President, PM reiterate resolve to uphold basic human rights


President Asif Ali Zardari has reiterated the resolve of the government to uphold basic human rights of all individuals regardless of caste, creed or any other consideration.
In a message on the occasion of the Universal Human Rights Day, observed the world over on December 10th every year, the President said respect for human rights is basic to our religion – Islam- which teaches us deep respect for rights of all human beings. It upholds the eternal values of equal rights, social justice and peace, and banishes discrimination on the basis of class, color or creed.
President Zardari said our leaders and people have suffered hugely in the struggle to ensure the basic right to the people to live in security and dignity. Indeed our leader Shaheed Mohtarma Bhutto laid down her life for the cause. While returning to Pakistan from exile in October 2007 despite dangers to her life she said she was doing it “for the right of men and women to live in security and dignity and in liberty”, he said.
The President said the score card of the present government with regard to signing and ratifying human rights convention is commendable. Of the nine core international human rights conventions, the government has ratified or signed seven. Three important international human rights conventions pertaining to ending torture, ensuring civil and political rights of citizens without discrimination and the rights of the disabled were not only signed but also ratified during the tenure of the present democratic government. It is an impressive record indeed.
He expressed the confidence that after having signed and ratified, the government is also taking appropriate steps for the implementation of these conventions.
The President emphasized that let us on this day also spare a thought to the vulnerable sections of society particularly the women and minorities. Let us pause and reflect how some laws have been misused against them.
He called upon every man and woman of conscience to raise voice against the misuse of some laws against the women and minorities.
The Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in his message said the Day provides us an opportunity to take stock of the state of human rights and spread its awareness. This year, the spotlight remains on rights of all people including women, youth, persons with disabilities, minorities and the marginalized.
He said a progressive, balanced and just society is the one, which ensures that rights of all of its citizens are safeguarded through political, legal, economic, cultural and social instruments and frameworks. For any state to achieve durable peace and foster democracy, it is imperative that it puts in place mechanism aimed at ensuring that rights of the people are protected, he said.
The Prime Minister said Government of Pakistan is committed to upholding the rights of its people. The establishment of a separate Ministry of Human Rights in 2008 at the federal level represents the government’s resolve to mainstream the human rights agenda into public policy.
He said women, children and marginalized sections of society are more vulnerable to exploitation. The government has, therefore, undertaken key legal, economic and administrative reforms for women empowerment in line with the vision of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. In addition to increasing the women job quota in the public sector, the government has enacted legislation to end women’s harassment and exploitation, and restore their rights in accordance with law and religious teachings. The appointment of Women Ombudsperson is yet another initiative to address problems of the working women.
The Prime Minister said a few days ago, he approved a proposal for appointment of human rights defenders to provide easy, quick and free relief to victims of human rights abuses. In accord with constitutional provisions, Parliament passed a landmark bill on National Commission for Human Rights into law this year aimed at improving the human rights conditions by doing away with instances which promote violation of human rights.
He said the recent passage of ‘Right to Free Compulsory Education’ for children between ages of 5 and 16 has made the provision of free education a responsibility of the government.
Raja Pervez Ashraf said Pakistan, being a responsible state, is fully cognizant of its regional and international commitments and pledged to remain committed to human rights agenda. The protection of human rights for all is a prerequisite for establishment of a civilized and progressive society.He reiterated to leave no stone unturned to make this happen.
Advisor to the Prime Minister on Human Rights Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar in his message said assured that the present government is fully committed to implement the Human Rights agenda by protecting rights of its citizens. He asked the civil society and all stake holders to come forward and play their role in realizing the dream of making Pakistan a country free from abuse and exploitation and violence against women.