Documents for foreigners are regulated, BFA-procedural law, BFA-VG), BGBl I 87/2012 in the version BGBl I 144/2013 stipulates that this federal law contains general procedural provisions that apply to all foreigners in proceedings before the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum, apply before representative authorities or in a corresponding complaint procedure before the Federal Administrative Court. Further procedural provisions in the Asylum Act and the FPG remain unaffected.

According to Sections 16 (6), 18 (7) BFA-VG, Sections 13 (2 to 5) and 22 VwGVG do not apply to preliminary complaint proceedings and complaint proceedings.

1.3. Exam scope

According to § 27 VwGVG, the administrative court, insofar as it is not found to be unlawful due to the lack of jurisdiction of the authority, has the challenged decision, the challenged exercise of direct administrative authority and coercive power and the challenged instruction based on the complaint (§ 9 para. 1 nos 3 and 4 ) or on the basis of the declaration of the scope of the contestation (Section 9 (3)).

Pursuant to Section 28 (1) VwGVG, the administrative court has to deal with the case by means of knowledge, unless the complaint is to be rejected or the proceedings are to be discontinued.

According to § 28 Paragraph 2 VwGVG, the administrative court has to decide on the matter itself on complaints pursuant to Art. 130 Paragraph 1 Z 1 B-VG if

1. the relevant facts are established or

2. the determination of the relevant facts by the administrative court itself is in the interest of speed or is associated with considerable cost savings.

According to Section 28 (3) VwGVG, if the requirements of Section 2 are not met, the administrative court has to decide on the matter itself in the proceedings on complaints pursuant to Article 130 (1) no objects to the complaint, taking into account the essential simplification or acceleration of the procedure. If the authority has failed to investigate the facts of the case, the administrative court can set aside the contested decision with a resolution and refer the matter back to the authority for a new decision to be issued. The authority is bound by the legal assessment that the administrative court based its decision on.

2. Reasons for the decision:

Evidence was collected in the present complaint procedure by inspecting the procedural file of the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum, taking into account the written information of the complainant, the contested decision and the complaint.

2.1. On the basis of this evidence procedure, the BVwG arrives at the following conclusions relevant to the decision in accordance with the considerations set out below:

2.1.1. On the person of the complainant and his reasons for fleeing:

The complainant is a Pakistani citizen, belongs to the Pashtun ethnic group and is of Shiite faith.

The identity and nationality of the applicant could not be determined due to the lack of suitable documents.

Based on the information provided by the complainant about his country of origin and his place of residence, as well as the fact that the applicant speaks a language common to Pakistan and based on his knowledge of Pakistan, it can be established that he is a Pakistani national.

The reason he put forward for fleeing (persecution and threats from the Taliban) is not ascertained due to the lack of credibility of the allegations in this regard. It cannot therefore be ascertained that the complainant was persecuted for reasons of asylum for reasons of the CSF or that his life was threatened or that this could occur with a significant degree of probability in the event of a return to Pakistan.

In the specific case, no valid reasons could be found for the assumption that the complainant ran the risk of being subjected to inhuman treatment or punishment or the death penalty or any other specific individual danger in Pakistan.

It cannot be ascertained that the complainant would find himself in a threatening emergency situation in the event of his return to Pakistan.

At the time of the decision, no other current threat to the complainant in his home country could be ascertained.

The complainant has neither a serious physical nor a serious mental illness.

Before his departure, the BF last lived in the Parachinar district in the Kurram Agency. He lived with his family in a house and worked as a painter. The BF left Pakistan around the end of April 2015 and subsequently entered Austria illegally towards the end of June 2015. The closest relatives of the BF still live in Pakistan.

At the time of the decision, the complainant had no relevant ties to Austria. There are no relatives of the BF in Austria. The BF is in the basic care and lives on state support. It could not be determined that the BF has extensive knowledge of German. However, the BF attends a German course and takes part in various sports and leisure activities in Austria. A declaration of support from three people was also presented. The BF is criminally innocent. Otherwise, no relevant indications for the assumption of sufficient integration of the BF in Austria in linguistic, professional or social terms could be found.

Furthermore, neither the requirements for the granting of a "special protection residence permit" or a residence permit for reasons of Art. 8 ECHR exist and a return decision is required. It also emerges from the preliminary investigation that the admissibility of the deportation of the BF to Pakistan must be established.

2.1.2. Regarding the asylum and deportation-relevant situation in Pakistan, the following was stated in particular:

Political situation

The state of Pakistan consists of the four provinces Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North West Frontier Province) and the "Federally Administered Tribal Areas" (FATA). The Pakistani constitution states that the laws passed by parliament in the FATA only apply if the President explicitly orders it. Pakistan also controls the areas of Gilgit-Baltistan (the former "Northern Areas") and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK - "Free Kashmir"), which are on the Pakistani side of the line of control between India and Pakistan Part of cashmere. Both areas are not officially counted as part of the Pakistani national territory. Gilgit-Baltistan received partial autonomy in September 2009. Until then it had been ruled from Islamabad. AJK also enjoys autonomy, but is financially and politically dependent on the government in Islamabad (AA 8.2015a).

The CIA World Factbook estimates the Pakistani population to be over 199 million as of July 2015. Pakistan is the seventh most populous state in the world (CIA 15.9.2015).

