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May 13, 2018
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Fundamental rights

Opinion

May 13, 2018

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The right to life is enshrined in Article 9 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. “No person shall be deprived of life…..” Every Pakistani has the right to live and this means that ‘nobody, including the government, can try to end your life’. It also means that the government of Pakistan has a constitutional obligation to take appropriate measures to safeguard life.

Question: How many Pakistani children die of diarrhoea caused by contaminated water? Answer: According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), 53,000 Pakistani children die of diarrhoea caused by contaminated water every year. Imagine, 53,000 Pakistani parents loose a child to contaminated water every year (for the record, in 2017, fatalities in terrorist violence stood at 1,260).

According to the World Bank, water pollution costs Pakistan nearly four percent of GDP, or nearly $12 billion a year. According to the UN, “cases of typhoid, cholera, dysentery and hepatitis are rampant, and between 30 and 40 percent of diseases and deaths nationwide are linked to poor water quality.”

Yes, the government of Pakistan is constitutionally obligated to take appropriate measures to safeguard life. Question: If the government of Pakistan does not take appropriate measures to safeguard life then who will? Question: Of the 193 member states of the UN, which country has the worst newborn mortality rate? Answer: Pakistan. According to the UN, “a baby born in Pakistan – the country with the worst newborn mortality rate –faced a one in 22 chance of death, while a newborn in Japan had only a one in 1,111 risk of dying.”

For the record, the government of Japan has provided 1,435 hospital beds for every 100,000 Japanese citizens. For the record, the government of Pakistan has provided 70 hospital beds for every 100,000 Pakistani citizens. Question: Is the government of Pakistan constitutionally obligated to build the Orange Line Metro? According to the UN, more than 80 percent of newborn deaths in Pakistan can be prevented. Question: If the government of Pakistan does not take appropriate measures to safeguard life then who will?

The right to education is enshrined in Article 25A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.“The state SHALL provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years”. For the record, 18 million of the 23 million out-of-school children in Pakistan are between 10 and 16 years old.

Every Pakistani child has the right to education and that also means that the government of Pakistan has a constitutional obligation to take appropriate measures to educate all children of the age of five to sixteen years. Question: If the government of Pakistan does not take appropriate measures then who will? Question: If the government of Pakistan does not take appropriate measures then whose constitutional obligation does it become to force the government of Pakistan to fulfil its constitutional obligation?

Question: How many Pakistani mothers die during child birth? Answer: According to a report by ‘Save the Children’, 276 per 100,000 live births. Imagine, in Balochistan the mother mortality rate is 700 per 100,000. In Cuba, the mother mortality rate is 39 per 100,000. The government of Cuba has established a pool of 5.9 doctors for every 1,000 Cuban citizens. The government of Pakistan, on the other hand, has a pool of 0.7 doctors for every 1,000 Pakistani citizens.

The government of Pakistan has a constitutional obligation to take appropriate measures to safeguard life. Question: Is the government of Pakistan constitutionally obligated to build metro-buses?

The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad.

Email: [email protected] Twitter: @saleemfarrukh

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