ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday called upon the United Nations for urgent repatriation of 3.5 million Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan.
The Prime Minister was talking to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanthem Pillay who called on him at the PM House in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Gilani said the repatriation would help Pakistan deal with terrorists since the cross-border movement of refugees had made it difficult to distinguish between tourists and terrorist.
Pakistan-Afghanistan-UN are in a tripartite agreement which keeps Afghan refugees in Pakistan. However, this agreement is due to expire at the end of 2012.
The UN High Commissioner promised to bring the issue to the notice of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR),adding that she would highlight its urgency to address it.
She appreciated the `zero tolerance policy’ of the Prime Minister against terrorism and extremism, and added that political will would further make a difference in the real sense by thwarting the tendencies detrimental to social development.
The UN Commissioner praised amendments and the legislations by the government which seek to empower women, minorities and the poor. The recent establishment of an Independent Human Right Commission was also recognised by Pillay as a step forward in improving the human rights situation in the country. She expressed satisfaction over the democratic reforms in Pakistan and hoped that the state institutions would function keeping in view the trichotomy of power.
The UN High Commissioner expressed her concern over lifethreats to Asma Jahangir, former President of Supreme Court Bar Association, adding that she was satisfied to know that federal government had taken immediate steps to enhance the security of the world renowned human rights activist.
The Prime Minister mentioned that the government has established a National Commission on Women, passed scores of pro-women legislative measures such as Anti-Women Practices Bill, and Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010 among others,including establishment of a Women Crisis Centres, Women in Distress Relief Fund and empowerment of the minorities.
Drones a violation of human rights
Taking the opportunity, Gilani reminded the commissioner that drone attacks too were a violation of human rights because they killed innocent people including children and women.
He said there should be fair application of the laws and steps were being taken for provision of immediate and inexpensive justice to the people at the grass roots.
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