The legislative power in Pakistan rests with Parliament. The parliament consists of two chambers, the National Assembly and the Senate. Provincial assemblies are also elected in the provinces of Pakistan. The National Assembly has 342 members, 272 of which are directly elected by the people.60 seats are reserved for women and another 10 for representatives of religious minorities. The legislative period lasts five years (AA 8.2015a).

In April 2010, a far-reaching constitutional reform was passed that had been prepared by a bipartisan parliamentary committee since June 2009. The aim was to return to the basic form of the constitution adopted under President Zulfikar A. Bhutto in 1973, which had been changed almost beyond recognition after numerous interventions by the military rulers Zia-ul Haq and Musharraf. The core elements of the constitutional changes that have been made are a strengthening of the position of the Prime Minister while at the same time limiting the powers of the President, a strengthening of federalism through a significant expansion of the powers of the provinces, a strengthening of the independence of the judiciary through a new appointment procedure for the highest judges and the introduction of two new fundamental rights: the right to information and the right to education (AA 8.2015a).

The turnout in the parliamentary elections on May 11, 2013 was surprisingly high. Among those waiting in front of the polling stations there were an unusually large number of young voters and women (NZZ May 11, 2013). The TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), allied with Al-Qaeda, considered the election to be un-Islamic and had announced suicide bombings for election day. The election therefore took place under great security precautions, more than 620,000 police officers, paramilitaries and soldiers were on duty (DZ May 11, 2013). During the elections, the Taliban and other groups carried out more than 150 terrorist attacks, in which around 170 people were killed and 700 injured (BFA 10.2014).

Following the elections, a government led by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was replaced by the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) under Nawaz Sharif. The PML-N achieved an absolute majority of the mandates. The second largest party in the National Assembly was the former ruling party PPP, closely followed by the PTI of former cricket star Imran Khan. The MQM (Muttahida Quami Movement), with its strongholds in the two major cities of Sindh Province, Karachi and Hyderabad, is the fourth largest group in parliament. On June 5, 2013, Nawaz Sharif was elected Prime Minister by parliament. It was the first time in Pakistan's history that a civilian government could rule for a full legislative period (2008-2013) and that democratic change was constitutional (AA 8.2015a). Pakistan only returned to democratic conditions in autumn 2008 after the military ruler Musharraf, who had ruled since 1999, left the country to forestall impeachment proceedings (AA April 8, 2014).

Also on May 11, 2013, the elections for the four provincial assemblies took place. In Punjab, the most populous province (around 50 percent of Pakistan's population), the PML-N won more than two thirds of the seats. In Sindh the PPP was able to defend its supremacy, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa the PTI won most of the mandates and now leads a coalition government there. The government of Balochistan is led by a chief minister of the Baloch nationalist party NP, which has formed a coalition with the PML-N and other parties (AA 8.2015a).

On July 30, 2013, both houses of parliament and members of the provincial parliaments elected the PML-N politician Mamnoon Hussain as the new Pakistani head of state by a large majority, who was sworn in on September 9, 2013. Hussain replaces Asif Ali Zardari as president, who was the first head of state in Pakistan's history to end his term of office in an orderly manner. The constitutional transfer of power both in the government and in the office of head of state has considerably strengthened democracy in Pakistan (AA 8.2015a; cf. also: BFA 10.2014).

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has declared economic and financial issues as well as improving relations with the neighboring states of Afghanistan and India to be the priorities of his term of office. The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had initially tried - mandated by an all-party conference - to reach an understanding with the Pakistani Taliban through negotiations. Since the serious acts of terrorism continued throughout the country despite the government's demonstration of readiness for dialogue, the dialogue process was broken off with the start of the military operation in North Waziristan in June 2014 (AA 8.2015a). In the wake of the serious terrorist attack on an army school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014, in which over 150 people were killed and for which the Pakistani Taliban took responsibility, the government and the military, with the consent of all the country's political forces, adopted a far-reaching package of measures ("National Action Plan ") to combat terrorism and extremism. It includes, among other things, the lifting of the death penalty moratorium on terrorism crimes, which has been in force since 2008, the introduction of military courts to try civilian terrorism suspects and measures against hate preachers, terrorist financing, etc. Furthermore, approaches can be identified to act more consistently than before against extremist organizations of various stripes across the country and to strengthen state control over the numerous Koran schools (madrasahs) (AA 8.2015a; cf. also: BFA 9.2015).

Disasters

Successive governments have made little investment in dealing with natural disasters. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has existed since 2005, with the aim of reacting quickly to natural disasters. The NDMA works together with the military when helicopters, boats and vehicles are needed (IRIN 3.4.2014). Disaster management authorities were set up in districts and provinces in 2012, but there is a lack of trained personnel and financial resources (TRF 9.9.2013; see also: IRIN 3.4.2014). At least 248 people were killed in an earthquake on October 26, 2015, which hit Pakistan most of all in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab. The Pakistani military and civil authorities dispatched several helicopters to the affected areas to carry out rescue operations (Dawn October 28, 2015). Rescue workers have also been deployed to remote mountainous areas where the effects of the earthquake were still unclear. The NDMA reports that they had not yet reached some remote areas as they became inaccessible due to landslides (BBC 10/27/2015). The Taliban called on their fighters to support the victims of the earthquake and also announced that they would not block state aid measures in northern Afghanistan and Pakistan (USA Today October 27, 2015; see also: BBC October 27, 2015).

