Women Distress and Detention Fund to be functional soon: Special Assistant

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 13 (APP): Special Assistant to the Prime Minister  on Human Rights (HR) Barrister Zaffar Ullah has said that the Women Distress and  Detention Fund would be functional soon to help out imprisoned women.

The fund, currently having an amount of around Rs 46.6 million, was established in 1996 but remained dysfunctional because of the changing status of the Human Rights Wing, which was first made a ministry from a division and then a wing.

Barrister Zafar Ullah told APP that after reattaining the status of HR Ministry, the required legislation would be made and the Fund would be soon functional.

A ‘Child Rights Commission’, which had been also under consideration  for long, would also be set up soon to secure rights of the future generation, he said, adding that the Juvenile Ordinance System Reform was also on the agenda of the government.

Replying to a query regarding the functioning of National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR), he said the building for the Commission’s office on Margalla Road was being renovated.”Three rooms have been renovated while work on others is underway,” he said.

He said steps were being taken to finalize the salary structure of NCHR employees.

Barrister Zaffar Ullah said a new human rights policy with a plan of action would be announced soon. “For the first time in the country’s history a comprehensive plan of action for the implementation of the HR policy within a specified timeframe would be announced.”

He said the policy would focus on three key areas. Firstly, protection of rights of human beings according to the teachings of Islam would be ensured as the religion emphasized on securing rights of the vulnerable on priority.
Secondly, the provision of fundamental rights to every citizen of the country without any discrimination would be ensured. Sections 8 to 28 of the Constitution addressed rights of the people which should be implemented properly, he added.

Thirdly, he said, the policy would encompass a number of international treaties and conventions to safeguard rights of the people, which had been ratified by Pakistan.

Barrister Zafar Ullah said restructuring of the HR Ministry had been initiated. New wings would be set up to help protect rights of the marganalized segments of society, especially women, children, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, minorities etc.

He said professionals would be hired for new wings to work exclusively for safeguarding the rights of the people. The focus would be on building a professional and expert human resource as bureaucratic system would not be encouraged in the new set-up.

He said a ‘Law Reforms Committee’ had already been constituted which would follow legislative bills from initial stages to the the last for speedy law making process in the best interest of the people.