By K A Mian
LAHORE: The International Human Rights Day was observed across the globe under title universal call to action “Stand Up for Human rights” here on Tuesday. The aim to mark this day was to celebrate the potential of youth as constructive agents of change, amplify their voices, and engage a broad range of global audiences in the promotion and protection of rights.
In this regard, the various walks, rallies, seminars, art exhibition, and demonstrations were held across the country to encourage, galvanise, and showcase how youth all over Pakistan stood up for rights and against racism, hate speech, bullying, discrimination, and climate change, to name a few and above all against the Indian Government and violations of human rights in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.
In his message, Prime Minister Imran Khan appealed the international community to act against the ‘illegal annexation of IOJK by the Indian Occupation govt.” PM said in a tweet, “On Human Rights day we must appeal to the world’s conscience, to upholders of international law & to the UNSC to act against the illegal annexation of IOJK by the Indian Occupation govt. We condemn the Occupying Indian govt’s siege of IOJK ongoing for over four months now & demand’.
In another tweet, PM added that on IHTD, the Muslims need to remember that the message of equality, justice and protection of human rights for all had given by Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) over 1400 years ago. This embodied the cardinal principles of respect for human rights and human dignity, Imran Khan said.
PM further said that “Inspired by the ideals preached by Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), especially in his last sermon, and duties enshrined in our constitution, his government is committed to the protection of human rights for all its citizens without discrimination”.
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari also expressed her concern over the massive human rights violations which is being committed by the Indian government in occupied Kashmir. She said in her Tweet message that “While the world marks Human Rights Day today, it cannot ignore the massive human rights violations being committed by the Indian Occupying govt in IOJK where it’s Occupation forces use rape as a weapon of war; use inhumane weapons like pellet guns incl against women & children”. She emphasized on human rights in a separate tweet that “On Human Rights Day, we must address the challenges we face in ensuring global respect for human rights & protection of these rights within our own country. After years of dictatorships and civilian neglect, we are making sincere efforts to traverse a difficult path of ensuring”.
Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar in his message said that Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ has given an everlasting message of human rights for the whole humanity. “Islam is the torchbearer of human rights. It is, however, regretted that humanity is facing misery in Indian Occupied Kashmir and grave human rights violations against oppressed Kashmiris have not been stopped even after the passage of 128 days. CM also emphasized that the international community will have to be awakened against continued human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir. The whole of humanity is ashamed over the worst Indian cruelties in Occupied Kashmir. The blatant human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir are a test case for the international community. Protection of human rights is the conspicuous identity of the civilized world; and societies that do not honour human rights, lose their identity.
“Every state is duty-bound to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens and societal norms of tolerance, forgiveness and broadmindedness strengthen human rights at the grassroots,” he asserted. The CM Punjab said that all the citizens enjoy equal rights under the constitution of Pakistan. The Punjab government had taken practical steps to safeguard the fundamental rights of the citizens. Solid steps had been taken for the provision of justice, protection of religious freedom and elimination of bonded labour in the society. Today, we should reiterate the commitment to ensure the protection of human rights of every citizen, concluded the chief minister.
In this connection, the Punjab University organized a seminar to mark the IDHR in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Rights and Christian Care Foundation to highlight Human Rights violations in Kashmir. While addressing the seminar, speakers had expressed serious violations of human rights in IOK which were being committed by Indian forces, which was a big question on criminal silence of so-called flag-bearers of human rights. PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Niaz Ahmad, MPA Mahindra Singh Pal, MPA Ayesha Iqbal, Department of Gender Studies Chairperson Dr Raana Malik, Ministry of Human Rights DG Lubna Mansoor, Director General Commerce Azhar Iqbal, senior analyst Salman Abid, faculty members and a large number of students participated in the seminar.
On this occasion, speakers raised various questions against violations of human rights in IOK and asked that “Where is the United Nations? Where are the advocates of human rights? Why the international community is not taking serious notice of human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir”. They asked that “UN would be useless if it could not implement its own resolutions on Kashmir and cannot ensure implementation of its charter on human rights in the valley and adding that there was complete lockdown in the valley since 128 days.
They also expressed that Kashmiris had no access to medicine and even they were not being allowed to bury their deceased in graveyards. India was even not following the decision of her Supreme Court and the rights of Muslims, Sikhs and Christians were being usurped, the speakers expressed. They emphasized that we must prove ourselves as a responsible nation and raise voice over violations of human rights in Occupied Kashmir. Pakistan’s human rights situation had improved manifold and we encouraged minorities in all sectors. Our Constitution provided protection to every citizen and whosoever violated the rights of others, strict action was being taken on that violation as per law.
The speakers highlighted that Hazrat Muhammad SAWW had given the lesson of equality presenting the best charter of human rights in speech while performing Haj 1,400 years ago so there was no need to make new policies on human rights. India had converted Occupied Kashmir into the largest jail of the world and violations of human rights in Occupied Kashmir demanded us mark Kashmir Day instead of marking International Human Rights Day. Speakers also stressed the women to get the education and help each other to ensure the protection of their rights. As the young people were constructive agents of change and they must come forward to create awareness about human rights in Pakistan.
A woman speaker while speaking the occasion said that women must have awareness and comprehensive understanding of their rights in order to protect their rights. Due to ignorance about rights, others get a chance to usurp the rights of women, adding that the women to take good care of their health and become a voice of the voiceless. ‘We had the best human rights policies and laws but unfortunately, we could not implement them in a proper manner. The speakers called upon the need to develop a transparent and accountable mechanism to implement human rights policies and laws.
Besides, a large number of protests, rallies and seminars, were also held to condemn India over its atrocities and express solidarity with the people of Kashmir.