Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) in collaboration with Democracy Reporting International (DRI) and SUBAI Pakistan organized a two-day Inter Parliamentary Workshop on “Protection and Promotion of Human Rights: The Role of Provincial Assemblies” on December 4th & 5th, 2018 at PIPS Campus Islamabad.
The event was attended by Honorable Members and Secretariat Officers of the Provincial and Legislative Assemblies of Pakistan. The programme began with the recitation of Holy Quran, followed by welcome speech by the Executive Director PIPS, Mr. Zafarullah Khan. Welcoming remark were given by Country Representative DRI, Mr. Javed Malik and Team Leader SUBAI, Mr. Christopher Shields. Director General PDP & IT PIPS, Ms. Samer Awais shared the Program overview and conducted a round of introductions which was preceded by inaugural speech by the Honourable Chief Guest, Dr. Shireen Mehrunnisa Mazari, Minister of Human Rights who stressed on the importance of timely implementation of legislation. She talked about the contradictions found in specific articles of the Constitution of Pakistan and certain laws regarding the age of child which have to be looked upon to comply with the provisions of International Convention on the Child Rights. She felt privileged that unlike some western states, Pakistan allowed its non-Muslim citizens to exercise their rights on personal issues within the State. She also talked about missing persons issue and stressed on resolving the matter legally.
The first session of the day was on “Understanding Fundamental Rights in the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.” Executive Director PIPS, Mr. Zafarullah Khan differentiated human rights from fundamental rights and discussed the three generations of human right. He further talked about human rights framework of federal, provincial and legislative units. The session was then preceded by a lecture on “International Human Rights Mechanisms and Pakistan’s Obligations” by Vice Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Mr. Kamran Arif. This session was later joined by Country Representative Human Rights Watch, Mr. Saroop Ijaz, who spoke about Legal Framework of Human Rights at National and Provincial level in Pakistan. The day ended with a panel discussion on the Overview of Institutional Framework facilitated by Chairperson Commission on the Status of Women, Ms. Fauzia Viqar and Member NCHR, Chaudhry Mohammad Shafique.
Day two of the National Workshop commenced with a discussion on “Role of Members in Promotion of Human Rights” by Honourable former Senator, Mr. Afrasiab Khattak. Last session of the day was facilitated by Mr. Zafarullah Khan on “Using Parliamentary Oversight Tools for protection and promotion of human rights. The workshop concluded with a vote of Thanks by the Executive Director PIPS, Mr. Zafarullah Khan.