Swell:

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AA - Foreign Office (April 8, 2014): Report on the asylum and deportation-related situation in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

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AA - Foreign Office (8.2015a): Pakistan - Innenpolitik, http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/DE/Aussenpolitik/Laender/Laenderinfos/Pakistan/innenpolitik_node.html, accessed 11.9.2015

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BBC - Afghanistan-Pakistan quake: Rescue efforts expanded, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34644125, accessed on October 29, 2015

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BFA State Documentation (10.2014): Pakistan - Challenges & Perspectives

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BFA State Documentation (9.2015): Fact Finding Mission Report Pakistan,

http://www.ecoi.net/file_upload/90_1443527547_bfa-paki-ffm-report-2015-09.pdf, accessed on September 30, 2015

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CIA - Central Intelligence Agency (September 15, 2015): World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pk.html, accessed September 18, 2015

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Dawn (October 28, 2015): Earthquake toll reaches 248, relief efforts continue, http://www.dawn.com/news/1215703, accessed October 29, 2015

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IRIN (3.4.2014): Analysis: How effective is Pakistan's disaster authority ?,

http://www.irinnews.org/report/99880/analysis-how-effective-is-pakistan-s-disaster-authority, accessed on October 28, 2014

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NZZ - Neue Zürcher Zeitung (May 11, 2013): High voter turnout in Pakistan Attacks claim at least 24 deaths, http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/international/anschlaege-islamistischer-extremisten-auf-wahllokale- consum- at least-16 -teathopfer-1.18079638, accessed on November 25, 2014

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TRF - Thomas Reuters Foundation (9.9.2013): Floods have halved Pakistan's economic growth - expert, http://www.trust.org/item/20130909134725-rm708/, accessed on November 25, 2014

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USA Today (October 27, 2015): Taliban backs relief efforts after deadly Pakistan quake,

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/10/27/taliban-backs-relief-efforts-after-killer-quake/74675272/, accessed on October 29, 2015

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DZ - Die Zeit (May 11, 2013): Attacks overshadow the start of the election in Pakistan,

http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2013-05/pakistan-parlamentswahl-anschlag, accessed on November 25, 2014

Security situation

Pakistan faces challenges such as insurgent terrorist groups, but also violent criminal gangs and armed political parties. However, the general security situation has improved across the country (BFA 9/2015; see also: PIPS 4/4/2015). The Pakistani Taliban, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the Balochistan Liberation Army and other armed groups are targeting security forces, civilians, some members of religious minorities, aid workers, activists and journalists (AI 5.2013; see also: USDOS 25.6.2015 ). The western border areas with Afghanistan - Balochistan, the FATA (Federal Administered Tribal Areas) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - have suffered from violence between militants and government forces for years (Reuters April 11, 2013; see also: BFA 10.2014).

In the fight against violence, both the federal and provincial governments announced some measures. After the attack on a school on December 17, 2014, the government reintroduced the death penalty. The government also approved the 20-point National Action Plan against Terrorism and released a list of 5,400 terrorism suspects. After the implementation of this plan, over 600 so-called "hardcore" insurgents were arrested, including 320 supporters of the Pakistani Taliban (SATP 2015).

Over the years, the Pakistani Taliban had established their own structures of rule in some regions on the border with Afghanistan and tried to enforce their extremely conservative interpretation of Sharia law. Arbitrariness and violence by the Taliban were directed not only against the Pakistani state and political opponents, but also against Sufism-affiliated and other moderate Sunnis, Shiites and other minorities. A large-scale operation of the security forces in North Waziristan and the neighboring regions of the so-called Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has been underway since June 2014 with the aim of crushing terrorism and gaining complete control of the state over the tribal areas, to be restored (AA 07/23/2015).

The army's focus is increasingly on fighting the Taliban and other jihadist groups (BFA 10.2014). Since the end of April 2009, when the army put an end to the Taliban's temporary rule over the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan with a military action, the clashes between the Pakistani military and the Pakistani Taliban have intensified. From October to December 2009, the Taliban were driven out of South Waziristan (FATA), a region they had controlled for years. In 2013, the focus of the clashes was in the Tirah Valley not far from Peshawar, where the Taliban were initially able to overrun the local militias and security forces and take control before they were driven out again by the military. On June 15, 2014, a comprehensive military operation began in the region of North Waziristan, which until then had been largely controlled by militant and terrorist organizations, in the course of which their refuge areas and infrastructure in the region have been largely destroyed. However, a significant proportion of the militants and terrorists avoided the military operation in other areas of Pakistan or across the border into Afghanistan, so that the fight against terrorism will continue to be a major challenge for the country for the foreseeable future (AA 8.2015a). Furthermore, the Taliban and other militant groups regularly carry out attacks in the rest of the country, especially in Balochistan, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and in the economic metropolis of Karachi. According to the Foreign Office, around 1,750 people died in terrorist attacks across the country in 2014 (AA July 23, 2015). According to the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), on the other hand, militant nationalist and sectarian groups in Pakistan carried out 1,206 terrorist attacks in 2014, in which 1,723 people were killed. The number of terrorist attacks compared to 2013 fell by 30 percent in 2014. In 144 sectarian acts of terrorism directed against other Muslim denominations by various groups, 255 people were killed. The number of sectarian acts of violence fell by 35 percent in 2014 (PIPS January 4, 2015).

