The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) government has been criticised for being silent in the face of violations of human rights and due process. Yet that is not entirely true. PTI leaders do speak up about some human rights violations-their activism on the situation in Sindh being a recent example.

Sindh politicians belong to PTI recently expressed serious concern at a news conference at the National Press Club over the human rights situation in the province, alleging that “influential people” are patronising and protecting criminals. The PTI politicians, which included parliamentary secretary for human rights in the National Assembly Lal Chand Malhi and secretary general of the party’s Sindh chapter and MPA Haleem Adil Sheikh, said ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders were guilty of “using police to crush political opponents”.

The politicians were referring to two recent tragic incidents- the murder of Irshad Ranjhani in Karachi, and the honour killing of thirteen year old Ramsha Wassan in Khairpur. Ranjhani, who was a nationalist leader, was shot by a politician, Union Council Chairman Abdul Rahim Shah, and then died of his wounds after doctors refused to treat him. The Sindh police in this case delayed filing an FIR against Shah, terming Ranjhani as a criminal. The Ramsha Wassan case also showcased inefficiency on part of the police- her killer was a professional criminal who the Police had not taken action against, even after several warnings by Ramsha’s parents before her tragic murder.

Both cases reflect gross inefficiency by the administration and raise some very serious questions about the Sindh government’s handling of the Police. These are not the first complaints that have arisen about Sindh’s criminal justice system- one cannot forget the Rao Anwar/Naqibullah controversy that will forever haunt the Sindh Police. Any incident of violence causes fear and a lack of trust in the government and PPP leaders like Bilawal Bhutto need to rise to the occasion and conduct thorough investigation on what went wrong and how the criminal justice system in Sindh can be reformed to make dispensation of justice easier.

Incidentally, while PPP need to put its money where its mouth is, so does PTI need to walk the walk. Raising awareness on human rights violations of other governments looks politically motivated if a party ignores rights violations in its own jurisdiction. The past week has seen various unwarranted and unjustified arrests of human rights activists- why the silence on that?