The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has released its annual report, State of Human Rights (for 2014), which confirms that the situation in Pakistan remains worrisome as ever. The reports covers human rights, labour and unemployment, the justice system, journalists’ safety, prisoners’ rights, forced disappearances and missing persons, universal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, and the state of education, health, housing as well as law and order in the country.

Perhaps the most distressing finding of the report is that there has been a significant increase in sectarian violence. There were no less than 147 incidents of sectarian violence in the country, which included 144 terrorist attacks and 3 sectarian clashes. Unfortunately, the Parliament is yet to find the time and resolve to even discuss this issue. Those who can’t bring themselves to talk about it cannot be expected to do anything about it either. As minorities remain on the receiving end, the federal government has not passed a single piece of legislation to protect their interests.

The overall law and order situation is also highly unsatisfactory. Murders, kidnappings, rapes, honour killings, police encounters – the numbers are too high in every province. There are not many observable indicators which would point towards possible improvement. Statistics make it clear that both provincial and federal governments are consistently failing in fulfilling their claims.

While it is true that provincial governments in KP, Punjab and Sindh have taken steps to decrease gender disparity, their efforts do not reflect the magnitude of the problem that they are half-heatedly attempting to solve. While Balochistan is also seriously afflicted with general problems prevalent in all other provinces, its missing persons remain missing. There is little reason to believe that 2015 will prove any better than previous years. The courts seem to have given up. The government has learnt what’s good for it and is unwilling to touch the issue.

Data on health and education is also very discouraging. Dire situation of hospitals, limited access to health services and education, polio, infant morality rate – the state is falling short on all accounts. In the absence of institutions, infrastructure and will, it will continue to fail its citizens.