Ministry for Human Rights has drafted a bill that amends the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to declare enforced disappearances a criminal offence.
The draft has been prepared in consultation with all stakeholders and sent to the law ministry.
“We are committed to ensuring rule of law and protection of fundamental rights of our citizens guaranteed in the Constitution,” said Federal Minister Dr Shireen Mazari, speaking to students of the Sindh Madrasatul Islam University (SMIU).
She said a helpline – 1099 – had been established at the human rights ministry where a group of lawyers was providing free legal aid to the victims of human rights abuses.
“We have recommended to the education ministry to revise the curriculum and add human rights as a compulsory subject in the syllabus. We are providing separate laws for our non-Muslim communities and urge the western world to show respect for every religion.”
She said that her ministry has constituted a committee, comprising ministers for interior, law and justice and human rights, to look into the procedural delays and flaws in the existing system of pardon and mercy petitions.
“In this regard, we have prepared reforms and the summary has been forwarded to the cabinet for consideration of proposals to shorten the procedure of mercy petition,” Dr Mazari said.
SMIU Vice Chancellor Dr Mohammad Ali Shaikh and faculty members were also present.
The minister claimed that she was making efforts for the protection of human rights particularly the vulnerable segments of society, including women and children.
“Besides implementation of existing laws, we are devising new legislation where required.
“Steps are also being taken to protect basic rights of every citizen in pursuance of the Constitution and international commitments.”