Prime Minister approves appointment of rights defenders
By: Khawar Ghumman
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Perverz Ashraf gave a go-ahead on Monday to the ministry of human rights to appoint human rights defenders whose job would be to help poor victims.
A government official privy to a meeting between the prime minister and his Adviser on human rights, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, said it was just a proposal to which the prime minister had agreed and now the ministry would work on nitty-gritty of the move.
The basic idea to have human rights defenders in the country was to help those poor victims who could not afford to plead their cases in courts or seek other remedial measures against oppressors. “The number of human rights defenders and their service structure will be worked out by the ministry in collaboration with other ministries,” the official said. However, critics of the government say as elections were just a few months away, new positions are being created to accommodate pro-PPP voters.
This decision was taken by the prime minister during a presentation made by the ministry on its working and performance at the PM House this afternoon. Mr Ashraf was informed during the briefing that the ministry this year had received 1886 cases of human rights violations in the country.The prime minister also directed Mr Khokhar to strengthen his ministry so that the government could effectively implement its international and constitutional obligations in letter and spirit. The prime minister said that Islam laid great emphasis on human rights.
Shaigan Shareef, Secretary of Human Rights, informed the prime minister that Pakistan had been elected a member of United Nations Human Rights Council for three years and had secured 171 votes.
The prime minister said that the election of Pakistan to the Human Rights Council was a testimony of international recognition of the country’s commitment to human rights as well as its role in international relations. The prime minister said that the ministry had been established during the PPP government in 1995 and this showed the PPP’s commitment to the cause of human rights.
Mr Khokhar said that due to efforts of the ministry, the government had ratified an international treaty on Committee Against Torture (CAT) and recognised International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It sent a clear message to the international community that Pakistan was serious and committed to upholding human rights, he added.