ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Farhatullah Babar has warned the government against any attempt to “falsify” human rights situation in Pakistan at the United Nations review meeting beginning in Geneva (Switzerland).
Talking to newsman, Mr Babar said that Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif was heading a 14-member delegation at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) meeting of the UN where he was due “to present and defend” the national report on the human rights situation in the country.
At the UPR meeting, member states will present national reports of human rights situation in their countries and also explain the measures taken to implement the promises made at previous review meetings.
Mr Babar said that at the previous review some five years ago, held during the PPP government’s tenure, Pakistan had agreed to criminalise enforced disappearances but the report was silent on this issue.
“It will be best to make a categorical announcement at the review moot that enforced disappearances will be criminalised before the end of the year,” he suggested.
Similarly, Mr Babar said, the claim that blasphemy laws were non-discriminatory and that no one had been punished under it was “patently false”. “It will be honest to admit that the fair and just implementation of blasphemy laws presents challenges that the state is trying to address,” he added.
Calling upon the government to present the true picture of the human rights situation in Pakistan at the UN review meeting, the PPP senator said this year for the first time the newly-constituted National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) and independent bodies would be present at the review conference.
Therefore, he said, any falsification would be far more difficult than in the past. “It should also be borne in mind that our international trade particularly with the European Union (EU) also hinges on our human rights record,” he said.
Earlier, in a statement issued from the PPP Media Centre, Mr Babar said that on the eve of review by the UN of the human rights situation in Pakistan “it is a grim thought that citizens’ rights have been dangerously abridged by both state and non-state actors in the country”.
Warning against falsifying human rights situation in the country, he said the international community would be sympathetic towards any shortcomings in view of the challenges “we face but it will never condone if we tell downright lies at the review”.
The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily