Human Rights Watch says Pakistan's corrupt and ill-equipped police system encourages serious rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, torture and "encounter killings" in which police stage shootouts to kill individuals in custody.

The 102-page report released Monday says police beat some detainees with batons and leather straps and crush legs with metal rods, as well as using sexual violence and prolonged sleep deprivation. It says refugees, the poor and religious minorities are at particular risk.

Brad Adams, the Asia director for the New York-based rights group, says "law enforcement has been left to a police force filled with disgruntled, corrupt, and tired officers who commit abuses with impunity, making Pakistanis less safe, not more."

The report is based on interviews with dozens of police officers, victims and witnesses to abuse.