LAHORE: A people’s commission for the protection of minorities’ rights was formed on Thursday with Peter Jacob as its chairperson, and veteran human rights activist I A Rehman as its patron-in-chief.
The body comprises people from different religious communities, human rights activists, and people from the law and academics sectors. Its aim is to facilitate the federal and provincial governments to make progress on constitutional guarantees, in particular, the articles related to religious freedom, rights and interests of minorities, removing backwardness, international obligations, and monitoring the implementation of the 2014 directives of the Supreme Court, reported local media.
“This voluntary commission will be committed to upholding rights of those people treated or declared as the minorities; however, it will be all-inclusive in pursuing equality and in fighting out religious discrimination,” said Rehman.
Sikh community activist, Kalyan Singh, said: “We urge the government to correct the misguided policies, supporting inequality of rights and foster a culture of social and religious harmony”.
Peter Jacob said that with rising intolerance in society, there was an urgent need of such a commission to protect minorities’ rights. He said though the Supreme Court had given orders in June 2014 for the establishment of a National Council for Minorities, the successive governments had not worked on it.
The members of the commission include retired Justice Kailash Nath Kohli, retired Justice Nasira Iqbal, Wajahat Masood, Dr. A H Nayyar, Dr. Khalid Masud, Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, Dr Fr Bonnie Mendes, Dr Rubina Feroze Bhatti, M Parkash (advocate), Saroop Ijaz (advocate), Saqib Jillani (advocate), Asiya Nasir (former parliamentarian), Karamat Ali, Rubina Messy and Cecil Shane Chaudhry.