The government's strategy is to inform the population of the agency or region concerned shortly before military operations against the Taliban, which means that the agency is "notified". After the military operations, the zone is "denotified" and thus declared safe for return by the military and thus released for return. In this process, the military is working together with the civil authorities, some of whom are assisting with the return. Often, however, the regions were not informed in advance, which led to massive displacement of people and the destruction of houses (BAA 6.2013; cf. also: BFA 10.2014).

For years, the Taliban and other terrorist organizations have been carrying out serious terrorist attacks outside of South Waziristan, particularly in the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, but also in major Pakistani cities such as Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi. The terrorist attacks are primarily aimed at military and police facilities. But victims are also political opponents of the Taliban, media representatives, religious minorities, Shiites and Muslims who do not follow the Taliban's strictly conservative interpretation of Islam, such as the Sufis (AA 8.2015a).

In a total of 2,099 incidents of violence (terrorist attacks, operations by the security forces and their clashes with militants, ethnopolitical violence, drone attacks, violence between tribes and between militants, interfaith clashes, religious-communal violence, cross-border clashes and clashes between criminal gangs or between them and the police) were 2014

5,308 people killed. The number of incidents of violence fell 18 percent in 2014, but the death toll rose 12 percent. This increase is due to the fact that many insurgents were killed in military operations (PIPS 4.1.2015).

The incidents of violence increased during the 2013 election period (BAA 6.2013) but in 2014 the security situation improved again. Furthermore, it can be said that the general security situation throughout Pakistan and also in the FATA has improved (BFA 9.2015). State measures, such as military operations in the FATA, improved the situation in some critical regions. The success of the military operations can be seen in the Swat Valley, South Waziristan and North Waziristan (BFA 9.2015). Some senior Taliban leaders fell victim to the US drone strikes on the border with Afghanistan, damaging the extremists' strategic capabilities in particular. The population is fed up with the militants. (BAA 6.2013; see also: BFA 9.2015; BFA 10.2014).

On June 15, 2014, military operations were launched in North Waziristan. Over 800,000 people have fled North Waziristan (BFA 10.2014). The military also claims that they already have 90 percent of the area under control and that there are few areas where the fighting continues (BFA 9.2015). According to the media spokesman for the Pakistani army, 2,100 insurgents had been killed as of December 28, 2014. It is believed that many leaders of the insurgents have withdrawn to other areas (PIPS January 4, 2015).

The Pakistani military carried out anti-terrorism measures and operations in the FATA (USDOS June 25, 2015). 130 operational military strikes were carried out in 2014 in the regions of FATA, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi. 1,930 people were killed in these operations, including 1,917 insurgents and 9 civilians (PIPS January 4, 2015). Measures have also been taken to weaken links between the terrorists and prevent recruitment from militant organizations. Large arsenals of weapons were dug up in urban areas such as Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, gang members and TTP commanders who provided logistical support for militants in tribal areas were arrested in Karachi, suicide bombers were arrested before the act, and plans to attack were foiled (USDOS 25.6 .2015). Another way of combating this is to control and curtail the international flow of money to these organizations (BAA 6.2013).

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AA - Federal Foreign Office (23.7.2015): Report on the asylum and deportation-relevant situation in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

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AA - Foreign Office (8.2015a): Pakistan - Innenpolitik, http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/DE/Aussenpolitik/Laender/Laenderinfos/Pakistan/innenpolitik_node.html, accessed 11.9.2015

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AI - Amnesty International (May 23, 2013): Amnesty International Report 2013 - On the global situation of human rights - Pakistan, http://www.ecoi.net/local_link/248024/374206_de.html, accessed on November 10, 2015

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BAA - Federal Asylum Office (6/2013): Report on the Fact Finding Mission Pakistan from 8-16 March 2013 with a focus on the security situation, religious minorities, land rights, medical and social care, Afghan refugees

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BFA State Documentation (9.2015): Fact Finding Mission Report Pakistan,

http://www.ecoi.net/file_upload/90_1443527547_bfa-paki-ffm-report-2015-09.pdf, accessed on September 30, 2015

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BFA State Documentation (10.2014): Pakistan - Challenges & Perspectives

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PIPS - Pak Institute for Peace Studies (4.1.2015): Pakistan Security Report 2014

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Reuters (April 11, 2013): Pakistan violence, http://www.trust.org/spotlight/Pakistan-violence, accessed on November 25, 2014

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SATP-South Asia Terrorism Portal (February 23, 2015): Pakistan, http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/sair/Archives/sair13/13_34.htm, accessed November 12, 2015

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USDOS - US Department of State (June 25, 2015): Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2014- Pakistan, http://www.ecoi.net/local_link/306342/443617_de.html, accessed September 23, 2015

Regional distribution of violence

Violence was reported from across Pakistan in 2014. FATA was dominated by violence with 2,863 deaths, followed by Sindh with 1,180, Balochistan with 653, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 617, Punjab with 180 and Gilgit Baltistan with 3 deaths (SATP 2015).

