KARACHI: Human rights and labor rights activists today demanded the government to get recovered or released all the missing persons on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr so they could celebrate this occasion with the families.
Addressing a joint press conference at Karachi Press Club the rights activists said that since August 2017 over 154 persons are missing only in Sindh, who were allegedly picked up from various areas of the province. According to data on Sindh Police’s website over 600 people from Sindh are missing.
“The Constitution’s Article 10-A provides every citizen the right to fair trial and due process,” said Zulfiqar Shah, Joint Director of Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research (PILER). As human rights activists, we demand the state institutions, federal and Sindh government to release all people in their custody. We demand to produce all people with criminal charges in the courts and provide them opportunity for fair trial, he added.
Shah said PILER had organized a two-day National Conference on Human Rights and Labor Rights in which the leading human rights and labor rights speakers expressed serious concern over the deteriorating conditions of Human Rights and Labor Rights in Pakistan and called upon the Federal and the Provincial Governments to take practical measures to ensure provision and protection of fundamental rights, as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan and committed by the State under various international Conventions, including Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Conventions of International Labor Organisation (ILO).
The Speakers at the conference were also of the view that enforced disappearance and custodial torture are two brutal faces of the denial of the Right to Fair Trial, and represent the failure of the justice system. In Pakistan, there is no law on torture, nor is Enforced Disappearance recognized as a crime.
Shah pointed out that participants expressed their serious concern over the worst condition of fundamental freedoms in Pakistan.
In recent times, the Government of Pakistan’s aggressive approach towards NGOs, laced with prejudice and distrust has resulted in the abrupt closure of NGOs operations, harassment of their staff, malignant propaganda against them and the use of non-state actors to intimidate them.
This is totally against the Right to Association enshrined in the constitution, not to mention ICCPR and other international obligations that Pakistan is a signatory to.
Freedom of Expression is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan. Unfortunately, this right is in regress in Pakistan, reflected in increased censorship, harassment of media persons and outlets, and aggressive laws directed at the media, including internet and cyberspace.
Participants of the conference noted that the European Union (EU) has offered Pakistan trade incentive scheme General Scheme of Preferences (GSP) – Plus, which is a window of opportunity for stronger mechanisms and systems realizing rights. The 27 Conventions in the scheme holistically cover major sections of rights, including human rights, labor rights, human rights for women, environment, and ecology, and governance.
Pakistan has recently been reviewed second time for the status, by the EU. The EU review report released early this year (January 2018) notes gaps in the effective implementation of conventions related to GSP +.
He said the report has particularly noted with a concern the continuation of the policy of capital punishment in the backdrop of a weak justice system, enforced disappearances and custodial torture, in addition to the blasphemy laws, compromise access to justice for the accused.
Senior trade union leader Habibuddin Junaidi underlined the need to undertake serious efforts to remove obstacles in the way of unionization in the country that stands at only one percent of the total labor force.
These obstacles include exclusionary laws, poorly performing institutions, including NIRC and labor judiciary, and a non-serious attitude of the state towards the issue, not to mention employers’ reluctance to support unionization.
It is strongly suggested that tripartite systems, dialogue and revisit of legislation, on top of institutional reforms be undertaken to increase unionization in the country.
Junaidi said the major concerns of conference’s participants were non-implementation of labor rights. Senior labor leader Liaquat Sahi, who is the central leader of State Bank of Pakistan Democratic Workers Union said Supreme Court of Pakistan has recently declared the contract labor as illegal and unconstitutional and ordered to provide regular employment to all employees.
There is worst situation of child labor, modern slavery, deficits in Operational Health and Safety, the absence of labor laws in the agriculture sector, and poor access to social security for workers.
He said Social Security Coverage must be expanded by focusing on implementing appointment letter provision under Standing Orders, and enhancing outreach to the so-called informal workforce.
Minimum wages need to be consistent with the concept of the living wages, which is equivalent to Rs 30,000, in accordance with the cost of living and inflation in 2018.
The conference demanded the provincial governments fix the minimum wage in accordance with the living wages of any given year.
Those who also spoke on the occasion included Mahnaz Rahman, Resident Director of Aurat Foundation and Shaikh Manzoor.
Anti-polio campaign to start in Karachi from today
KARACHI: Mass immunization campaigns, known as National Immunization Days (NIDs), would be started from today to administer anti-polio drops along with the supplement of Vitamin A to over 2.3 million children up to five years of age in all 188 union councils in the metropolis during seven days.
More than 9000 polio teams will perform their duties in the campaign, it was decided in a meeting chaired by Commissioner Karachi Muhammad Sualeh Farooqui, at his office, said a statement on Sunday. Briefing about security arrangements it was told the meeting that foolproof security arrangements have been made to ensure the security of polio teams. The meeting was attended among others by Municipal Commissioner KMC Dr. Saifur Rehman, all Deputy commissioners, all district and town health officers, officials of Police, Pakistan Rangers, Health
Department, Emergency Operation Centres (EOC). The Commissioner stressed the need to work with the focus based strategies addressing issues specifically in all areas. He said that there is a great need to work for the improvement of micro plan and communication strategy. He asked the Deputy Commissioners to make all-out efforts to make the campaign result oriented. He urged the parents to cooperate with the polio teams to ensure their children are safe as a vaccine, given to them multiple times, can protect them for life. The Commissioner also stressed the need that efforts should also be made to administer polio drops to school going children of up to five years of age.
It was informed to the meeting that the Education department’s private school secretariat has instructed the concerned private schools to help the administration and cooperate with the polio teams in carrying out their duties for providing children the protection from the crippling decease. It was decided in a meeting that awareness campaign of teachers, as well as parents, would be initiated with the support of school administrations in coordination with the Directorate of the Private Schools. He said that polio eradication was a national cause and it would be the top priority of city administration to carry out its efforts for the elimination of poliovirus.
MAJU, Azerbaijan’s varsity sign MoU for academic cooperation
KARACHI: Mohammad Ali Jinnah University, Karachi (MAJU) and Khazar University, Baku, Azerbaijan have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for academic cooperation with each other.
MAJU Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences, Dr. Kamran Azim and Rector, Khizar University, Dr.Hassan Niknafs have signed MoU.
This agreement is based on the reciprocity principle and expresses the genuine interest of both universities in exchanging students, scholars, academic information and dual degree programs, said a statement here on Sunday.
As per MoU, MAJU and Khazar University besides exchanging students and faculty/ staff will encourage the development and implementation of visiting scholars/tutors, cultural exchange, cooperative /collaborative research projects, cooperative (joint and double) degree and joint summer programs at respective campuses. The term of this agreement shall be five academic years that is 2018 to 2023.
Both Universities will cooperate for short term training programs/ projects and service – learning programs, cooperative and exchange lecturing plans and lecture content, conferences and seminars, academic supervision of graduate /post-graduate students.
As per MoU in the event of students exchange, specific arrangement for payment of related expenses, including round-trip travel, board, lodging, tuition and health insurance will be agreed upon by both universities in advance.
President condoles with Amal’s family
KARACHI: President Dr. Arif Alvi Saturday visited the family of Amal, 10-year-old girl who was killed during an alleged police encounter, and offered his condolences with her father Umar Adil and the bereaved family.
The president, on the occasion, also directed the concerned departments to immediately investigate the incident, said a press release.
On August 13, during an alleged encounter between policemen and the muggers, Amal who was sitting in the back of her family’s car was fatally hit by one of the bullets in Akhtar Colony area.