HUMAN RIGHTS Pakistan’s record on human rights has been a source of concern for people in the country as well as the international community While a Human Rights Commission was created in 1988 as an autonomous body that selected its own personnel, the commission has been effective only in advertising some of the more prominent problems It has had minimal impact on public policy A succession of governments has been willing to encroach on the rights of women, children, and some minorities Changes in the constitution made by President Zia ul-Haq affected, in particular, the rights of women He instigated new laws that have restricted the ability of women to protect themselves against crimes, particularly that of rape Pakistan has been less than totally scrupulous in observing the rights of children with respect to labor as required by the International Labor Office Various governments have also been indifferent to the rights of minorities, in particular the Ahmadiya community and the Christians There are problems also in the way smaller provinces have been treatedThe issue of human rights continues to figure prominently in the concerns that are expressed by several Western countries, in particular the United States, in the ongoing dialogue with Islamabad

President Pervez Musharraf had to face considerable criticism during his visit to the United States concerning the treatment by his government of Mukhtanan Bibi, a rape victim

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