The threat from terrorist attacks by the Pakistani Taliban and groups affiliated with the Taliban, in particular explosives and suicide bombings, remains high in Pakistan. In addition, there is still a risk of religiously motivated terrorist attacks by radical groups. The regional focus of terrorist attacks with the highest number of victims is in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the FATA tribal areas and in Balochistan. The attacks are directed primarily against the armed forces, security services and police as well as religious sites (AA November 5, 2015).

According to a local expert in Pakistan, Punjab, especially the northern part of this province, is the safest area in Pakistan, followed by Sindh (although parts of Karachi are quite dangerous). Third is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The most unsafe areas are Balochistan and FATA (BFA 9.2015).

Swell:

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AA - Foreign Office Germany (November 5, 2015): Pakistan - travel and safety information (partial travel warning) http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/DE/Laenderinformationen/00-SiHi/PakistanSicherh eit.html, accessed September 29, 2015

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BFA State Documentation (9.2015): Fact Finding Mission Report Pakistan,

http://www.ecoi.net/file_upload/90_1443527547_bfa-paki-ffm-report-2015-09.pdf, accessed on September 30, 2015

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SATP - South Asia Terrorism Portal (2015): Pakistan Assessment 2015, http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/index.htm, accessed November 5, 2015

Important terrorist groups

Taliban and other militant organizations in Pakistan are active in internal conflicts, regional struggles (Afghanistan, Kashmir) and global jihad. They are loosely coordinated, but often share resources and recruits. Various militant groups formed the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistani Taliban, in 2007 (Reuters April 11, 2013; see also: BFA 10.2014). The TTP is primarily responsible for the instability in the country. The TTP has been severely weakened by internal crises and the military operation in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency. The internal crises did not stop this organization from carrying out violent attacks (PIPS January 4, 2015).

The TTP has at least 30,000 - 35,000 members (Reuters April 11, 2013; see also: SATP undated). The representative of the PIPS explained that the TTP does not have a uniform structure and that the existing structure is no longer intact. Each group has its own operations. The violence emanating from the TTP concentrates regionally on the tribal areas, thematically on parties, pro-government tribes, ruling politicians, on pro-government elders, security forces, mosques that are visited by security forces or in which imams or mullahs support the government, Peace activists (such as Malala Yousafzai), military and police institutions, minorities and Muslims who do not follow their Sharia interpretation. Originally, Shiites in the tribal areas were not the target of the Taliban, but this has changed (BAA 6/2013). The number of TTP attacks fell by 70 percent in 2015 (as of September 2015). This is based on several reasons, as well as the military operations that are being carried out against the Taliban on the Afghan border and other government initiatives to combat violence (AJ September 18, 2015). Although the number of attacks is falling, the insurgents still manage to hit high-level targets (Reuters September 18, 2015).

Outside the TTP, there are local Taliban groups that are either loosely connected to the TTP or formed with similar goals. Most of these groups operate in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, mainly in Charsadda, Swabi, Nowshera and the periphery of Peshawar. However, many criminal groups also use this label. Most of these groups are small and their operations are limited to their environment (BAA 6.2013).

There are also Sunni terrorist groups in Punjab. One of these, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, with the aim of transforming Pakistan into a Sunni country. It is split up into many groups, the tactics and goals of which differ from one area to another (SATP, undated). It is a locally oriented group; its target for Shiites, for example in Balochistan, is primarily directed against Hazara (BAA 6.2013; BFA 10.2014). The Punjabi Taliban are a separate group from the TTP, but they maintain ties to it. Their targets are mainly security forces and Shiites. They act like terrorist cells in Punjab, but they are currently not very active (BAA 6.2013).

The main actor of nationalist violence is the Balochistan Liberation Army. It is active in Balochistan, occasionally in Karachi and in the tribal areas of the neighboring southern Punjab. Other examples of Baloch terrorist organizations are Lashkar-e-Balochistan, the Balochistan Liberation Front and the United Baloch Army (BAA 6/2013).

Swell:

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AJ - Aljazeera (September 18, 2015): Pakistani Taliban storms airbase near Peshawar,

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/09/pakistani-taliban-targets-airbase-peshawar-150918052734007.html, accessed on November 12, 2015

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BAA - Federal Asylum Office (6/2013): Report on the Fact Finding Mission Pakistan from 8-16 March 2013 with a focus on the security situation, religious minorities, land rights, medical and social care, Afghan refugees

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BFA State Documentation (10.2014): Pakistan - Challenges & Perspectives

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PIPS - Pak Institute for Peace Studies (4.1.2015): Pakistan Security Report 2014

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Reuters (September 18, 2015): Taliban gunmen kill 17 in attack on Pakistan air force base,

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/18/us-pakistan-attack-idUSKCN0RI07Q20150918, accessed on November 12, 2015

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Reuters (April 11, 2013): Pakistan violence, http://www.trust.org/spotlight/Pakistan-violence, accessed on November 25, 2014

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SATP - South Asia Terrorism Portal (undated): Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP),

http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/ttp.htm, accessed on November 5, 2015

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SATP - South Asia Terrorism Portal (undated): Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Lej.htm, accessed on November 5, 2015

Forced recruitment and threatening letters

Forced recruitment is recruitment carried out under threat of violence or other forms of threat. The interviewees, such as PIPS and FATA Research Center, stated in the context of the FFM 2015 that they had never heard of such cases. They report that such practices damage an organization's reputation and that it would be counterproductive as the media would use such incidents as propaganda against the organizations in order to portray the fighters in a bad light. However, there are cases where boys and young men join the organizations against their parents' will. It is also possible to quit such insurgent organizations without any problems without fear of persecution. Senior members or leaders may find it more difficult to leave the organization because they know the organization's secrets and strategies. The interviewees know of some cases of people who have left the organization and are now living in Peshawar, Quetta or Islamabad (BFA 9.2015).

