Missing persons Pakistan's most important issue, says Rabbani -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Missing persons Pakistan’s most important issue, says Rabbani

By Rabia Ali

Karachi: Terming the issue of missing persons the most important one, Senator Raza Rabbani has called for legislation on the commission which has been constituted to deal with the case of missing persons.

He said this while addressing a seminar “Torture is a Crime’ on the occasion of the International Day against Torture jointly organised by the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) at the Karachi Press Club on Saturday.

“The commission on missing people comprises three retired judges and was formed through a notification. My suggestion is that legislation should be passed regarding the commission so that it takes a more formal shape.”

He also called for the speaker of the National Assembly and the Senate chairman to hold joint parliament committee and form a watchdog to monitor police, agencies and other law enforcement agencies. “Also, a human rights literacy campaign should be started in educational institutions as well as factories to raise awareness amongst people.”

He lauded the efforts of the KUJ and the AHRC in proposing a draft on a bill against ‘torture in custody’.

“The state of human rights, not only in Pakistan but even amongst the most powerful countries, is deteriorating. The United States has failed to implement the United Nations Convention on Human Rights by attacking Iraq and Afghanistan and then by running torture cells and prisons such as Abu Ghariab and Guntanamano Bay. Similarly, Israel for years has subjected the Palestinians to torture and the recent deadly attack by Israeli forces on the Flotilla ship has again proved that they were violating the human rights.”

In Pakistan, he said the state of human rights is terrible and there was a dire need to change the mindset of the people. “I believe that by passing a law related to the state of human rights won’t solve the problem. We need to change the attitude of people towards the basic human rights and fundamentals.”

On the other hand, Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid said that there was no need to change the mindset of the people. “The attitude of the politicians must be changed.”

Pointing towards various political leaders sitting on the stage, he said: “Only the mentality of these people should be changed. They lack political will. The politicians should ensure that laws are not only passed but most importantly that they are implemented. “On June 3, the president signed the UN conventions against torture. This is a positive sign but now the government should ensure that this law is implemented.”

Speaking on the occasion, MQM leader and Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Farooq Sattar said that the evil of torture should be nipped in the bud. “New ways of torture are now emerging on the surface, including illegal detention, torture through public-private models and torture through extremism.”

He added that in the 19 amendment, the Quaid-e-Azam’s historic speech of 11th August would be included. “Minorities are equal citizens of the country and should be provided equal rights.” He declared hunger, education and health as fundamental rights.

Leader of Workers Party Pakistan Yousuf Masti Khan termed inflation the biggest torture. “People are killing their families and children and committing suicide due to rampant inflation.”

Meanwhile, he also shed light on issues concerning minorities, saying that it is discriminatory that a non-Muslim cannot become a head of the state.

“Minorities are not treated as equal citizens in the country. Similarly, there is a certain sect which cannot recite Kalma or call their house of worship a Mosque. This is a form of torture with minorities.”

Sardar Rahim, leader of the PML-N, said that in today’s time, there is no bigger torture than the deprivation of food. “The poor are getting poorer whereas the rich are getting richer. Due to the rising prices of commodities, the poor cannot afford to buy essential items and are committing suicide when unable to feed themselves and their families.”

Senior Journalist Mazhar Abbass said that the definition of human rights has been changed after the 9/11 attacks. “The violators of human rights are roaming freely in the country. Even the independent judiciary is unable to convict these culprits.”

Speaking on the issue of missing persons, he said that hundreds of people have been whisked away by agencies to torture cells but no action is being taken against them.

He said that hardly any cases are being registered against them and even if a case is lodge, no action is taken against.
Source: The News