Foreign Minister Hina Khar tries to hide Shia genocide in UN, paints rosy picture of human rights in Pakistan

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Pakistan
Thursday, 01 November 2012


shiitenews hina rabaniWhile unveiling the country’s national report at the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC), the government glossed over bitter facts and painted an overly rosy picture of what cannot be considered an enviable record.
Keen to defend the country’s record because of candidacy for the Nov 12 election to HRC and hopes of

qualifying for next GSP+ preferential trade programme, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar herself led the delegation to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva on Tuesday.
UPR is a state-driven process in which every UN member country gets a chance to make a presentation at the council about steps it had taken to address rights violations and fulfil its obligations. Currently the second round of the review, which started in May this year, is under way. The UPR has been heralded as an unmatched international mechanism to monitor rights situation across the world.
The delegation did take pride in having a vibrant civil society and media and strengthening democracy in the country.
But what the foreign minister either fleetingly addressed or completely ignored – missing persons; blasphemy laws; continued killing of Shias; plight of religious minorities; maltreatment of women; abuses during counter-militancy operations by the military and situation in Balochistan.
The foreign minister spoke about growing extremism and terrorism in the country as a major challenge to national security, attributed it to CIA-sponsored jihad against the Soviet Union, but didn’t have an inspiring story about how the government was addressing the critical issue other than military-run ‘Sabaoon Project’ in Swat.
Hundreds of sectarian killings, mostly belonging to the Shia community, did not merit a mention.
Reuters adds: Pakistan, plagued by Islamists militancy, sectarian violence and frequent disasters that push its people deeper into poverty, told the United Nations it is a democratic and progressive state working to protect human rights.
But Western countries and the normally anti-Western Belarus countered that in Pakistan religious minorities were persecuted, that dissent was often brutally suppressed by the army, and that little was done to tackle human trafficking.
Foreign Minister Khar said that Pakistan “is a democratic, pluralistic and progressive state” aiming to create a fair society based on equality, respect for diversity and justice.
“Today Pakistan is a functional democracy with an elected and sovereign parliament, an independent judiciary, a free media and a vibrant and robust civil society,” she declared.
Some Western countries have already indicated they do not see Pakistan as a suitable candidate – although they accept there is little they can do to head off a clear majority vote for it in the UN General Assembly on Nov 12.
Sectarian killings
Hundreds of sectarian killings, mostly belonging to the Shia community, did not merit a mention. Reuters adds: Pakistan, plagued by Islamists militancy, sectarian violence and frequent disasters that push its people deeper into poverty, told the United Nations it is a democratic and progressive state working to protect human rights.
But Western countries and the normally anti-Western Belarus countered that in Pakistan religious minorities were persecuted, that dissent was often brutally suppressed by the army, and that little was done to tackle human trafficking.
Foreign Minister Khar said that Pakistan “is a democratic, pluralistic and progressive state” aiming to create a fair society based on equality, respect for diversity and justice.
“Today Pakistan is a functional democracy with an elected and sovereign parliament, an independent judiciary, a free media and a vibrant and robust civil society,” she declared.
Some Western countries have already indicated they do not see Pakistan as a suitable candidate – although they accept there is little they can do to head off a clear majority vote for it in the UN General Assembly on Nov 12.

Draft Resolution for the UN Human Rights Council on Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
A draft UN Human Rights Council resolution, adopted by dissidents and human rights activists at the 4th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, 13 March 2012.
www.genevasummit.org

The Human Rights Council,
Guided by the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, and recalling the International Covenants on Human Rights and other
relevant human rights instruments,
Reaffirming that all Member States have an obligation to promote and protect
human rights and fundamental freedoms and the duty to fulfill the obligations they
have undertaken under the various international instruments in this field,
Considering that the promotion of respect for the obligations arising from the
Charter and other instruments and rules of the international law is among the basic
purposes and principles of the United Nations,
Affirming the responsibility of the International community to promote human
rights and ensure respect for international law,
Gravely concerned at the deplorable situation of human rights in Pakistan,
where widespread and fundamental violations of human rights are taking place with
alarming regularity, affecting the weakest populations disproportionately, namely
women, children, and minorities;
1. Expresses grave concern at the volatile security situation in Pakistan
and its implications for the human rights situation, and urges the Government of
Pakistan to improve the security situation while respecting human rights, and to work
with particular urgency to stop extrajudicial killings and the widespread use of
detention without charge, forced evictions, and house demolitions;
2. Calls upon the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the right to
freedom of expression of all its citizens, and to do so in an environment free from
harassment, intimidation, and abuse, including at the hands of the Government of
Pakistan and its agents,
3. Condemns the abduction and torture in September 2010 of journalist
Umar Cheema and the murder of journalists Abdul Hameed Hayatan and Hamid
Ismail following their arrest at a security forces checkpoint near Gwadar city on 25
October 2010;
4. Also calls upon the Government of Pakistan to abide by its obligations
under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which it has been a
party since 23 June 2010, and which guarantees, inter alia, the rights to freedom of
expression and freedom of religion;5. Further calls upon the Government of Pakistan to protect journalists
and human rights defenders from all attacks by armed groups in Pakistan and
expresses grave concern at the violent death of dozens of media workers in recent
years;
6. Demands that the Government of Pakistan launch independent
investigations into widespread allegations of police and army abuses in violation of
basic human rights, particularly with regard to torture and summary executions,
having regard to numerous recent incidents, including that of robbery suspects filmed
being held down and whipped by police in Chiniot city, and that of soldiers executing
a group of men and boys in the Swat Valley;
7. Expresses grave concern at ongoing and routine violence against
religious minorities in Pakistan, including Sufis, Shiites, Ahmadis, and Christians;
8. Calls upon the Government of Pakistan to act with haste to ensure the
safety of all minorities, to investigate and prosecute all cases of harassment,
intimidation, and violence against them, and to prevent further attacks on religious
minorities, such as those of 28 May 2010, which killed 94 people at two Ahmadiyya
mosques in Lahore, the 1 July 2010 suicide bomb attack on the Data Darbar Sufi
shrine in Lahore that killed 42 people, and the 3 September 2010 suicide bomb attack
on a Shi’a gathering in Quetta that killed at least 65 people;
9. Recognizes that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws constitute a clear and
fundamental violation of the right to freedom of religion of all Pakistani citizens;
10. Strongly urges the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the right to
freedom of religion of all its citizens and also urges the Government of Pakistan to
amend blasphemy laws in order to ensure the free exercise of the rights to freedom of
expression and religion;
11. Calls upon the Government of Pakistan to halt all prosecutions under
the blasphemy laws;
12. Strongly condemns the conviction and sentencing to death of Asia
Bibi, a mother of five, for blasphemy, and urges the Government of Pakistan to
commute her sentence and protect opponents of the blasphemy laws, having regard to
the murders of Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and Christian Minority Affairs
Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, over their opposition to the blasphemy laws;
13. Expresses grave concern at systematic discrimination and widespread
gender-based violence against women and girls in Pakistan, including, but not limited
to, murder, rape, domestic violence, forced marriages, “honor killings”, and acid
attacks, and deplores the fact that the vast majority of cases of such crimes are not
investigated by police and go unpunished;
14. Strongly urges the Government of Pakistan to investigate and
prosecute all cases of discrimination and violence against women and girls and to
bring to an end the culture of impunity that surrounds these crimes;15. Condemns the decision of Pakistan’s Supreme Court to free the five
men convicted of gang-raping Mukhtar Mai, and deplores the message this sends to
thousands of Pakistani women victimized of rape.

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