The European Parliament
(EP) on Thursday debated and adopted a resolution condemning the human rights
situation in Pakistan, as well as slamming Islamabad for breaching international law by not allowing consular access to Indian national
Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death for espionage.
Significantly, the EP resolution came on Thursday, days after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stayed the death sentence given to Kulbhushan Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, by a Pakistan
army court for alleged "involvement in espionage and terrorist activities in Pakistan".
India moved the ICJ, describing the charges against Jadhav as "concocted" and his trial as "farcical".
The resolution, which was adopted by majority, expressed grave concern over the "roll-back in Pakistan
of the respect for human rights
and the rule of law", in particular the freedom granted to security forces, the use of military courts, the crackdown on NGOs, the intimidation of human rights
defenders and religious minorities, and the increase in extrajudicial killings.
"Parliament is deeply concerned at the alarming rate of executions in Pakistan
following flawed trials, including of minors and persons with mental disabilities, some of which are carried out while appeals are still under way," the resolution said.
It also called on Pakistan
to reinstate its moratorium on the death penalty, with the ultimate goal of full abolition.
"The EP deplores the use in Pakistan
of military courts that hold hearing in secret and have civilian jurisdiction; insists that the Pakistani authorities grant access to international observers and human rights
organisations for purposes of monitoring the use of military courts," the resolution said.
Speaking during the debate in plenary in the French city of Strasbourg, British Member of the European Parliament
Neena Gill, said: "In March, military courts that can try civilians were reinstated for 2 more years. Basic rights of foreigners brought to trial are trampled on. With no access to consular rights. People who work for NGOs face harassment, arrest or worse – death.”
"It is high time to see real progress on human rights
and strengthening of the civil judiciary inPakistan.If not, GSP+ has to be reviewed," she stressed.
The European Parliament
said that the death penalty is incompatible with values such as respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, on which the Union is founded, and that any member state reintroducing the death penalty would, therefore, be in violation of the Treaties and of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.