LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has demanded that the government and judiciary take more interest in protecting citizens’ rights and prevent violations.
In a statement issued after the HRCP Council and annual general meeting on Sunday, the commission expressed concern over the increasing security-centric nature of the state, which has been leading to multiple human rights violations. “We hope that in this transition to democracy, the judiciary will play a more proactive role in protecting the rights of the people,” it stated.
At the gathering, veteran journalist IA Rehman said no government liked people who were human rights activists because they criticised the government. “In civilised countries, there is a larger space for criticism as compared to our society,” he said.
Speaking about the crackdown against non-profit organisations, Rehman most of the NGOs working in Pakistan were registered with the Punjab government, which cancelled registration of over 3,000 such bodies.
He said Pakistan had signed international agreements that the NGOs could submit reports after consultations with civil society and whatever they committed to with the world.
Speaking about the role of media as defenders of human rights, writer and critic Ghazi Salahuddin said media was becoming increasingly unprofessional day by day with an overall bent towards retrogression and extremism.
The HRCP council also passed a unanimous resolution, demanding the government to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
The commission also elected its new office-bearers for a three-year term on Sunday.
Dr Mehdi Hasan and Uzma Noorani were elected as the chairperson and co-chairperson, respectively. The provincial vice-chairpersons were Habib Tahir for Balochistan, Kamran Arif for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Salima Hashmi of Punjab) and Asad Iqbal Butt for Sindh.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2017.