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December 15, 2019

Seminar at University of Peshawar: Speakers ask state institutions to uphold Constitution

National

December 15, 2019

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a one-day seminar on Friday called upon the state institutions to work in synergy with media to uphold the principles enshrined in the Constitution.

They expressed these views at the seminar organized by the Federal Ministry of Human Rights regional office at the University of Peshawar (UoP). They called upon the stakeholders to be tolerant of freedom of expression and speech. Sharing his thoughts, Director Human Rights Ghulam Ali said that human rights office was offering his services to promote the cause of sanctity of human rights in the country by fortnightly compiling reports throughout the districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said that Pakistan has ratified four out of seven conventions on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nadeem Azam, faculty member Khyber Law College, said that the modern era saw the emergence of international institutions to safeguard human dignity and ensure equality after World War-I and World War-II. He emphasized that the Geneva Conventions and associated protocols I and II had revolutionized setting up of international bodies for penalizing individuals and criminal states. Dr Faizullah Jan, Chairman of the Journalism and Mass Communication Department, speaking on the status of freedom of speech and expression in the country, called upon institutions to imbibe free market of ideas that may be good or bad based on consumer choices.

Lamenting the attacks on the media houses, he said that choking media voices through downsizing, advertisements and dictations would not work as informed mindset and voter in a public sphere were crucial to a democracy.

Prof Dr Jamil Ahmad Chitrali said that dialogue and argumentation must be based upon rationale and institutional parity. "We see that the State in Pakistan remained hostage to non-state actors that is detrimental to cause of a state protecting rights of the citizens," he added. Dr Anoosh Khan, the chairperson, Gender Studies Department, said that the role of the media in depicting the human rights violations against women was the tip of the iceberg. She said that educational institutions and the district authorities must work in unison to promote understanding of human rights.

Prof Ghulam Qasim Khan Marwat said the teachers and students must work for democratic ideals in the academic environment to ensure transparency and accountability. At the end of the seminar, UoP Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Johar Ali said that legislation and implementation must go hand in hand to yield results. He negated the notion in his speech that the state would have to provide a very possible solution, but communities and the private sector have to come up for viable and working solutions at the grassroots.