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April 18, 2021

Govt urged to award ‘Nishan-e-Pakistan’ for IA Rahman’s struggle

Islamabad

April 18, 2021

Islamabad : The panel of constitutional experts and human rights practitioners urged the government to prioritise tabling the Bill against torture that has long been pending after the country had signed and ratified the UN Convention against Torture in 2008.

They said the present government’s promise is yet to see the light. Speaking at the condolence reference here on Saturday, the participants from different walks of life paid rich tribute to I.A. Rahman, Pakistan’s internationally acclaimed human rights defender, peace guru and a seasoned journalist. They said the journey of human rights should continue in the light of I.A. Rahman’s thoughts, visions and writings.

The speakers said I.A. Rahman was the forefront leader of peace in the region through bilateral and multilateral advocacy and diplomacy based on human rights. It should continue even if the nondemocratic forces don’t like it and create hurdles against the human rights and peace campaign. He was the believer of friendship between the people of Pakistan and India in particular to propagate peaceful diplomatic relations between the governments of both countries. The virtual commiseration was organised by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) and DTN to commemorate the services and work of the legend.

The panel of experts included seasoned politician and former senator Farhatullah Babar, Constitutionalist and human rights expert Zafarullah Khan, Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed, gender rights expert from Lahore Dr. Khushboo Ejaz, human rights and peace activist Sadia Bokhari, visual artist and art teacher Sarwat Kazmi, and political rights activist Zulqarnain Asghar. Farhatullah Babar asked the human rights committees of the National Assembly and Senate to have a joint session in memory of I.A. Rahman where they shall recommend to the government for conferring upon him the highest national award Nishan-e-Pakistan.

He also suggested the human rights organisations to form an alliance on the deteriorating situation of human rights in Pakistan and in the region for collective efforts to combat the challenges. He also suggested that a couple of universities shall have human rights chairs after his name.

Mr. Babar said that I. A. Rahman was a person who genuinely shared his wisdom to everyone, wrote a lot about every aspect of human rights and democracy, and intentionally kept away from the rulers to maintain his integrity and intent. Mr. Rahman was consistent in pursuing and encouraging others to write about human rights, peace process and democracy.

Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed said my generation learnt everything from the iconic human rights defender, peace guru and a seasoned journalist. He continued to inspire generations for six decades. To continue the journey of his vision and wisdom, it is very essential to have his articles compiled in a book form, and another book shall be written on his efforts and lifelong struggle to inspire the next generation. He also suggested having tangible memorials in all provinces and human rights study centres at different universities after the name of I.A. Rahman. His services are milestones for the rights defenders which should be compiled and published virtually and on social media platforms too.

Zafarullah Khan said I.A Rahman started writing on human rights much earlier than the popular rights movement in Pakistan. He was the initial voice against the nondemocratic forces and dictatorial regimes. His writings unfolded the conspiracies against peace in the region that was deliberately disturbed for the vested interests of the nondemocratic forces.