HRCP demands urgent focus on real issues

Lahore, October 17: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed concern over accelerating deterioration in the state of affairs in the country and urged the government to return to the task of governance and address the problems of the people.

A statement issued at the conclusion of the HRCP Council on Sunday said: “The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan expresses serious concern at the aggravation of the crisis of the state, caused primarily by a confrontation between institutions driven by insecurity or by self-righteousness. The entire government seems to have suffered a paralysis at a time when it faces the challenge of rehabilitating millions of people affected by floods, of saving the economy from collapse, and of guaranteeing the citizens security of life and liberty.

The tasks that demand immediate attention include the revival of the local government system, the lack of which contributed to the increased loss of life and property in floods, evaluation of the effect the measures aimed at ending a sense of alienation in Balochistan have had so far, addressing the needs of the internally displaced persons and the tribal people, efforts to curb extremism and intolerance and protection of religious minorities.

Target killings in Balochistan remain a cause of serious concern, as does the fact that the creation of a commission on enforced disappearances does not seem to have satisfied the legitimate desire by families of the disappeared for early resolution of the matter, necessitating a review of the whole system. HRCP is alarmed at the continued political violence in Karachi, the complete inability of the state to hold anyone responsible for repeated waves of target killings in the city, and the increasing difficulty in holding any election in Karachi.

HRCP warns that disappearances have increased in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and that in Balochistan at least 11 dead bodies of missing persons have been recovered in the last six months. HRCP regrets that the case of enforced disappearances in the Supreme Court has not been given the priority it deserves.

2010 has been a difficult year for religious minorities in Pakistan. The government must take meaningful measures to curb promotion of faith-based hatred and violence, and afford adequate protection to communities that face specific threats.

HRCP expresses serious concern at the continuing militarisation of society and glut of weapons in the country. It urges across the board de-weaponisation and demands that efforts to counter the extremist militancy in the country must desist from outsourcing law and order responsibilities to the local communities. HRCP also demands an end to impunity for perpetrators of the so-called political violence across the country, a euphemism for intermittent waves of killings of people.

The unprecedented wave of terrorism sweeping across the country not only highlights the need for efficient policing by civilian security forces but also for promotion of counter-narratives to intolerance and preaching of hatred and bigotry in society.
It is high time that the government put in place a consistent and well thought out plan on internal displacement after open consultation, in order to ensure that the catastrophe visited on the dislocated population is not aggravated by official negligence or exclusion of the affected communities from the decisions that affect their lives.

HRCP also calls upon all state institutions to respect their responsibilities and limits within the basic law and cooperate in pulling the country from the brink, or else they will have nothing left to fight over.

Finally, HRCP calls upon the NGOs and civil society in general to accept their responsibility, discard their state of indifference and passivity and mobilise people to save their rights because there can be no order without constant vigilance.”
Dr. Mehdi Hasan
On behalf of HRCP Council members


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