HR activists urge govt to create NCHR Fund
ISLAMABAD: Human rights activists and political leaders demanded of the government to create National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) Fund as stipulated in the NCHR Act of 2012 to ensure the Commission functions as an independent body to credibly protect and promote human rights across the country.
The demand came forward at an event titled ‘Seminar and Consultative Round Table to Commemorate the Universal Human Rights Day and launch of Strategic Plan of the Commission’ organised by NCHR on Tuesday.
The Strategic Plan of the Commission has five priority areas that are Human Rights Education, complaint handling and investigation, compliance on international obligations, review of the national legal framework and addressing marginalization and vulnerability.
Speaking on this occasion, Chairman NCHR Justice (r) Ali Nawaz Chowhan declared that rule of law was contingent upon the role that only the Supreme Court can play in Pakistan. “The apex court must sit as a full court to clarify legal questions for benches lead to divergence in legal opinion and its interpretation”, he said.
He said that the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights was playing an important institutional role to promote and protect the fundamental rights of the people.
Senator Farhat Ullah Babar appreciated the central role accorded to the NCHR in the national institutional setup as the only federal agency that can go into the provinces as federal ministries are bound to operate within the geographical limits of Islamabad, the national capital. He highlighted the issue of forced disappearances and rampant death penalty awards as issues that the country needs to find a solution for.
Senator Babar urged the NCHR to take cognisance of forced disappearances to check forces that are behind systemic abuse of human rights in the country.
Eminent journalist and human rights activist I A Rahman welcomed the launch of the NCHR strategic plan and urged the chairman to fight for the independence and autonomy of the commission. He said the Constitution of Pakistan will be 50 years old in 2023 and the next seven years should be spent to make sure that it accords all fundamental and basic rights to all the citizens of the country.
“The NCHR is an autonomous body,” he said urging NCHR chairman to stay steadfast and act as a friend of the people. Ambassador of Germany Ina Lepel also addressed the seminar appreciating the role of NCHR and assuring all support to the Commission by her country and its institutions.
Balochistan Member of the NCHR Fazila Aliani highlighted the activities of NCHR during its first year. High Commissioner of Australia, Ambassador of Netherlands, Diplomats of EU, Spain and representative of UN, Country Director The Asia Foundation and Democracy Reporting International attended the event in addition to NCHR Members, civil society organizations, Human Rights Defenders, government departments, academia and minority representatives. The Chairman NCHR presented souvenirs to all dignitaries and reiterated his commitment to work for promotion and protection of human rights.