- The HRCP is concerned about the alarming polarization of political discourse, resulting from economic instability and rising inflation.
- The HRCP calls for a non-partisan consensus on the critical issues facing the country.
- Press freedom is constantly challenged and journalists are constantly targeted, observes the HRCP.
LAHORE: Expressing concern over the alarming polarization of political discourse, the resulting economic instability, rising inflation and the threat of food insecurity, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan ( HRCP) on Saturday called for a non-partisan consensus on critical issues facing countries.
Following its biannual meeting, the HRCP Board highlighted several serious human rights issues facing the population, including the impact of climate change evident in the recent glacial floods in Gilgit- Baltistan, the ongoing heatwave in Punjab and severe water shortages in Sindh and Balochistan leading to provincial disputes, displacement and loss of livelihoods.
“Punjab, the largest province in the country, remains in a political vacuum,” the meeting also observed.
He noted worsening cases of police brutality against peaceful protesters across Pakistan, with arrests of activists and political workers accused of being anti-state becoming a common feature.
Freedom of press
“Press freedom is under constant pressure and journalists have been persistently targeted,” reads the statement issued by the HRCP.
The commission urged the state to respect people’s rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly instead of retaliating with unwarranted violence.
The HRCP has drawn the attention of the government to the fact that there is no respite in the cases of enforced disappearances, especially in Balochistan, Sindh and KP.
Violence against women
Violence against women and transgender people shows no sign of abating, the meeting noted. Religious and sectarian minorities remain vulnerable, with incidents such as the mob lynchings in Sialkot and Mian Channu becoming more frequent.
The HRCP called on the state to curb the rise of religious extremism and grant the National Commission for Minorities statutory status in light of the Supreme Court’s 2014 Tassaduq Jillani ruling so that it can fulfill its functions.
He welcomed the passage of the Sindh Student Unions Bill and the decisions to suspend the establishment of the PDMA and conduct a review of the PECA.
However, seats on various parliamentary committees remain vacant since the vote of no confidence, while the NCHR and NCSW are underfunded and therefore not fully functional, he noted.
The HRCP also demanded that the state accede to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, and enact refugee rights legislation.