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Rights activists demand implementation of SC’s 2014 judgment on minorities’ rights

By Our Correspondent
June 20, 2023

Minority rights activists and members of civil society organisations at a consultation on Monday expressed concern over the non-implementation of the Supreme Court’s 2014 judgment on the minorities’ rights and demanded that the government implement the landmark verdict in its true spirit.

The consultation titled ‘Ensuring Compliance with Minority Rights in Sindh through the Lens of Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan Judgment (SMC no 1 of 2014)’ was organised by the Sindh Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in collaboration with the National Lobbying Delegation for Minority Rights and Legal Aid Society.

Special Assistant to the Sindh Chief Minister on Human Rights Surendar Valasai reiterated the Sindh government's commitment to promoting and protecting minorities’ rights. He told the event that the Pakistan Peoples Party’s provincial government established the minority affairs department in 1994, which was the first such a department in any province of Pakistan.

He added that the provincial government was seriously making policies and laws for the protection of the minorities’ rights to foster an inclusive society in the province.

SHRC Chairperson Iqbal Detho explained the role of the commission in addressing the minorities’ issues in the province. He said the SHRC was working diligently and developing a comprehensive manual on the Sindh Hindu Marriage Act and Muslim Personal Law that would also be translated into Urdu and Sindhi languages to be disseminated among the stakeholders.

The SHRC was actively engaged in formulating a dedicated chapter on the minorities’ issues in the Human Rights Policy of the Sindh government, Detho added.

He said the SHRC had recently prepared recommendations on the implementation of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act with a particular focus on issues related to forced conversions at a summit on human rights in Islamabad.

Nuzhat Shirin, chairperson of the Sindh Commission on Status of Women (SCSW) appreciated the SHRC for its role in defending the minorities’ rights. She called for incorporating minorities’ rights in the curriculum and fostering inclusivity in society.

Karamat Ali, executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), stressed that the Constitution of Pakistan included provisions that safeguarded the rights of minorities. He specifically referred to the Article 3 of the Constitution that guarantees eradication of all forms of exploitation.

Yasar Talib from the Centre for Social Justice emphasised the need for effective implementation of the apex court judgment on the minorities’ rights.

Mangla Sharma, MPA and member of an SHRC sub-committee, spoke about pressing issues surrounding the laws for the minorities.

Shariq Ahmed, secretary for the minority affairs department, applauded the SHRC chairperson's commitment to the minorities’ rights.

A member of the National Lobbying Delegation for Minority Rights, Jai Parkash Moorani, and Maleeha Zia from the Legal Aid Society also spoke at the event.