Political will needed to make real difference in social development, UN envoy tells PM

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanthem Pillay called on Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday, and told him that political will was needed to make a difference in the real sense by thwarting the tendencies detrimental to social development.
The UN envoy also praised Gilani for his “zero tolerance policy” against terrorism and extremist. She also lauded the legislations enacted by Gilani’s government in empowering women, minorities and the poor segments of the society. The establishment of an independent human rights commission in the recent past is a major step forward to improve the human rights situation in the country, she added. Pillay said that democratic reforms in Pakistan were encouraging and expressed the hope that the state institutions would function in a way to strengthen democracy on durable basis. She also expressed concerns over life threats to Asma Jahangir, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, adding that she was satisfied to know that federal government had taken immediate steps to enhance Asma’s security. Gilani paid rich tributes to the leadership of Nelson Mandela as one of the greatest champions of human rights under whose leadership South Africa got rid of apartheid.
Gilani said that his government had established the National Commission on Women, passed scores of pro-women legislative measures, such as Anti-Women Practices Bill, and Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010 etc, besides setting up Women Crisis Centres, Women in Distress Relief Fund and empowerment of the minorities. Gilani also referred to the violations of human rights committed by India in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir, besides raising the issue of drone strikes, which kill innocent people, including children and women. Separately, while talking to a delegation of parliamentarians from Rawalpindi, Gilani said the opposition had not learnt from history and was repeating the same attitude inside the parliament and outside. He said that the opposition was making itself a laughing stock in the eyes of the people as they had no case to put forward in parliament and therefore, had resorted to hooliganism which was a “glaring negation of established parliamentary practices”. The members of the delegation included Minister for Information and Technology Raja Pervez Ashraf, Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Chairperson Farzana Raja, Rukhsana Bangish, Mehreen Anwer Raja and Fauzia Habib.