MoHR Press Release 12-12-2018 Islamabad Dr Shireen Mazari expressed surprise at the US Administration’s decision to add Pakistan to the “blacklist for religious freedom violations”. She said it was apparent the US was using this as a brazen political tactic to pressure Pakistan to mitigate US failures in Afghanistan. The timing of this move reflects this most clearly. Dr Mazari stated that there is no doubt Pakistan’s record on religious freedom is not ideal but then is the EU’s record much better given the restrictions on churches, the banning of certain dress codes of Muslims, refusal of entry of certain preachers – the list continues. In our own neighbourhood we have India where Muslims are being targeted and where the BJP is supporting violence against Muslims ostensibly over “beef”. The timing of the US move smacks of pure political blackmailing because it comes in the wake of Pakistan opening the Kartharpur corridor to ease access for the Sikhs of India to their religious places as well as assisting Hindu groups to enter Pakistan for religious purposes when India has sought to prevent Muslims from Pakistan visiting Ajmer for religious purposes. The deliberate ignoring of India’s shrinking space for its religious minorities by the US while it targets Pakistan is absurd and unacceptable. In case the US is ignorant about the large and diverse presence of Christian churches in Pakistan, the Human Rights Minister said she would like to educate the Trump Administration on this count. At the moment the following diverse denominations of Christian churches are present in Pakistan: Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal (3 separate groups under this church), Evangelical, Renewalist, Salvation Army and then as a separate entity Church of Pakistan directly linked to Archbishop of Canterbury. Additionally, Dr Mazari reminded that Pakistan has moved to allow its non-Muslim citizens there own personal laws of marriage and divorce in keeping with their religious strictures. In conclusion, Dr Mazari stated while we have to move forward to further improve the condition of all our citizens including our religious minorities and other vulnerable groups, the US’s move is not based on any facts but is a purely political move in an attempt to pressure on Pakistan to do its bidding. Perhaps President Trump needs to be reminded of Prime Minister’s pledge to the Pakistani nation that Pakistan will only act in its own interests and not be a “hired gun” for any other power. It is time for the US to take responsibility for its failures in Afghanistan so that it can do a course correction. And, if it is serious about religious freedoms then it needs to examine therecord of Modi’s India and some of its EU allies that are moving to curtail the religious freedoms of its Muslim citizens.
MoHR Press Release 08-12-2018 Islamabad: Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari has said in wake of UN Report on Kashmir, previous Governments of Pakistan had failed to act proactively on Kashmir issue. She said it is unfortunate that successive Governments had failed to work on practical solution of Kashmir dispute adding that it is time to present a blue print for conflict resolution premised upon the principle of self-determination and plebiscite. She was addressing at the International Conference on “UN Report on Human Rights Violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir: Demographic Changes and Societal Implications” organized by a Think Tabk, Pak House here in Islamabad on Saturday. Addressing the event, Dr Shireen Mazari condemned worst Human Rights violations and brutalities in IOK by India. She said we must avoid to pay lip service to UNSC’s resolutions-the time has come to move beyond rhetoric for support of Kashmiris and take concrete steps for solution of longstanding Kashmir dispute. Shireen Mazari said UN Report about Indian atrocities in IOK has once again highlighted the Kashmir issue at International level. ‘During preparation of UN report, Pakistan should have sent its team there to guide UN team about Indian brutalities in IOK’, she added. Human Rights Minister said we should provide access to UN team In AJK so that they could be aware about the difference in AJK and IOK, she added. She criticized previous governments for not raising the Kashmir issue in letter and spirit. Dr Mazari said we should follow on the demand of establishing an independent Inquiry Commission to investigate gross Human Rights violations in IOK by Indian occupation forces. She said India is attempting to change Kashmir s demography and genocide in Indian Occupied Kashmir is done to suppress the Kashmir voices. Speaking at the occasion, Dr Shireen Mazari presented a concrete proposal aimed at taking Kashmir issue to the world and said that Pakistan’s legitimacy in Kashmir conflict is based on UN resolutions, so we should not deviate from it adding that India had itself took Kashmir issue to UN. She said we need to take on the world for resolution of Kashmir dispute and stressed on UN resolution implementation on Kashmir issue and we should keep reiterating implementing UN resolutions. She said Pakistan should demand International investigation in IOK as UN report does. Dr Mazari said OHCHR’s report on Kashmir came out earlier this year and we had failed to move proactively on it. She said we need to draw attention of International community about Human Rights abuses particularly against women by India in IOK. She further stated that we should continue emphasizing on implementation of UN report. Dr Mazari suggested in Conflict Resolution Model that Pakistan should propose a solution of Kashmir issue resembling Irish Peace Accord and on lines of East Timor independence based on concept of self determination. Kashmiris in IOK including the Kashmiri Diaspora across the world should be documented, she added. The conference was also addressed by AJK President, Sardar Masood Khan, Ms Janne Teller, Lt Gen Retd. Khalid Rabbani, Ms Marjan Lucas, Ali Raza Syed, Syed Abdullah Geelani, Dr Nazir Gillani, Afzal Khan and DG Pakistan House, Rana Athar Javed.
