ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s functional committee on human rights on Tuesday approved the report of the body on Protection against Harassment at Workplace (Amendment) Bill 2016.
The matter was referred by the House on July 18 for consideration, finalisation and adoption of the report.The committee meeting, chaired by Senator Nasreen Jalil, also directed to call all the stakeholders including civil society, ulema, the Council of Islamic Ideology, Law Reforms Committee, National Commission for Human Rights and relevant ministry officials for thorough consideration of the blasphemy law.
Members opined that it is quite a sensitive issue and they just want to propose reforms to check its misuse.Our objective is that any innocent person should not be accused under this law. The committee lauded the role of National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) for preparing a detailed report on it.
Senator Kabir Ahmed Muhammad Shahi endorsed the recommendation of the commission regarding no officer below the rank of a superintendent of police shall investigate any complaint registered under the law.
Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Saif said there is much confusion and misunderstanding on the law. He opined that there is a wide difference between violation of the law by anyone due to his/her ignorance or with the intentions of disrespect.
Ministry of Human Rights Secretary Nadeem Ashraf stated that a wrong interpretation of the law created an atmosphere of fear in the society and lawyers are reluctant to take cases related to it. No prosecutor is available to proceed on the law. The chairperson asked that they should suggest precautionary measures to prevent involvement of any innocent person.
The body took notice of no representation from the FC and Rangers in the committee to respond on the agenda items and in protest five senators left the proceedings.Senator Farhatullah Babar also raised the issue of Human Rights Commission South Asia report quoted by the Rangers representative in the last meeting.
The member said it is only a web based organisation and no virtual founding on ground.“I checked the website of this commission and talked to senior journalist Rahimullah Yousafzai declared as its member on it but he denied being part of it.” He asked the chairperson to write a letter to the Ministry of Information Technology and National Commission for Human Rights to probe the matter.