HRCP annual general meeting: Asma Jehangir, Iqbal Haider elected new chairperson, secretary
LAHORE: A number of issues concerning the national situation and the crisis of governance were discussed at the annual general meeting of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Sunday.
The HRCP governing body also elected new office-bearers for the year 2005-2007. Asma Jehangir and Iqbal Haider were elected the HRCP chairperson and secretary general, while Shahid Kardar was elected the treasurer.
Zahoor Ahmed Shawani (Balochistan), Zohra Yusuf (Sindh), Kamran Arif (NWFP) and Hina Jilani (Punjab) were elected provincial vice chairpersons. The council members from the four provinces are Surriya Ahmed, Rahila Durrani, Zahoor Ahmed Shawani, Tahir Hussain Khan, Malik Adeel Mengal and Habib Tahir from Balochistan. Afrasiab Khattak, Mussarat Hilali and Kamran Arif from Sindh. Asma Jehangir, Hina Jilani, Salima Hashmi, Dr Mubashar Hasan, Dr Mehdi Hasan, Air Marshall Zafar Chaudhry, Shahtaj Qizalbash, Shahid Kardar, Nadeem Antony and Attiqur Rehman from Punjab. Syed Iqbal Haider, Zohra Yusuf, Uzma Nooran, Rochi Ram, Parveen Soomro, Ali Hassan, Jam Saqi, Ronald de Souza, Ghazi Salahuddin, Amarnath Motu Mal, Asad Iqbal Butt and Adil Pathan were elected for Sindh.
The HRCP issued a statement on the following lines.
Plight of people: The HRCP said that at least 900 people committed suicide every year over the past three years because of unemployment and poverty. Inflation, poor governance, lack of justice, lack of housing and the absence of a social safety net of any kind for the poor contributed to the misery of the people.
Budgetary allocations need to be remedied and more money should be directed to social services, including education, health, sanitation and the provision of safe drinking water, it added.
Violence against women: Mukhtaran Mai and Dr Shazia are the recent victims of violence against women. Over 1,000 women are made victims of honour killings every year while cases of rape are also on the rise.
Balochistan: The HRCP warned that any military operation in Balochistan would deteriorate the situation in the province and would put national integrity and the security of the people at risk. It demanded that the siege on Dera Bugti be ended immediately.
Transparency in governance: The HRCP demanded that all the workings of the government be made transparent and full information about national projects be provided. Judicial independence: State interference in judicial matters should be stopped because it erodes the public’s faith in the judiciary system.
Return to democracy: It demanded that civil rule be restored in the country and the military relinquish its role in national politics.
FATA: It demanded that the Political Parties Act be enforced in Federally Administrative Traibal Areas.