Political parties’ representatives, civil society organisations and associations of human, women and labour rights, on Thursday, called for the need to conceive measures to end human rights excesses, rampant in Pakistan against minorities, women and other vulnerable sections of the society.
The exhortations were made during a seminar, ‘A call for re-engineering the public justice system’, organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Organisation (Piler) and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to mark the International Human Rights Day, observed annually on December 10.
University of Karachi Faculty of Law Dean Dr Justice (Retd) Ghaus Mohammad while addressing the seminar said the human rights charter should be made part of the national curriculum.
Speaking of an absolute lack of implementation of laws, he said it was the state’s duty to ensure the laws were put into effect.
Lamenting the conditions in which prisoners were kept in jails, Ghaus stated that less influential convicts were kept in deplorable conditions while those who had connections enjoyed all kinds of facilities.
Member of the Missing Persons Inquiry Commission, Ghaus while speaking of the ineffectiveness of investigative commissions so far constituted, said the commission could only receive a limited number of applications of missing persons in comparison to the actual number of incidents that had occurred.
He also cited the examples of the investigative teams established to investigate the murders of Mir Murtaza Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto and how both were yet to identify the killers, let alone arrest and punish them.
Piler Executive Director Karamat Ali spoke of the hard work and struggle which went into making the United Nations Human Rights Charter and other covenants.
“State and its institutions are the worst violators of human rights,” Ali claimed. He urged all political parties to include issues of people’s rights in their manifestoes.
As for violations of labour laws, he said Pakistan had ratified all crucial labour rights of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), but none of them were being implemented.
Asad Iqbal Butt, vice president of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) spoke of religious persecution, specifically of Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus.
He said around 144 incidents of violence against the minorities had been reported during the current year.
Speaking of incidents of violence against women, he stated that 828 incidents of rape were reported during the current year, whereas 597 women were gang raped; 36 were publicly humiliated whereas 923 women were killed in the name of honour. He further added that around 92 women and 13 girls were attacked with acids of which seven died due to the severity of their injuries.
Sindh High Court Bar Association President Barrister Khalid Javed, AHRC representative Hasan Athar, Abdul Khaliq Junejo of the Jeay Sindh Mahaz, columnist Prof Tauseef Ahmed, Farhat Fatima of Piler and Dilawar Khan of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) also spoke on the event.
Coordinator to Sindh Chief Minister for Human Rights Nadya Gabol while expressing her concerns with respect to human rights violations, said the year 2015 was about to end and the world had a tale to tell with respect to the worst kinds of violations which occurred during the year.
“Be it in India, Syria, Palestine or Iraq, people were subjected to the worst kinds of humiliations in the name of religion, caste and colour.
Addressing a seminar organised by the Directorate of Human Rights Sindh, she said waves of shock and horror were felt by the global community with respect to the kinds of incidents reported this year from various countries.
However, speaking of Sindh she claimed the situation of human rights was much better as compared to the other provinces. Nadya asserted that the DHRS and the provincial government were committed to ensure protection of peoples’ fundamental and human rights, for which she claimed an awareness programme for those residing in rural areas would also be held.
The seminar was followed by an awareness walk which was attended by Director Human Rights Mansoor Ahmed Rajput, CPLC chief Zubair Habib, senior Journalist AH Khanzada, DG Protocol Shakeel Amjad, social worker Sarim Burney and his wife Alia Sarim, religious scholar Dr Mubashir Alam, social worker Dr Mehboob Nizami, minorities’ representatives Kamran Michael, Maharaj Vijay, deputy secretary Health Saleem Khan, deputy directors of Information Imtiaz Ali Joyo and Aziz Hakro, representatives of NGOs, lawyers and a number of students and boys scouts.