Lahore, February 25: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed disgust and alarm at the introduction of restrictions by Islamabad for Pakistanis traveling to India, coming into effect from March 15, and called the move contrary to basic human rights and a bid to put the clock back.
A statement issued by HRCP on Friday said: “According to an official statement, the government has made the decision to regulate visits abroad of public servants, artists and journalists ‘in the interest of Pakistan’s security and to safeguard the country’s prestige’. The government has also said that the rule will apply to students going abroad on scholarship. Ridiculous decisions such as this are precisely why the security and prestige of the country are where they are. Not only is the decision bound to be counterproductive in a region where the people have long suffered because of the iron curtain that regional borders have become, but the mandatory requirement to obtain no-objection certificate from the Interior Ministry before being allowed to travel abroad also violates basic human rights, particularly provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
While a good many other measures may be in order to restore the prestige of the country, the curbs on international travel are bound to further dent it. HRCP urges the government to reconsider the move instead of misinterpreting any single incident to put the clock back.”
Dr Mehdi Hasan