The Pakistani government order for the army to “shoot on sight” to quell violence in Karachi effectively declares the city a war zone, and is a recipe for disaster, Amnesty International said today.
Pakistani authorities ordered 1,000 extra troops into Karachi with instructions to "shoot on sight" armed men who have been involved in sectarian violence that media reports say has killed as many as 95 people in four days.
"By granting security forces the power to 'shoot on sight' the Pakistani government is effectively declaring Karachi a war zone,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Director for the Asia-Pacific.
"Given the Pakistani army's record of human rights violations and impunity, such licence given to the security forces, in a volatile situation, can only be a recipe for disaster, encouraging lawlessness, further violence and killings.
"In granting these powers, the authorities contravene international human rights standards and send the message that their own security forces are above the law.
"The violence in Karachi is increasingly alarming. But Pakistan’s authorities must work to restore public order, safety and trust in Karachi society by upholding human rights for all, and through proper use of the law to ensure justice and accountability for all victims of targeted violence. Adding to the violence is not a solution,” said Sam Zarifi.