Human rights laws are not implemented in Pakistan. There is a contradiction in our actions and words which is one of the main reasons of our failure. Rather than looking at the governments and waiting for their responses, we should also play our role to create awareness and provision of our rights among the masses. Unfortunately, we are second to none in speech but far from the action.

These views were expressed by the Vice Chancellor University of Karachi Professor Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi while addressing the inaugural session of a one-day national conference on the “universal declaration of human rights and Pakistan”.

It was organized by KU Pakistan Study Centre at the Arts Auditorium on Thursday. He shared that although the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees us fundamental rights and freedom of expression, the practical situation is quite the opposite.

He said that today, we cite the example of the west in terms of human rights, which has succeeded in establishing a just society. However, Muslims have already established such a system in Mecca and Medina centuries ago by adopting the principles introduced by Islam.

“We have to understand that societies cannot be established with lip-services only. It needs a lot of consideration and practical implementation of rules and regularizations along with the will to build healthy societies.”

Iraqi mentioned that we do not accept dissent. History has shown that societies that listen to and tolerate each other have a peaceful environment. To eradicate inequality we all have to play our part. He called for overcoming the growing intolerance and extremism in the society and for overcoming all kinds of linguistic, regional, and religious prejudices.

On this occasion, noted educationist, author, and human rights activist Professor Aijaz A. Qureshi, said that we have two charters, one is Hajjatul Wida and the other is the Charter of Human Rights.

He shared that there are human rights commissions in Pakistan but they seem to be unable to provide human rights to the grassroots level. Professor Qureshi said that although, these commissions were formed for the provision of rights and to take practical steps for the provision of rights we have witnessed the problems remain the same.

“Violence against women and other issues are raised in the cities and the news is often broadcast on the media but the poor people living in villages are unable to raise their voice for the provision of rights.”

According to him, it is a matter of concern that women are being killed in the name of honor by asking for a share in the property and acting based on suspicion. He advised the audience to come forward to promote a culture of tolerance in society.

Earlier, the Dean Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Professor Dr Nusrat Idrees said that human rights are being violated in all walks of life, and the charter assassination is quite common in Pakistan. She said that the behavior towards women needs to be addressed.

Meanwhile, in-charge Pakistan Study Center Dr Erum Muzaffar said that there should be a scientific and rational discussion on human rights and related issues because those societies which do not have or end the tradition of dialogue are suffocated.

She mentioned that the purpose of this conference is to review the current situation of human rights in Pakistan and also to analyze the existing problems in this regard and make suggestions for their elimination

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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