Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – In response to the letter of Director Human Rights Watch to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari accused the New York-based rights group of ‘selective’ criticism.

“We are well aware of our obligations and committed to ensure and protect the human rights of our citizens in pursuance to the constitution of Pakistan and international commitments; not by any external pressure,” she wrote in her letter to the HRW.

HRW Asia Director Brad Adams had written a letter to Khan asking him to ensure human rights are a “key focus” of the new government. The letter was made public on Monday.

The human rights minister asserted that since you mentioned that you monitor human rights violations in over 90 countries, “I hope that you would also raise your voice against a massive human rights violations, carried out in Indian Occupied Kashmir, Palestine and in some European States against Muslims citizens.”.

Draft of the letter written to Brad Adams, Asia Director, Human Rights Watch stated:

“In reference to your letter to our Prime Minister, let me make it clear that the Prime Minister and the government are committed to ensuring the human rights guaranteed to all Pakistani citizens under the Constitution. In this context, we are well aware of the need to effectively enforce the laws regarding the enforcement of the human rights of all our citizens as well as the need to bring our national laws in alignment with our international legal commitments through the international treaties we have ratified. Our government is committed to ensuring the fulfilment of all our international legal obligations.

We will do all this because we believe in fulfilling our constitutional obligations and we certainly do not need to be informed or reminded of our human rights agenda. My Ministry is already moving forward with a holistic action plan. We know the prevailing shortcomings in ensuring human rights of all our citizens and are working towards overcoming them.

Since you claim you monitor human rights violations in over 90 countries, I hope that would include the massive human rights violations being carried out as a matter of state policy by India in Indian Occupied Kashmir and by Israel in Palestine. I may have missed your monitoring reports on these so would appreciate if you could refresh my memory.

Additionally, I hope your organization, HRW, will take up the issue of the violation of Human Rights by some European states against their Muslim citizens in the form of curtailing their right to practice their religion freely and in the form of abuse of Islam and its Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), in direct contravention of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Since HRW claims to monitor human rights across the world, I would like to be informed on how you are ensuring the rights of Muslim citizens to have their mosques and be able to dress and practice their religion freely and without ridicule in European states.

We will always welcome positive suggestions and inputs which can help further our government’s human rights agenda as we have many challenges confronting us; but an NGO’s institutional credibility will rest on its commitment to ensuring human rights across the globe not just in selective states.”