An aide to the prime minister has said that a rights commission the government is planning to set up will have the authority to take action against human rights violators across the country.
The National Assembly on Friday approved a bill seeking the formation of a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
“Articles 14 and 15 of the bill pertain to the role of the armed forces and intelligence agencies. In case of any rights violation by members of the armed forces and intelligence agencies, responsible officials will be held accountable by the commission which will be authorised to take action against those found guilty,” Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, the adviser to the prime minister on human rights, told the BBC.
The commission will either be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or a judge qualified enough to be appointed to the apex court. And it will comprise a member from each of the four provinces and Islamabad.
Khokhar added that candidates for the commission will be finalised by a parliamentary committee, comprising members from both the government and the opposition. The committee will be announced by the National Assembly speaker.
In addition to taking any applications, the commission will have the power to take suo motu notice of rights violations across the country, Khokhar said. It will also be authorised to direct any federal or provincial department to submit details of such cases.
The move to set up the commission has been especially welcomed by the families of missing persons.
The Ministry of Interior had also formed a commission earlier to recover missing persons. Despite its recommendations, however, no action was taken against any intelligence agency personnel.
The armed forces and intelligence agencies are widely blamed for enforced disappearances in the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2012.