MoHR Press Release 07-12-2018Islamabad: Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari has said we are committed to protect the rights of our citizens adding that besides implementation of laws we need to change the societal mindset and that comes with awareness. She said our ministry also working on creating awareness about the laws especially for the people who are differently abled, when we would be able to create awareness and change the mindset of society then we can move forward substantively. She was addressing the seminar on “Harassment faced by women with disabilities in Pakistan” in Islamabad on Friday. Besides, Executive director UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Neil Buhne Resident Coordinator of UNDP in Pakistan and people with disabilities were also present on the occasion. Addressing the event, Dr Mazari said the issue of harassment faced by women with disabilities is global issue. She said the state of Pakistan does not discriminate but the actual discrimination comes from level of family and society. She said our laws provide equal access to women and we need to tackle the real issue on priority which the women have been facing especially with disabilities at the level of society and families. If women suffered that impacts whole family, she added. While talking about women rights, Dr Mazari said women actually suffered a lot, if women suffered from disability then whole the family have to face the consequences and its impact. She said women should give central importance in any work we do to mainstream the people who are differently abled. She said women have to be stronger to deal with any discrimination adding that women have been facing discrimination at so many levels of society whether disable or not, they have to fight their way into mainstreaming. She said in Pakistan, state does not restricts women but family structures and society creates impediments in their way to mainstreaming and success. Dr Mazari said we are working on devising new legislation and Bill to protect the rights of people with disabilities have been approved by cabinet and will be tabled in parliament in next session. She said we have made comprehensive bill adding that it should have done this many years ago. Dr Mazari said Constitution of Pakistan guarantees the rights of our citizens without any discrimination. So it is the responsibility of state to ensure the equal rights and it is part of duty to provide equal rights to all citizens. Dr Mazari said as we have signed seven international conventions including the people with disability and we are party to that and we are putting all our endeavours to ensure all provisions through legislation. She in this regard said we are not only making legislation but also putting all out efforts to ensure the implementation of these laws. Shireen Mazari further stated Pakistan is over legislated country and the main issue is the implementation of these laws and incumbent government especially the human rights ministry focussing on the implementation of already existing laws. She said the new bill regarding the rights of people with disabilities will be implemented as soon it is passed through parliamentary process. This bill focuses the rights of people with disabilities in general and women, child and transgender in particular. She said we are committed to protect the rights and preserve the dignity of people with disabilities or otherwise. She further said we have to preserve the dignity of women and gender added that these are vulnerable in our society. Human Rights Minister Dr Mazari said this bill also includes the provision of facilities for people with disabilities at public buildings, hospitals, public transport and other important and professional spaces. She added that bank ATMs should be accessible for people with disabilities especially for visually impaired. She said we are committed to ensure the equal access to educational institutions adding that there is provision in the bill for special educational institutions for the people who are severe disables. Earlier, UN women delegation headed by Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngeuka, Exective Director UN Women has called on the Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen M Mazari here in Islamabad on Friday. Besides Secretary Human Rights Rabiya Javeri Agha other high officials of the ministry were also present on the occasion. They discussed various human rights issues and matters related to mutual cooperation especially focusing on implementation of existing laws particularly for women empowerment, gender based violence, child abuse and protection of their rights. Both the parties mutually agreed on extending their cooperation and work collectively to protect the basic rights including the rights of women. Minister of Human Rights wishes to strengthen its closer collaboration in this regard. The pivotal points discussed in the meeting were human Rights issues apropos Pakistan with special emphasis on gender equality and women empowerment. The delegation was briefed about the steps and initiatives that were under way to ensure protection of human Rights. The delegation was told about the government s efforts regarding human Rights protection. In this regard an inter-ministerial protocol was being considered which would be a collective effort towards addressing the HR issues by the government. The minister apprised the delegation about the government s resolve and seriousness in addressing HR issues at top priority. She also mentioned that re-formulating the law of inheritance of women to ensure their basic right was part of the government s agenda. She also condemned the Indian atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir and urged the international community to come forward and highlight the worst human rights violations in IOK. She also pointed out to the problems that Muslims have to go through in some parts of Europe owing to their religious orientation and ethnicity and said that these issues ought to be brought to the limelight. Executive Director UN Women appreciated the efforts of the incumbent government for their steps for the protection of basic rights of citizens and assured her full support in this regard.
