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NA committee flays continued human rights violations

27 May, 2014

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary body on Monday expressed displeasure over the continuing human rights violations in the country, like abductions, killings, women's harassment.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights said the financial resources and the human capital both are inefficient to deal with the issue. The committee was of the view that ensuring human rights is not the duty of the HR Wing alone, rather it is the duty of every parliamentarian, civil society, bureaucrats, who should take appropriate measures to stop rights violations. The committee, which met on Monday at the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Mahmood Bashir Virk, said the HR Wing in the ministry has budget only to meet its staff's salary, and it is unable to finance any victim.

The committee was also informed that the government has already signed/ratified 27 international commitments, which were mandatory to get the GSP plus status from the EU. Seven of these commitments are related to human rights and fall under the purview of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights. The ministry's Secretary Justice (r) Muhammad Raza Khan told the committee that the ministry is mostly working on 27 international commitments.

MNA Moulana Muhammad Khan Sherani questioned the religious status of all the international treaties signed by the government. "Are they according to our constitution and Islam?" he asked. Meanwhile, ministry's Joint Secretary Humera Azam Khan gave a detailed presentation on the Human Rights Wing and told the committee that the main function of it is to review the human rights situation in the country, including implementation of laws and polices.

It also coordinates with ministries and provincial governments regarding human rights. The ministry's wing also represents Pakistan at the international forums relating to human rights and is also working in collaboration with human rights NGOs/INGOs. She also informed the committee that the HR Wing helped in establishment of Centres of Excellence for Human Rights studies at the International Islamic University, University of Punjab and University of Peshawar. National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz briefed the committee over function of the NCSW.

The Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights secretary informed the committee that the basic function of the Human Rights Wing is to monitor the human rights situation and violations. Furthermore, an autonomous NCSW Act, 2012 has been established for the promotion of social, economic, political and legal rights of women in the country. the Human Rights Wing of the ministry is responsible for coordinating implementation and reporting of international human rights commission/treaties in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders.

Earlier, the committee discussed the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014 moved by Moalana Ameer Zaman, which relates to the establishment of the high court bench in Loralai to facilitate the people of seven districts by providing speedy and prompt justice. The committee appreciated the objective of the mover and recommended inviting comments from the government and chief justice of Balochistan. The bill was deferred for further discussion in the forthcoming meeting. The committee was of the view that justice should be provided at the doorstep of every citizen.


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