Supremacy of constitution vital to protect fundamental rights: Speakers


ISLAMABAD: The supremacy of constitution is vital to protect the fundamental rights of citizens. Collaborative efforts need to be undertaken to ensure the rule of law, equality of citizenship, freedom of expression, merit and the independence of the judiciary to guarantee the provision of fundamental rights.

This was resolved by the participants at the roundtable dialogue organized by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), Inter-University Consortium for the Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan (IUCPSS) and Centre of Civic Education Pakistan (CCEP) at Preston University Islamabad.

The event was organized in connection with   International Human Rights Day 2017 which was attended by diplomats, academicians, media representatives and members of the civil society.

In his introductory remarks, IUCPSS National Coordinator, Muhammad Murtaza Noor stated that the constitution is considered as a social contract between the state and its citizens.  In Pakistan, fundamental rights are enshrined in the 1973 constitution as the entire first chapter of the constitution contains articles regarding fundamental rights from the articles 8 to 28. It further states that adequate provisions shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities, backward and depressed classes.

Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association President Dr Shehzad Ashraf underlined the importance of academic freedom at university campuses and the effective implementation of constitutional clauses related to the protection of the fundamental rights of citizens.

Khalid Sulehri stated that social media has revolutionized the right of expression and information. He emphasized over extending support and standing for the rights of others, especially for the weak segments of society against the injustice, inequalities, discrimination and human right violations.

NCHR Member Chaudhary Muhammad Shafique shed light on the history of human rights and the main function of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR). He was of the view that all the human rights documents including the last address by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the charter of medina were based on two main principles of equality and dignity.

“There is a dire need to include the essence and main articles related to human rights agreements in the curriculum at all tiers of education,” he said.

In his concluding remarks, anchorperson and columnist Matiullah Jan said that the media has a vital role to protect the fundamental rights and promote democratic values among the leadership and citizens. He said that it should be the media’s foremost duty to highlight issues related to human rights and other violations in the society.

The participants of the unanimous of the view that effective functioning of existing institutions i.e. the judiciary, the Functional Committee on Human Rights constituted by the Senate of Pakistan, the National Commission for Human Rights and the Human Rights Cell of Supreme Court of Pakistan could be greatly helpful in improving the state of human rights in Pakistan.