Human rights ministry in the doldrums -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Human rights ministry in the doldrums

Pakistan Press Foundation

SLAMABAD: The Ministry of Human Rights and its commissions established in Sindh and Balochistan are facing acute shortage of experienced staff as well as financial resources, which is hindering their performance.

“The current staff is overburdened and also performing tasks way beyond its expertise,” said an official of the Ministry of Human Rights while talking to The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity.

Despite Pakistan being one of the countries where human rights situation is upsetting, the government clearly appears least bothered in dealing with it, according to the official, who calls it a sad state of affairs that the ministry that was established to work for protecting the rights of people of Pakistan is unable to get its own rights.

“Among others, the main function of the ministry is to draft laws and deal with legal issues, but unfortunately it lacks a dedicated legal team,” he said. “Currently, there is not even a single lawyer in the ministry, who could assist in drafting bills or professionally deal with legal issues,” said the official, adding that people without any legal expertise were drafting bills.

The ministry also lacks a dedicated research department.

“There is no department or a dedicated team to analyse the human rights situation and current trends in the country on a regular basis,” said the official.

He said the Ministry of Human Rights was also missing a system linking the provincial departments for gathering and compiling consolidated data on cases of human rights violation across the country.

Furthermore, the International Convention (IC) Department of the Ministry of Human Rights has only three staff members – a director general and two deputy directors general – who are overburdened with work, according to the official.

They have to compile lengthy quarterly reports after analysing and conducting research on their own on numerous conventions rectified by Pakistan,” he said, adding that people were reluctant to work for the Ministry of Human Rights because of late sittings and lack of incentives.

About the Sindh Human Rights Commission, the official said, “Due to shortage of financial, human and logistics resources, it is unable to function effectively.”

“The head of the commission does not even have a transport to travel to far-flung areas to check the human rights situation,” he said. “The Balochistan Human Rights Commission has been established, but is of no use,” he complained.

When contacted, IC Director-General Muhammad Hasan Mangi said, “The Ministry of Human Rights is making all-out efforts to function effectively within the available and limited financial and human resources.”

Express Tribune