Human Rights Commission of Pakistan voices concern over lack of implementation of laws
Karachi: With seven pro-women pieces of legislation passed in the last few years, the initiatives taken to safeguard women’s rights at the highest level is commendable, if not ideal, said Zohra Yusuf co-chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Monday.
“But there is a serious lack of implementation of these laws, which enhances the responsibility of the civil society to educate the masses and work on changing the mindset of people at large,” she said. Yusuf was speaking at a seminar, titled ‘United to end violence against women”, at the PMA House on the occasion of International Human Rights Day.
The speakers included representatives of 10 non-governmental organisations, who shared their views on the various issues being faced by women in the country.
Hina Tabassum of the Human Rights Forum of Pakistan (FHRP) said the participation of women in the electoral process was dismally low in the country. “In 200 polling booths, the percentage of women voters was zero in the last elections, which shows that women are not playing their part in the political process,” she said. “This point towards the poor social status of women in the rural part of the country.”
Tabassum said the UN Charter for Human Rights should be inculcated in the school syllabus, so that children, who were the future of the country, should know the basic concept of human rights. Stressing the significance of the day, Illahi Bux of the Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) said the masses in general, and not the women alone, were in need of fundamental rights.
“A farmer who suppresses his wife is also a repressed creature in this land,” he said. “The oppressor (the farmer) also has some rights which we need to safeguard.” The rights of economically oppressed farmers were as important as those of women and others, he said. “We need to highlight that as well.”
The lack of women prosecutors in the judiciary of the country was raised by Hasan Akhtar of the Asian Human Rights. He said the participation of women in the judicial process was a cause of concern, especially when the state was prosecuting a rape accused.
“We don’t see many female prosecutors fighting rape cases or hearing them as judges. The judiciary is very much male-dominated, which hurts the larger cause of women rights in the country, which we have seen in the past.”
The participants of the civil society resolved to work as pressure group in the future and take on human rights challenges faced by the people in the country.
Malka of Aurat Foundation briefly gave a historic sketch of Human Rights Day to the audience and civil rights activist Asad Iqbal Butt hosted the occasion.