HRCP supports mix marathons
KARACHI , April 10, 2005: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said on April 8 that the government decision to hold marathons for men and women separately was in violation of the constitution.
It said that Article 4 guarantees equal opportunities, equal rights to all citizens in every field, while Article 25 stressed that no discrimination be done one the basis of gender.
Speaking at a press conference HRCP secretary general Iqbal Haider, HRCP’s Sindh vice chairperson Zohra Yusuf and councillors, Ghazi Salahuddin, Rochiram, Roland de Souza, Amarnath Motumal, Asad Iqbal Butt that Article 4 says that the state shall ensure full participation of the women in all spheres of national life, and that the state was under obligation to ensure that its women citizens were not denied of any of their rights, guaranteed by the constitution.
They condemned the government for bowing before the militant religious organizations by announcing that male female mix marathon races would not be held. They termed it against the constitution and demanded that the races be organized as announced earlier.
The HRCP representatives also criticized the national assembly speaker who had failed to ensure the attendance of two members of the national assembly – Makhdoom Javed Hashmi and Hameedullah, who are in jail.
They also criticized the government for reintroducing the column of religion in the passport under the pressure of the militant religious organizations. They said the religion column was discrimination towards the minority communities and should not be included in to the passport, which was just a travel document.
They also criticized the gang-rape of a 12-year-old girl in Rato Dero by three people on April 2, and holding of a jirga that had decided that Rs 600,000 be paid as fine and the rape case against the three people be withdrawn.
They demanded that as Sindh High Court had declared that jirgas were illegal so all those who had participated in the jirga be arrested. The human rights activists also demanded that Prof Zahid Hussain Mirza, who is accused of writing a book containing blasphemous material and is in jail, be provided proper treatment as he was suffering from cancer.
They said that the government, under a well calculated move and policy to deny rights to the workers and citizens, was not filling up vacancies in the civil and labour courts.
They said that there were many vacancies in the federal services tribunal, national industrial relations commission, and labour courts. Even the Sindh High Court was not functioning with its full sanctioned strength as there have been many vacancies of judges in the Sindh High Court for the past many years.
They also condemned the government for putting pressure on the elected representatives to change their political loyalties.
Citing an example, they said that Sindh MPA Farheen Mughal’s husband Imtiaz Rajpar, an employee of the local government in Nawabshah, has been suspended for the third time. They demanded that such arm-twisting tactics be stopped, so that the public representatives could serve their electorate.