Vital to tackle deep disappointment of people: HRCP

| October 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

Lahore, October 8: Lack of attention to governance and indifference towards the people’s rights has caused deep resentment and frustration among the citizenry, which all institutions must urgently wake up to address, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has said.

In a statement issued at the conclusion of its Executive Council meeting, the Commission stated on Sunday: “HRCP notes with grave concern the people’s deep disappointment in all institutions. We believe it should be a wake-up call for everyone. The serious deficiencies in governance and skewed spending priorities also need urgent correction. The actions of all those who have contributed to undermining civilian rule and allowed space to undemocratic forces bear responsibility for the unfolding chaos. This situation is drawing the attention away from many of Pakistan’s problems, which are aggravating by the day.

“The practice of enforced disappearance is now becoming routine. The judicial and inquiry commission responses have become fatigued and entirely ineffective. A parliamentary committee and special benches in the high courts must be set up to tackle the matter with the urgency and the seriousness it deserves. The report of the commission of inquiry on enforced disappearance, which was concluded many years ago, remains classified still. It must be released immediately and the recommendations heeded.

“In order to be transparent, the Government of Pakistan is encouraged to invite UN special rapporteurs to the country, especially the rapporteur on the freedom of expression and also the working group on enforced disappearance.

“It is common knowledge that some institutions and individuals have complete impunity from accountability, while a chosen few have been hounded at every step. HRCP demands across the board accountability, which must be accompanied by utmost respect for due process rights.

“There is much concern over recent attempts at the mainstreaming of religious extremists. It is also radicalizing the mainstream.

“The misuse of the blasphemy law continues unabated and the consequences are there for all to see. The state must not overlook its responsibility to protect the citizens from such misuse any longer.

“Faith-based violence, threats and discrimination do not seem to be on the authorities’ priority list. Also of concern are reports of mass conversions in Tharparkar, where a large number of religious seminaries have sprung up in recent years.

“The space for civil society, including journalists, is shrinking fast. Direct and indirect measures are being used to make it difficult for civil society organizations to operate. There is pervasive climate of fear. From enforced disappearance to public campaigns of character assassination, every illegal measure is being used to scare or prevent civil society from expressing itself freely. The cyber crimes law has also provided an additional tool to curb freedom of expression.

“Despite repeated military operations and proclamations of victory over the militants, free access to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is not allowed. The curfew on the Bannu-Miranshah Road every Sunday is one example of the great discomfort for the populace.

“Systematic efforts to deal with the massive internal displacement challenges remain completely absent. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in all phases of displacement are largely on their own. Restoration of shelter and livelihoods for them must not be delayed further. Merely labelling IDPs as temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) resolves none of those issues.

“A severe economic crisis staring Pakistan in the face demands that all institutions, including the executive, parliament, judiciary and military, change their ostentatious ways, adopt stringent austerity measures for at least some years and substantially cut their expenses.

“Serious concerns around China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are still unaddressed. In addition to the need for more transparency, complaints regarding the manner and compensation for land acquisition call for close scrutiny. The procedure for the sale of land to foreigners also needs to be carefully looked at. It is important that implementation of the CPEC plan prioritizes, without any exception, respect for human rights and the law of the land.”

 

Dr Mehdi Hasan

Chairperson

(On behalf of HRCP Executive Council)

Category: English Press Release

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