Pakistan is a federal republic. While the 2013 elections were judged to be mostly free and fair, some independent observers and political parties raised concerns about election irregularities. The military and intelligence services nominally reported to civilian authorities. Police generally reported to civilian authority.
During 2015, the most serious human rights problems were extrajudicial and targeted killings; disappearances; torture; lack of rule of law (including lack of due process, poor implementation and enforcement of laws, and frequent mob violence and vigilante justice); gender inequality; and sectarian violence.
Other human rights problems included poor prison conditions, arbitrary detention, lengthy pretrial detention, a weak criminal justice system, lack of judicial independence in the lower courts, and governmental infringement on citizens’ privacy rights. Harassment of journalists continued, with high-profile attacks against journalists and media organizations. There were government restrictions on freedom of assembly and limits on freedom of movement. Government practices and certain laws limited freedom of religion, particularly for religious minorities. Continuing terrorist violence and human rights abuses by nonstate actors contributed significantly to human rights challenges in the country. The government also reinstated the death penalty after a seven-year hiatus.
Lack of government accountability remained a problem, and abuses often went unpunished, fostering a culture of impunity. Authorities seldom punished government officials for human rights violations.