It is also very unlikely that a common man (low-profile person) of the lower middle class and lower class will receive threatening letters. Usually only well-known politicians, journalists and members of NGOs who speak out against insurgent organizations in public receive threatening letters. However, if a person receives a threatening letter, this should be reported to the Pakistani police immediately. However, if the police are unable to protect the person, then that person can move to another city to be safe and to find work there (BFA 9.2015).

Swell:

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BFA State Documentation (9.2015): Fact Finding Mission Report Pakistan,

http://www.ecoi.net/file_upload/90_1443527547_bfa-paki-ffm-report-2015-09.pdf, accessed on September 30, 2015

Regional problem area FATA

The narrow strip on the demarcation line (Durand Line) to Afghanistan, inhabited by Pashtun tribes, is administratively combined in the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) (BAA 6/2013). The FATA are characterized by a strong tribal structure. There are 26 main tribes with about 32 sub-tribes. The population is estimated at 4.45 million with a growth rate of 3.76 percent since 1998 (FRC 10.2015). The FATA cover approx. 3 percent of the area of ​​Pakistan (AA 07/23/2015).

Various terrorist organizations operate in the FATA. The spectrum ranges from domestic insurgents to international terrorist organizations that use the FATA as the starting point for their operations. The organizations cooperate on a case-by-case basis (BAA January 31, 2011). Many Taliban fled to FATA during the NATO intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, where the Pakistani state did not act against them for a long time. Only after the advance of Taliban groups into the Swat Valley and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwas did a rethink and the government and army intervene. The Pakistani ground offensive and the use of US drones pushed back the leadership of the Pakistani Taliban. State control was restored in parts of the FATA, but the security situation is inconsistent, as many militants fled to other FATA areas (BAA 6.2013; see also: BFA 10.2014).

The situation in each agency varies and depends on whether there are ongoing military operations. In the past, almost all agencies carried out military operations. The security situation in the FATA has improved due to various military operations. Many areas have been liberated by insurgents and the number of attacks has also decreased. In some remote areas, especially near the Afghan border, there are still so-called "pockets" of insurgents. However, most of these are circled by the Pakistani military (BFA 9.2015).

PIPS divides FATA into areas under Taliban influence - where there is a state administration, but the Taliban still have networks - and areas under Taliban control where no administration is active. There are no longer any agencies in which the entire area is under the full control of the Taliban (BAA 6.2013). However, there are still small "pockets" where the insurgents are still (BFA 9.2015). However, the Taliban have networks and thus influence in all agencies. There are still attacks by terrorists and military strikes (BAA 6/2013).

The orderly repatriation of the displaced population to the affected regions of the tribal areas, the repair of the damage to the infrastructure and private property as well as the reconstruction in the areas of civil security, economy, administration and justice pose great challenges for the government, authorities and the military (AA July 23, 2015). Reconstruction has begun in parts of the FATA. Chinese companies and workers are mainly involved in construction projects such as the Transregional Highway, various water reservoirs and other projects (BAA 6.2013).

At least 551 schools, including 362 boys 'schools and 189 girls' schools, were destroyed in the FATA in the years 2013-14 due to the fighting and floods. 85 schools were established in FATA (TET 3.11.2014). The governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported that state "model schools" are being set up in every FATA agency so that the young tribal population receives a good education (PH November 6, 2015; see also: TN October 20, 2015).

In FATA there were 234 terrorist attacks with 293 dead in 2014. The number of violent incidents fell by 20 percent in 2014. Security forces carried out 101 operational attacks in FATA, killing 1,784 people, including 1,772 insurgents. Security forces and their checkpoints and convoys were the main targets of the insurgents; pro-government tribesmen were also attacked (PIPS 4.1.2015).

The safest areas in FATA are Bajaur and Mohmand Agency. This also includes the capital Parachinar of the Kurram Agency and the area around the main road that runs through the Khyber Agency. This is followed by the lower part of the Orakzai Agency, the remainder of the Kurram Agency, and parts of South and North Waziristan to which some IDPs have already returned. Areas in the upper Orakzai Agency, Tirah Valley in the Khyber Agency and some areas in North Waziristan were still closed to the public as of September 2015 (BFA 9.2015).

In 2008, the Bajaur Agency carried out a military operation to rid the area of ​​insurgents. This operation was a success and the security situation in this agency has improved a lot. Most of the residents of this agency have returned and businesses in Bajaur have reopened and people are rebuilding their lives. Insurgent attacks are still sporadic. In some areas, such as Mamund, the insurgents have found refuge (BFA 9.2015).

The situation in Mohmand Agency is very similar to Bajaur Agency. In 2011 and 2012 there were military operations here that drove the insurgents away. This has also greatly improved the security situation here. Most of the people who fled have come back here and have started to rebuild their lives. Here, too, there are some areas where the insurgents have hidden (BFA 9.2015).

