Parliament strengthening rights of citizens: Ayaz Sadiq

ISLAMABAD, Oct 24 (APP): Speaker National Assembly Sardar
Ayaz Sadiq said the Parliament of Pakistan was actively engaged in
further strengthening the rights of citizens in the country.

Speaking at the 135th General Assembly of the Inter Parliamentary Union Assembly Geneva, he said the creation of an independent National Commission on the Status of Women and a National Commission on Human Rights through acts of Parliament were
major achievements.

Over past ten years, the parliament has enacted around two dozens bills to safeguard the rights of women and children, he added.

The Speaker said the presence of an all parties Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, consisting of 87 women parliamentarians, has ensured a balanced gender perspective in the legislative work of the Parliament.

However, legislation alone cannot prevent violations of rights if society at large is not made aware of the protection offered by laws and if the laws are not effectively enforced, he added.

“Accordingly, we have established a comprehensive Human Rights
Action Plan that focuses on access to justice, strengthening human
rights institutions, human rights education, and implementation of
UN Treaties and Conventions. An array of specific measures has been
taken to operationalize this plan.”

He said these measures include the launching of a dedicated, free of cost helpline for legal advice on human rights violations, and the establishment of funds to provide financial relief to victims of human rights violations.

At the international level Pakistan has ratified seven core international human right treaties.

“We are also fully engaged in various human rights fora in developing, monitoring and implementing international human rights norms. This reflects Pakistan’s commitment to international human rights standards.”

He said gross violations of human rights are occurring in every part of the world.

Ominously, situations of human rights violations are spiraling into outright conflict within and between countries.

“We, as parliamentarians, have an obligation to ensure that the cycle of human rights violations and conflicts is broken.”

“Most importantly, we need to ensure delivery of the fundamental rights of people, as enshrined in every democratic country’s constitution.”
Sardar Ayaz said if parliaments failed in this primary task then outright violations of rights were inevitable and conflicts become unavoidable.

“A basic truth bears repetition. Peace cannot prevail without addressing the discrimination and violence too often unleashed against people demanding their just and natural rights.”

He said, “In our part of the world, peace is imperiled by the violence unleashed against the people of Indian Occupied State of Jammu and Kashmir.”

“The people of Occupied Kashmir have been under general curfew. Since July this year, more than 150 people have been killed in cold blood by the Indian occupation forces.”

The indiscriminate and reprehensible use of pellet guns on unarmed protestor has left over 800 blind. And the people of Kashmir
have been placed under a general curfew for more than a hundred
days,” he added.

The entire leadership of the Kashmiri people was incarcerated under inhumane conditions. A prominent Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik is in a critical condition, he continued.

The Speaker said the only crime of the Kashmiris was their just
and consistent demand for their right to self determination, which
was enshrined in a number of the United Nations Security Council

India remains in continued violation of these resolutions which unequivocally call for holding a plebiscite under UN auspices
to ascertain the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

The UN Human Rights Commissioner has expressed grave concern
over the human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

He has twice called for sending a fact finding mission to Indian Occupied Kashmir only to be rebuffed by an intransigent Indian government.
The member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, OIC’s Independent Human Rights Commission and the Parliamentary
Union of Islamic countries have also forthrightly condemned Indian
atrocities and called for sending a fact finding mission to IOK.

Again, these calls have been willfully ignored by India.

“The people in Indian Occupied Kashmir look to this forum to help end the repression and violence that they continue to face. It is imperative that we do not fail them,” he added.

He said it was our duty as representatives of peoples to condemn gross human rights violations and agree upon tangible measures to urgently stop violations by the perpetrators.

This holds specially true when powerful state authorities engage in violations of human rights and repress people demanding +their fundamental rights, as was happening so tragically in Indian
Occupied Kashmir, he added.