Babar for ending prisons like Guantanamo in Pakistan

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by Asim Yasin & Myra Imran

ISLAMABAD: Senator Farhatullah Babar Tuesday called for ending Guantanamo Bay like prisons in Pakistan and said that Fata and parts of Balochistan have become black holes and honest answers must be given to questions about internment centres.

“The Fata black hole is also linked to the state’s Afghan policy which must be revisited as part of the human rights agenda,” Babar said while speaking at an event organised by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) at the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) to commemorate the Human Rights Day.

Babar said the ideology brigade has prevented free discussion on misapplication of faith-related laws. The senator said human rights are threatened by succumbing to the rule of mob as was seen in the recent Faizabad dharna. “Something profound happened on that day. The state and society surrendered. A dangerous template was created to reject rule of law as guarantor of human rights,” he said.

He said the politics of hate and intolerance triumphed over human rights and on that day Pakistan ceased to be the country it was until a few days before. “In one brief page of surrender document, the discourse on human rights was fundamentally and dangerously altered,” he said, adding that one hopes that we will take it as a serious setback and not allow it to become the norm.

Babar said freedom of expression is also intertwined with civil-military relations. He called for a bipartisan parliamentary committee for democratic accountability of foreign and security policies.

“The impunity with whichviolence against media persons and human rights defenders is committed must be ended as well as the charade of accusing the NGOs of pursuing foreign agendas without offering any proof,” he said.

He said right to life was also undermined by a broken criminal justice system and arbitrariness in application of death sentence. “Right to freedom of expression is fountain of all freedoms which has come under attack from the state and non-state actors alike,” he said.

Babar said Pakistan progressed in legislation and establishment of mechanisms for the implementation of human rights guaranteed in the Constitution and committed in international agreements. “But on the other hand, the incidents of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances constantly remind us of the gaps that need to be filled for implementation of human rights in letter and spirit,” he said.

Human rights icon IA Rehman talked about the rights guaranteed in the Constitution and in Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “But we have many complaints with the United Nations as it failed to give justice to Palestinians and Kashmiris,” he said. He advised youth to struggle for change with argument and persuasions instead of adopting violent means.

Federal Minister for Human Rights Mumtaz Ahmed Tarar talked about the efforts of the government in ensuring human rights for each and every person in the country. He said the government had taken a number of legislative measures to strengthen institutional mechanism. He said terrorism and prevailing law and order situation have affected the whole country and called for joint efforts to deal with the situation.

Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan Jean-François Cautain called for joint efforts for protection of the rights of individuals including children and women. He also briefed the audience about the status of Pakistan in the perspective of GSP Plus.Courtesy The News

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