There have recently been two military operations in Khyber Agency, namely "Khyber-1" and "Khyber-2". The first of these operations was carried out in late 2014 and the second between March 2015 and July 2015. Most of the insurgents fled to Afghanistan and the military declared these operations a success. The Tirah Valley is a small area within the Khyber Agency. This valley is an ideal place for insurgents as it is remote, mountainous and close to the famous Khyber Pass that connects Peshawar with Jalalabad in Afghanistan. "Khyber-2" also served to free this area from insurgents (BFA 9.2015).

The Shiites are in the majority in the Kurram Agency and this agency is characterized by sectarian violence. In the years 2007 to 2012 there were particularly many fights, but the situation has recently eased due to peace talks (BFA 9.2015).

Orakzai Agency is divided into Upper Orakzai and Lower Orakzai. There was a military operation in this agency in 2009. Most of the insurgents have fled, but there are still a few so-called "pockets" where the insurgents hide. There was still some fighting between the military and the insurgents in the Upper Orakzai, but the Lower Orakzai was freed from the insurgents. In this agency there is also sectarian violence, but not to the same extent as in the Kurram Agency (BFA 9.2015).

A military operation, Zarb-e Azb, began in northern Waziristan in June 2014 and is still ongoing. The main group of the TTP stayed in this agency and most of the supporters fled because of the military operation. Some insurgents also pretended to be IDPs and were able to escape without any problems. The military reports that they have recaptured 90 percent of the Agency (BFA 9/2015).

The most recent military operation in South Waziristan was carried out in 2009. Since then, the military has established its presence and insurgents have only sporadic attacks. Apart from these sporadic fights, the situation in this agency is relaxed (BFA 9.2015).

Various deradicalization programs are offered and operated by the state and the Pakistani military. There is even a separate program for women and young people. These centers are located in Swat, Khyber Agency, Bajaur Agency and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (BFA 9.2015; see also: USDOS 25.6.2015).

Swell:

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AA - Federal Foreign Office (23.7.2015): Report on the asylum and deportation-relevant situation in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

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BAA - Federal Asylum Office (6/2013): Report on the Fact Finding Mission Pakistan from 8-16 March 2013 with a focus on the security situation, religious minorities, land rights, medical and social care, Afghan refugees

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BAA - Federal Asylum Office (January 31, 2011): Analysis of state documentation

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Afghanistan / Pakistan - Extremist groups in the Afghan-Pakistani border area

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BFA State Documentation (9.2015): Fact Finding Mission Report Pakistan,

http://www.ecoi.net/file_upload/90_1443527547_bfa-paki-ffm-report-2015-09.pdf, accessed on September 30, 2015

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BFA State Documentation (10.2014): Pakistan - Challenges & Perspectives

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FRC - FATA Research Center (10.2015): Security Report Third Quarter 2015,

http://frc.com.pk/publications/security-report/security-report-third-quarter-2015/, accessed on November 9, 2015

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PH - Pakistan Herald (November 6, 2015): Future of Fata to be decided with consent of tribals: Mahtab, http://www.pakistanherald.com/news/8366/06-november-2015/future-of-fata-to -be-decided-with-consent-of-tribals (col) -mahtab, accessed on November 6, 2015

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PIPS - Pak Institute for Peace Studies (4.1.2015): Pakistan Security Report 2014

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TN - The Nation (October 20, 2015): KP? To establish model schools in Fata: Mehtab,

http://nation.com.pk/multan/20-Oct-2015/kp-to-establish-model-schools-in-fata-mehtab, accessed on November 6, 2015

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USDOS - US Department of State (June 25, 2015): Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2014- Pakistan, http://www.ecoi.net/local_link/306342/443617_de.html, accessed September 23, 2015

Regional problem area Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is divided into 24 districts with a population of around 20 million (BAA 6/2013). The number (325) of terrorist incidents fell by 35 percent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2014, but is the second most volatile area after Balochistan (PIPS January 4, 2015). This province is quite peaceful, but vulnerable as it shares its border with FATA (BFA 9.2015). The capital Peshawar was the hardest hit area with 127 attacks in 2014, followed by Charsadda with 40 terrorist attacks. The districts of Bannu (28), Hangu (26), D.I. Khan (20), Swat (19), Mansehra (10) and Swabi (10) were also affected by attacks (PIPS 4.1.2015). In the first quarter of 2015, 29 terrorist incidents in which 51 people were killed were reported. This province benefited from the military operations in the FATA, particularly those carried out in the Khyber Agency. The security situation has improved significantly (Dawn April 20, 2015).

In 2009, the Pakistani military carried out a large-scale operation against the TPP. In the years that followed, the Pakistani military maintained a strong presence, but the intensity of military operations decreased. The regionally active Taliban went underground, but continued their terrorist activities, such as attacks and targeted killings (EASO 8/2015). Furthermore, in almost all major cities of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, militant sleeper cells can be found. FRC representatives included TTP Jamaat-Ul-Ahrar, TTP Mahsud Group, Lashkar-e-Islam of Khyber Agency, TTP Fazlullah of Swat and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (BFA 9/2015).

