LAHORE: Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs Khalil Tahir Sandhu said on Wednesday that the chief minister had approved the establishment of provincial and district level task forces under the Human Rights and Minority Affairs Department.
Addressing a press conference, he said the government hoped to see a decline in cases of human rights violations after the establishment of the task force. He said offices of the Human Rights and Minority Affairs Department would be established in all districts of the province. He said the chief Minister had constituted a nine-member committee under the law minister to establish offices of Human Rights Department in all districts.
He said special measures will be taken for training of officers of the task force.
“It is mandatory for the federal and provincial governments to follow 27 United Nations conventions, which include commitments on environment protection, labour rights, human rights and good governance. The task force will provide an overview of the human right laws in the province and make recommendations for amendments in existing legislation. It will help reduce incidents of rape, forced labour, acid attacks, domestic violence, harassment of women and honour killing.”
The minister said there was no mechanism to check human rights violations in the province. He said that 14 provincial secretaries, MPA Ramesh Singh Arora and Mary Gill would be part of the task force.
He said the task force would be headed by the human rights and minority affairs minister. He said the secretary of the Human Rights Department would act as the secretary of the task force.
Sindhu said implementation committees of the task force would be set up under DCOs. He said DPOs, EDOs, two MPAs and members of the civil society would be part of the team.
“The district committees will send progress reports to the task force on a monthly basis,” he said.
He said the task force would check the performance of provincial departments on human rights quarterly.
“We will not allow anyone to portray a negative image of Pakistan abroad,” he said. “Action will be taken against NGOs misreporting facts to their donors.”
The minister also criticised politics of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, saying they were promoting extremism, chaos and anarchy.
“Imran should stop trying to confuse people with protests and public rallies,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2016.
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