HRCP is a member-based organization, with an elected council, a number of office-bearers and a secretariat. The highest organ of HRCP is the general body comprising all members. The general body meets at least once every year. The executive authority of the organization vests in the Council that is elected every three years. The Council elects the organization’s office-bearers – Chairperson, not more than five Vice-Chairpersons, a Secretary General and a Treasurer. No office holder in government or a political party (at the national or provincial level) can be an office-bearer of HRCP. The Council meets at least twice every year. Besides monitoring human rights violations and seeking redress through public campaigns, lobbying and intervention in courts, HRCP organizes seminars, workshops and fact-finding missions. It also issues a quarterly Newsletter in English that comes out in January, April, July and October, monthly Jehd-i-Haq in Urdu, Sindhi, Pushto and Baluchi-Brahvi languages, and an annual report on the state of human rights in the country, both in English and Urdu.
HRCP office-bearers 2005-2008 are:
Chairperson Asma Jahangir
Secretary General Syed Iqbal Haider
Treasurer Shahid Kardar
Hina Jillani (Punjab)
Zahoor Ahmad Shahwani (Balochistan)
Zohra Yusuf (Sindh)
Kamran Arif (NWFP)
HRCP Secretariat is headed by its Director I.A. Rehman. The main office of the secretariat is in Lahore, and branch offices are in Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta. A Special Task Force is located in Hyderabad (Sindh) and another in Multan (Punjab). HRCP also runs a Centre for Democratic Development in Islamabad, and is supported by correspondents and activists across the country.
Membership: HRCP now has a countrywide membership. It has not been as keen on expanding its enrolment as on its members’ coming with an obvious commitment to the cause. The membership fee has been small out of consideration for the common citizens who, it was thought, most needed to be attracted to the movement. But the well-to-do members have been encouraged to contribute as much as they could. The general body has met once every year to take general stock of the human rights situation in the country, to receive the year’s performance and audit reports of the Commission, and to debate and vote on issues placed before it or raised by its members. Every three years it has elected a new Council.
Council: The strength of the Council can vary between 31 to 51 members. It is elected for a three-year tenure. Care has been taken that all the provinces are sufficiently represented and that there is also an appropriate presence on the governing body of women and the religious minorities. The Council meets twice every year to examine the Commission’s performance of the previous six months and to approve of the programme for the next six months. It also through its resolutions draws attention to any issues of current concern and proposed action.
Affiliation: Although HRCP formed information exchange relationship with several international human rights organizations, it agreed to formal affiliation only with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). It also became a member of the French-based International Federation of Human Rights (IFDH) and a coalition of Asian NGOs, Forum Asia.
Funding: HRCP’s finances came principally from local sources through subscriptions and donations. A third source has been developed on an ad hoc project-by-project basis. The partners in this category come from Norway (NORAD), Germany (FNF) Netherlands (ICCO), Canada (CIDA and ICHRD) and Sweden (SIDA).. HRCP took a decision early on that it would accept no aid that may be interpreted as compromising its independence. So superpower sources were foreclosed from the start and HRCP had to thankfully decline such offers.