Swell:

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BAA - Federal Asylum Office (6/2013): Report on the Fact Finding Mission Pakistan from 8-16 March 2013 with a focus on the security situation, religious minorities, land rights, medical and social care, Afghan refugees

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BFA State Documentation (9.2015): Fact Finding Mission Report Pakistan,

http://www.ecoi.net/file_upload/90_1443527547_bfa-paki-ffm-report-2015-09.pdf, accessed on September 30, 2015

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Dawn (April 20, 2015): 'Security operations have suppressed militancy', http://www.dawn.com/news/1177060, accessed November 9, 2015

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PIPS - Pak Institute for Peace Studies (4.1.2015): Pakistan Security Report 2014

Legal protection / judicial system

The judiciary successfully defends the independence it has regained after the end of military rule and tries to strengthen the rule of law in Pakistan (AA July 23, 2015). The Pakistani judiciary remains independent but also controversial (HRW January 21, 2014).

Significant inadequacies in the judicial system and weaknesses in the enforcement of current law persist, however. According to the index of the "World Justice Project" on the rule of law, Pakistan is one of the countries with major deficits in this area (AA 23.7.2015). Part VII of the constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary, which has been politically strengthened, but is still inefficient overall and, above all, largely ineffective in the lower courts (AA 8/4/2014). In practice, the judiciary is often affected by external influences such as fear of repression in cases of terrorism or blasphemy. Many lower-level courts remain corrupt, inefficient, and victims of pressure from prominent wealthy, religious and political actors. The political appointment of judges increases the government's influence over the judiciary. The case law of the Supreme Court and the High Courts does not have jurisdiction over some areas that have other legal systems (USDOS 6/25/2015).

The above-mentioned widespread corruption, especially among lower court instances in connection with outdated procedural law as well as overburdened and overburdened criminal prosecution authorities lead to a large number of unfinished business, long detentions without judicial proceedings or after wrongful judgments, as evidence is not possible (AA 8/4/2014; cf. also: USDOS 6/25/2015). According to the Chief Justice, there were 1.6 million pending cases in 2013 (USDOS 02/27/2014). Despite the adoption of the "National Judicial Policy" in 2009, the backlog of cases remained high at all levels, the problems of corruption and incompetence in the courts continued to be widespread (HRW January 31, 2013) and access to justice was expensive and difficult (AA April 8, 2014 ; see also: HRW January 21, 2014). After all, the structure of the judiciary with different special courts (e.g. military, Sharia law, to combat terrorism, etc.) is complex and is not felt to be accessible to everyone (AA 8/4/2014).

Three weeks after the Taliban's school massacre in Pakistan, parliament decided to reinstate military courts for civilian terror suspects. With 247 of the 342 MPs, the corresponding constitutional amendment received more than the required two-thirds majority. The tribunals can prosecute anyone who is known or suspected of belonging to a terrorist organization acting on behalf of a religion, reports Dawn. The military courts, notorious for their harsh sentences, were abolished in 2002 (DW 6.1.2015). On April 16, 2015, the Pakistani Supreme Court ruled that the death sentences imposed by military courts on civilians are to be suspended (AI April 20, 2015; see also: Reuters April 16, 2015). However, in a majority decision on August 5, 2015, the Pakistani Supreme Court confirmed the establishment of the military courts (Dawn 5.9.2015) and added that these military courts can also pass death sentences for civilians (RFE / RL 5.8.2015).

The High Court of Justice and the Supreme Court of Justice are generally classified as reliable by the media and the public (USDOS 6/25/2015). Although the Supreme Court unequivocally urged the government to clarify the fate of the disappeared on several occasions in 2013, the authorities did little to combat this human rights violation in accordance with the Pakistani constitution and international obligations (AI February 25, 2015). The use of suo motu [on its own initiative] judicial proceedings by the Supreme Court was frequent in 2013.

The Supreme Court and the Higher Provincial Courts met criticism (including media criticism) with threats of "disregard of the court" proceedings. The President of the Supreme Court, who took a leading role against this media criticism, retired in December 2013 (HRW January 21, 2014). In 2015 the Supreme Court was active in the fight against corruption, as it requested, among other things, a report from the Punjab government on the measures they have taken to combat corruption in the province (TET July 16, 2015). The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), as ordered by the Supreme Court, submitted a list of 150 "mega" corruption cases to the court on July 13, 2015. This list contains former presidents, former prime ministers, other high-ranking politicians and ministers, including the incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and head of government of the Punjab Province Shahbaz Sharif (Dawn 7/13/2015; see also: Dawn 7/14/2015).

In the civil, criminal and family court systems, there are public hearings, the presumption of innocence and the possibility of an appeal. Defendants have the right to be heard and consulted by a lawyer. The defendant must bear the costs of legal representation before the lower courts; in appeals courts, a lawyer can be made available at public expense. Defendants can interview witnesses, bring their own witnesses and evidence, and have legal access to evidence brought against them (USDOS 6/25/2015).

Courts often fail to protect the rights of religious minorities. Laws against blasphemy are used in a discriminatory way against Christians, Ahmadis and other religious minorities. Lower courts often do not require sufficient evidence in blasphemy cases, and some defendants or convicts spend years in prison before a higher court orders their release or overturns their guilty verdict (USDOS 6/25/2015).