No definition of human rights in Pakistan: Nadia Gabol
Karachi: The News interviewed Sindh Human Rights Minister Nadia Gabol on Monday and asked her about the state of human rights in Pakistan, food insecurity in Sindh and law and order in Lyari. The excerpts of the interview follow.
Q: How do you assess the state of human rights in Pakistan in general and Sindh in particular?
A: I don’t think there is a definition of human rights in Pakistan. How can we assess the situation when there is no definition of human rights in the country?
Q: Don’t you agree that food security is a primary human right and the state is responsible for ensuring it?
A: Obviously! We take the right to food security as a human right as well. The state is also responsible for providing jobs, which we are doing under the aegis of our youth program. This week we registered 300 children from Lyari. We need to control population as well. If there is awareness about population control lots of problems will be solved.
Take the example of People’s Republic of China, a country of 1.3 billion, which is ensuring food security to everybody through population control. There are no beggars and no food insecurity in China.
Q: But we observe that cases of human rights violations in Sindh are constantly increasing? Have any steps been taken in this regard?
A: We have established camp offices in five or six districts of Sindh to deal with human rights violations. We have toll free numbers working 24 hours a day .The cases are either sorted out in the area but the bigger cases are usually forwarded to us.
Moreover, we have also launched three schemes regarding human rights. First, pertains to the provision of medical aid via camps set up in the remote areas.
Secondly, we are providing free legal aid.
The third scheme pertains to providing financial aid. We have established camps in Tharparkar where we have sent foreign aid which we had received.
Malnutrition in children is essentially due to lack of food which has nothing to do with inefficiency of the government. It’s a natural cause. It’s due to global warming and climate change and is a global phenomenon. But other schemes are in the pipeline to deal with the creeping emergency.
Q: How do you assess the situation in Lyari?
A: Historically, Lyariites have been the most politically-conscious people. There has been a thriving culture and amity between different ethnicities and communities here. Sports and cultural events have also been thriving.
But the people of Lyari were misunderstood and misused by vested interests. Even today half of the children who come to play sports hail from Lyari. I live in there too but I never get scared.
Q: Do you believe that the current de-weaponisation campaign will bear fruit?
A: The de-weaponisation campaign needs to be conducted at the grass-roots level. It should not be confined to Lyari but should engulf the entire 20 million people of Karachi. No one should be allowed to carry a gun. Weapons are now available like candies.
Q: Don’t you agree that hard drugs and weapons were introduced in Lyari in a systematic way to rob its people of their thriving culture and political consciousness?
A: I agree!
Q: Don’t you agree that previously a small segment of Lyari’s population used Hashish, while deadly drugs such as heroin were introduced after a void was created following a ban on liquor?
A: Alcohol should be banned in an Islamic state but it is available for the elite. Drugs are prohibited in an Islamic state but you can also get tranquilisers in Pakistan without a doctor’s prescription by which people commit suicides. You can have a plethora of new deadly drugs.