MoHR Press Release 04-12-2018 Islamabad: A two day workshop titled “Protection and Promotion of Human Rights The Role of Provincial Assemblies” was held at Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services here in Islamabad on Tuesday. Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen M Mazari was the chief guest at the inaugural session of the workshop which was attended by the members of the four provincial and two legislative assemblies. Besides, Mr Zafarullah Khan, Exective Director PIPS, Mr Javed Malik , Country Representative DRI and Mr Christopher Shields , Team Leader SUBAI were also among the attendants. Addressing the inaugural session, Federal Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari stressed upon the members of Provincial and Legislative Assemblies to focus upon Human Rights issues and raise their voice in their respective assemblies to protect and promote the human rights on priority. She stated that the protection of Human Rights was a pre-requisite to stability of democracy in the country. The Minister, while talking about the role of provincial assemblies in protection and propagation of Human Rights said the constitution of Pakistan guarantees the protection of Human Rights. She said we are committed to ensure the rights of all our citizens without any discrimination adding that steps are being taken to ensure the implementation of International commitments in pursuance to our Constitution. Dr Mazari further said we have very comprehensive agenda besides implementation of existing laws; we are working on devising new legislation to protect the rights of citizens. She mentioned submitting a draft for "Domestic Workers Bill" for the protection of domestic workers to the Law Ministry including three more bills and said that it would soon be presented in the National Assembly. The minister also highlighted the ministry s resolve on creating awareness about Human Rights issues among the masses adding that Human Rights Ministry has already started awareness campaigns for women’s right to inheritance and provision of free legal aid to the women. She said that the issue of enforced disappearances ought to be resolved by taking all stakeholders on board and we are committed to resolving this issue on priority basis. She reiterated her firm commitment to take all possible measures for the protection of basic rights and said protection of human rights was the top most priority of incumbent government. She said unlike in Europe, non Muslim communities in Pakistan have been provided their own laws, in this connection Hindu Divorce and Marriage law already passed and Christian Divorce bill will be presented in National Assembly soon. The workshop was also addressed by Executive Director PIPS, Zafarullah Khan, Javed Malik, Representative DRI and others.
MoHR Press Release 03-12-2018 Islamabad: Governor Gilgit-Baltistan Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon called on Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari on Monday here in Islamabad. They discussed the different matters related to the protection of human rights particularly in GB. Shireen Mazari apprised the Governor about different steps which have been taken for the protection of basic rights of our citizens. Governor acknowledged and appreciated the endeavors of incumbent government especially the ministry for the protection of human rights. Islamabad: Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen M Mazari on Monday said that we are committed to protect the basic rights of people with disabilities and mainstreaming them across all spheres of life. In her message on the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities the Human Rights Minister said steps are being taken in this regard and Bill to protect the rights of Persons with Disabilities is now ready to be presented before parliament so it can become law. “But legislation is not enough - change in societal thinking is equally critical”, she added.