The right to life and liberty is a fundamental concept in human rights and is recognized in many international human rights documents and national constitutions. It means that every individual has the right to be free from arbitrary deprivation of life and liberty.
Article 9 in the Constitution of Pakistan: Security of a person:
The freedom of thought, conscience, and religion guaranteed in Article 9 can be raised by private individuals and religious communities, but not by other legal entities. At the outset, Article 9 protects an internal forum, i.e; an individual’s personal right to freedom of religious thought, conscience, and belief.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion:
This right includes the freedom to change his religion or belief, either alone or in a community group with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief.
The right to life means that every individual has the right to live and that no one can be arbitrarily deprived of their life. This right is protected by laws that exclude murder, genocide, and other forms of violence. The right to life also comprises the right to sufficient food, water, and healthcare.
The right to liberty means that every individual has the right to be free from arbitrary detention or imprisonment. This right is protected by laws that ensure that individuals are not detained without legal reasoning and that they are not subjected to torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.
The right to life and liberty are closely related and are often considered to be indivisible. They are vital for the awareness of other human rights, such as the right to freedom of expression, the right to work, and the right to education.
The freedom of a person means that every individual has the right to move freely and to choose where to live, work, and travel. It also means that individuals are free to express their opinions and beliefs and to participate in political and cultural events. This is the freedom of expression. The freedom of a person is protected by laws that prohibit arbitrary detention, torture, and other forms of physical or psychological pressure.
The security of a person reflects that every individual has the right to be free from violence, threats, and harassment. It includes the right to protection from physical and psychological harm, such as assault, harassment, and domestic violence. The security of a person is protected by laws that ensure the safety of individuals, such as laws against violence and harassment, and by procedures to prevent crime and ensure public safety.
According to The Report on Human Development of 1994, human security may be classified into the following seven categories:
- Economic security
- Food security
- Health security
- Environmental security
- Personal security
- Community security
- Political security
The freedom and security of a person are firmly related, as the right to freedom can be subverted by dangers to security, and the right to security can be sabotaged by erratic confinement and different violations of freedom. These rights are essential for the realization of other human rights, such as the right to privacy, the right to education, and the right to work.
Cases violating human security:
There have been several cases in Lahore, Pakistan that has raised concerns about violations of Article 9 of the Pakistani Constitution, which guarantees the protection of life and liberty. Here are some examples:
- Enforced disappearances: There have been numerous cases of enforced disappearances in Pakistan, including in Lahore, where individuals are taken into custody by security forces without any legal basis or due process. Families are often not informed of the whereabouts of their loved ones, and some have been held incommunicado for years. These disappearances have raised serious concerns about violations of the right to liberty and due process.
- Extrajudicial killings: There have been several cases in Lahore and other parts of Pakistan where individuals have been killed by security forces in alleged fake encounters or extra-judicial killings. These killings violate the right to life and raise concerns about the lack of accountability of law enforcement agencies.
- Police brutality: There have been numerous cases in Lahore and other parts of Pakistan where police officers have used excessive force against peaceful protestors, journalists, and human rights defenders. This has resulted in injuries, arrests, and detentions that violate the right to liberty and the right to freedom of expression and assembly.
- The Kasur child abuse scandal: In 2015, it was uncovered that a gang of child abusers had been operating in the Kasur district of Punjab, which is located near Lahore. The gang had allegedly abused and filmed the sexual assault of over 280 children. This case sparked protests across the country and highlighted the need for greater protection of children’s rights, including the right to life and liberty.
- The extra-judicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud: In 2018, a young man named Naqeebullah Mehsud was killed in an alleged fake encounter with police in Karachi. The incident sparked widespread protests across the country, including in Lahore, and led to calls for greater accountability of law enforcement agencies.
- The disappearance of social media activists: In recent years, there have been several cases of social media activists disappearing in Pakistan, including in Lahore. These disappearances have raised concerns about the government’s respect for the right to liberty and due process of law.
Overall, these cases highlight the need for greater protection of the right to life and liberty in Pakistan, and for greater accountability of state institutions to ensure that these rights are respected and upheld. These cases demonstrate the importance of protecting the right to life and liberty in Pakistan, and the need for greater accountability of state institutions to ensure that these rights are upheld.
- Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion (Article 9 of the Convention of Pakistan) https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004443839_www.equalityhumanrights.com
- UNDP: Human Development Report, 1994