10th December 2010 Chevening, UK

Human Rights Day 2010 – a view from Pakistan

My name is Ahmad Nadeem Khan and I am from Pakistan. I was a Chevening fellow in the year 2008 in the University of Birmingham and participated in the course ‘What makes democracy work’. I still cherish those days and the great learning environment. I just wanted to share on the occassion of International Human Rights day through you to as far and wide audience as there are Cheveing alumni because I am currently posted as a Deputy Secretary in the ministry of Human Rights.

Human Rights is attached great importance by the democratic government of Pakistan and that is why a cell in the m/o Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs was elevated to the status of an independent ministry in December, 2008. The ministry is based in Islamabad with four Regional Directorates in four provincial capitals i.e. Quetta, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. The ministry of human rights not only celebrates the International Human Rights day with zeal and fervour but devotes a complete week to highlight and create awareness about human rights, their protection and helping the victims of human rights violations.

This was not only done the previous year but we are celebrating a complete week this year as well starting from the 3rd of december till the 10th of december. In the mega event arranged by the ministry in Islamabad, his Excellency the President of Pakistan has kindly consented to be the chief guest. Events like seminars, walks, debating contest, visits to jails etc are arranged to create awareness and highlight the importance of human rights. Not only this we have a standing committee of the parliament on human rights which keeps a close eye on all issues of human rights and their violations. It helps to protect human rights and provides assistance to victims of human rights violations by directing giving instructions to concerned officials as well as providing recommendations to the government.

In addition to this, the ministry maintains different funds to help the victims of human rights violations. Inspite of the fact that the ministry is in its infancy it is doing an excellent job as far as human rights are concerned. As time passes it is hoped that the ministry will definitely diversify its functions and activities.