Role of Parliament must not diminish, HRCP condemns restrictions on free expression

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LAHORE (ENNS) The Council of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said in its statement issued on concluding of biannual
“We are seriously concerned by the government’s recent attempts to undermine the political opposition. There are alarming signs that the role of Parliament is receding: this is evident from the government’s attempts to rule by ordinance”.
The recently promulgated KP Actions (in Aid of Civil Power) Ordinance 2019 not only curtails certain fundamental rights, but it also runs contrary to democratic principles.

“The government must take prompt steps to implement the Supreme Court’s 2014 judgment to protect the rights of religious minorities. Our reports show that Pakistan’s religious minorities remain vulnerable to faith-based discrimination and to the misuse of the blasphemy laws” it further added.
The statement adds “HRCP’s recent fact-finding missions reveal that the practice of enforced disappearances is still being used as a means of coercion by state actors. There is an urgent need for legislation to criminalise enforced disappearances so that perpetrators are held accountable in a systematic and effective way”.

‘The surge in recent cases of child abuse points to the increasing brutalisation of society. Children are among the most vulnerable groups, and both the state and society must take responsibility for protecting them.

On behalf of it’s Chairperson Dr Mehdi Hasan, the satament adds “We condemn any measures by the state to curtail freedom of expression or to fragment the media through the introduction of media tribunals.

‘We strongly urge the state to grant Gilgit-Baltistan provincial status and to ensure that its people have access to all the same fundamental rights as other citizens of Pakistan.

‘We are perturbed by the resurgence of religious extremism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the form of the KP government’s distribution of burqas among female students. Such moves are blatant attempts to restrict women’s freedoms and a deliberate attempt to promote Talibanisation.

‘Rather than investing more in healthcare and education, the government appears to be diverting resources away from these sectors. We remind the government that the state has a constitutional duty to provide its citizens with access to education and a moral duty to take all possible steps to provide acceptable levels of healthcare across the country.
‘We are deeply alarmed by the lockdown in Kashmir by the Indian government – which has produced a human rights crisis – and the subsequent war rhetoric emanating from both sides of the border. Both India and Pakistan must recognise immediately that the people of Kashmir have the right to self-determination and that both countries have a duty to protect and promote regional peace.

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