Mazari rebukes HRW over 'lecturing' PM Imran on making human rights priority

Published: August 28, 2018
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari says the government does not need to be reminded of its obligations from outside. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari says the government does not need to be reminded of its obligations from outside. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday reacted strongly to Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, urging him to make human rights a priority of his government since Pakistan is facing multiple challenges on that front.

In response to the letter, written by HRW Asia Director Brad Adams to the premier on Monday, Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said that the government does not need to be reminded of its obligations from outside.

“We are well aware of our obligations and committed to ensure and protect the human rights of our citizens in pursuance to the constitution of Pakistan and international commitments; not by any external pressure.”

While hitting back at the HRW, Mazari asked the human rights watchdog to raise its voice against “massive human rights violations, carried out in Indian Occupied Kashmir, Palestine and in some European States against Muslims.”

HRW South Asia director urges India to accept blatant rights abuses in Kashmir

The minister further said, “I hope that you would also raise your voice against a massive human rights violations, carried out in the Indian-occupied Kashmir, Palestine and in some European States against Muslims citizens.”

Human Rights Minister Mazari further told the HRW official that her ministry is already moving forward with a holistic action plan. We know the prevailing shortcomings in ensuring human rights of all our citizens and are working towards overcoming them.

She also urged the rights watchdog to take up the issue of the violation of human rights by some European states against their Muslim citizens in the form of curtailing their right to practice their religion freely and in the form of abuse of Islam and its Prophet (PBUH), in direct contravention of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

“Since HRW claims to monitor human rights across the world, I would like to be informed on how you are ensuring the rights of Muslim citizens to have their mosques and be able to dress and practice their religion freely and without ridicule in European states,” she added.

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HRW Asia Director Adams, in yesterday’s letter, had urged the government to begin by reversing abusive laws and policies and demonstrating genuine commitment to the rule of law and equal justice. He also called upon the Pakistan government to take concrete steps to protect fundamental civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights in six key areas.

“These are freedom of expression and attacks on civil society; freedom of religion and belief; violence against women and girls; access to education; restoring moratorium on death penalty; and terrorism and counterterrorism abuses.

“[Prime Minister] Imran Khan has an important opportunity to create a rights-respecting government that abides by the rule of law and restores the public faith in democratic institutions. It is crucial for Pakistan’s development for the government to actively carry out human rights agenda,” the rights watchdog said.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Striver
    Aug 28, 2018 - 9:12PM

    Great finishing paragraph. Great letter.
    But please sort out the new Punjab CM. Recommend

  • Aug 28, 2018 - 10:34PM

    Why are they being so defensive? Just say thank you for your suggestions, our govt prioritizes human rights, and we look forward to advancing those in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Salman Hasan
    Aug 28, 2018 - 11:46PM

    Very appropriate response. Well written Recommend

  • Tanvir Khan
    Aug 29, 2018 - 4:43AM

    In the city of Berlin, Germany, there are at least 85 mosques, almost all of them built in the last fifty years! All Muslims enjoy total freedom to practice their religion! Recommend

  • John J.
    Aug 29, 2018 - 4:49AM

    The state of language in this letter is as miserable as the state of human rights in Pakistan. Even the full stops are erratic and missing.

    BTW, you are also playing the same position as India – pointing fingers outward, Notably missing the ability to take responsibility. Look at the re-birth of Ms Mazari within one week. Let us see how ‘high’ she goes in coming days and time in mere ‘defending’ with least action.Recommend

  • M. Anis
    Aug 29, 2018 - 7:48AM

    Ms. Mazari,

    You should learn to be polite now as I felt so bad when you wrote in the 2nd para of your letter that “We certainly do not need to be informed or reminded” This only discourages any future suggestion and also reflect your attitude towards any sincere advise., instead you should have written: While appreciating your concern, we would like to inform you that we already have this on our agenda. This one sentence if written instead would have earned you a good reputation. Remember you are now on responsible seat and cannot afford to issue or write such statement and line in the official language. Also keep in mind you are now representing the country and their citizens.

    Hope you will consider and change yourself and craft yourself as per your new position.Recommend

  • qmsalman
    Aug 29, 2018 - 9:48AM

    Thumbs up to Ms.Shireen mazzari we are proud to have such a competent lady in our National cabinet.
    Best of luck and prayers for upcoming challengesRecommend

  • Manzoor Ahmed
    Aug 29, 2018 - 10:23AM

    An excellent slap in the faces of white supremacy who consider themselves above others. Hats off to a great Response by Madam Shireen Mazari, . Recommend

  • salman
    Aug 29, 2018 - 10:33AM

    This is what I call it a shut up call. Good reply to hypocrite HRW.Recommend

  • Saad
    Aug 29, 2018 - 10:49AM

    While I might not be a fan of PTI as a whole, I have immense respect and reverence for Dr Mazari. I have had the opportunity of reading her works on various topics, and believe that she stands out as a well accomplished highbrow, and well read academic in the country. Her party would be well advised to obtain her input in all important decision making processes. You never know she might even save it from falling on its face!

    I think that her reply is far from being defensive (which is only a matter of perspective) and befits the head of an important government ministry.

    Well done, Dr Mazari. You have not only reminded HRW of their job, but you have done it with dignity and pride. I only hope that the recipient of your letter has something substantive to show in response. Recommend

  • Mokasha
    Aug 29, 2018 - 10:56AM

    What is there to be defensive about? Minorities are under attack in Pakistan. They need protection. IK must do more on human rights front.Recommend

  • Suleman
    Aug 29, 2018 - 11:51AM

    Human Rights Watch urged IK to make human rights a priority. What is wrong with that? Why do PTI leaders and members want to fight over even petty things? Recommend

  • Ali Ahmed
    Aug 29, 2018 - 1:05PM

    @[email protected]:
    Agree that there is no need to get so defensive but she does make valid points. A lot of these organizations are completely useless and biased with who they care about. They don’t have the kahunas to stand up to any of the developed countries, or even countries like India and China who blatantly violate human rights on a regular basis.Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Aug 29, 2018 - 3:14PM

    Typical “What about Kashmir & Palestine” mindset of our Society. I expected a better response by Mazari But Unfortunately she is Disappointing. What’s Happening in Other Places is Of-course Condemn-able BUT we gotta Take care of our people First that should be your priority. Recommend

  • Waris
    Aug 30, 2018 - 9:12AM

    The upsetting part is that the human rights has done nothing where Muslims are persecuted e.g Burma/ Maymar. ISRAEL. Group is just puppet of Right religious agenda.Recommend

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