United Nation group not probing human rights violations
By: ZAHEER ABBASI
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Wednesday categorically dispelled the impression that the United Nations (UN) working group on human rights was visiting Pakistan to probe human rights violations, saying that it would evaluate the measures taken by the government to deal with the issue.
The Minister in a policy statement informed the National Assembly that the working group had been invited by the government under a carefully developed mandate that does not include investigation or findings. It had come to Pakistan to examine and see the measures taken by the government with respect to missing persons.
The Minister said that the visit of the Working Group was a part of Pakistan’s on-going engagements and co-operation with the United Nations Human Rights Council and that Pakistan was proud to be its member. She said that the UN visiting group would not draw any conclusion and submit its findings to the government and interact with the media on the conclusion of the trip on September 20, 2012.
Hina Rabbani Khar said that the UN human rights council was established in 2006 and Pakistan, who is also its member, had presented its report to the Council in 2008. The Minister said that the visit of the working group was part of the global effort to save people from human rights violations and that it had visited as many as 91 countries on the invitation of their governments.
The Foreign Minister said that the invitation was extended to the UN team in consultation with stakeholders and the approval of the Prime Minister. She said that the Chairman of the missing persons commission, Justice retired Javed Iqbal had also held a meeting with the working group in Geneva. She expressed the hope that the clarification given by the Minister on the floor of the house would dispel the misunderstandings about the working group’s visit to Pakistan that had not come to probe the missing persons’ issue.
The Foreign Minister said that Pakistan was co-operating with the UN and had ratified a number of instruments for the protection of human rights. She said that a democratic government, vibrant society, independent judiciary and free media have been playing their role to deal with the challenges. The Minister said that the working group had visited Mexico, Chile, Morocco, Argentine, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Nepal and various other countries.
The House also offered Fateha at the beginning of the proceedings for those killed in the fire incidents in Lahore and Karachi, as well as for the flood-related incidents throughout the country and adopted a resolution, unanimously, for providing facilities to special persons at all public buildings, including the Parliament House and the Parliament Lodges.