Amnesty International (AI) accused the Pakistani military today of carrying out widespread human rights abuses in a tribal region where its army is fighting the Taliban.
The military has regularly held people without charges and tortured or otherwise mistreated them in custody, the rights group said.
Detainees who die in custody are dumped in remote parts of the region or returned to their families dead, AI alleges and claims that those who are released alive are threatened with dire consequences if they speak publicly about being mistreated in custody.
The accusations were made in its Hands of Cruelty report, which also blamed the Taliban for a range of rights abuses such as the killing of captured soldiers and innocent civilians.
While AI acknowledged the challenge Pakistan is facing in fighting the Taliban along its border with Afghanistan, it criticised the government and army for failing to investigate abuses.
It said that a combination of new security laws and colonial-era regulations often provided the military a legal cover for abuse.
The rights group said it was unaware of any serving or retired member of the army, police or intelligence services having been prosecuted for involvement in unlawful detentions or torture.
"Without urgent action by the Pakistan government to guarantee respect for human rights in the tribal areas, millions will continue to be locked in a perpetual state of lawlessness," it said.