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HRW Urges Pakistan to Withdraw Repressive Law

A human rights group says Pakistan should discard its new anti-terrorism law.

Human Rights Watch's deputy Asia director described the Protection of Pakistan Bill as "vague and overbroad."

Phelim Kine said the law gives "a green light for abusing suspects in detention, which is already far too common in Pakistan.

Proponents of the measure say it is necessary to expedite the investigation and prosecution of terrorism cases.

HRW said the law could be used to suppress peaceful political opposition and criticism of government policy.

The rights groups said the new law would violate fundamental rights to "freedom of speech, privacy, peaceful assembly and due process protections" embodied in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Pakistan ratified in 2010.

President Mamnoon Hussain is expected to sign the bill into law in a few days, following its approval by the Senate earlier this week.

The legislation was passed as the Pakistani military fights a major offensive against Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militant hideouts in the North Waziristan tribal areas along the Afghan border.

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