ISLAMABAD,(Pakistan Point News - APP - 16th Augst,2016) : Senate functional committee on Human Rights on Tuesday approved report of the body on `the Protection Against Harassment at workplace (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The matter was referred by the House on July 18 for consideration, finalization and adoption of the report. The committee chaired by Senator Nasreen Jalil also directed to call all the stakeholders including civil society, Ulema, Council of Islamic Idealogy, Law Reforms Committee, National Commission for Human Rights and relevant ministry officials for thorough consideration of the Blasphemy law.
Members opined that it is quite a sensitive issue and they just want to propose reforms to check its misuse. "Our objective is that any innocent person should not be accused under this law". The committee lauded the role of National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) for preparing a detailed report on it. Senator Kabir Ahmed Muhammad Shahi endorsed the recommendation of the commission regarding no officer below the rank of a Superintendent of Police shall investigate any complain registered under the law.
Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Saif said there is much confusion and misunderstanding on the law. He opined that there is a wide difference between violation of the law by anyone due to his/her ignorance or with the intentions of disrespect. Secretary Ministry of Human Rights Nadeem Asharf stated that wrong interpretation of the law created an atmosphere of fear in the society and lawyers are reluctant to take case related to it.
No prosecutor is available to proceed the law on the other hand lawyers are also not willing to appear as defence lawyers to plead cases of accused. The chairperson asked that they should suggest precautionary measures to prevent involvement of any innocent person. The body took notice of no representation from FC and Rangers in the committee to respond on the agenda items and in protest five senators left the proceedings.
Senator Farhat Ullah Baber also raised the issue of Human Rights Commission South Asia report quoted by the Rangers representative in the last meeting. The member said it is only a web based organization and no virtual founding on ground. "I checked the website of this commission and talked to senior journalist Rahim Ullah Yousaf Zai declared as his member on it but he refuse to be its part". He asked the chairperson to write letter to Ministry of Information Technology and National Commission for Human Rights to probe the matter.
The committee members also raised objection on few officials of security agencies to give briefing on under trail cases to media. They mentioned the name of Senior Superintendent of Police Rao Anwar who frequently appear in various talk shows and comment on the under trail case. The committee directed to send a letter to Ministry of Interior for taking notice of the issue as according to law government servants are not allowed to speak or comment on any official matter without the approval of seniors.
Secretary Ministry of Human Rights remarked that the investigating authority is not suppose to give any statement on under trail cases and it is jurisdiction of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to declare the no go areas in particular matters. The committee also directed the concerned authorities to brief on the cases followed by Martyred President Quetta Bar Association Bilal Anwar Kasi who was victim of target killing few days back. The committee members including Senators Mufti Abdul Sattar, Farhat Ullah Baber, Mir Kabir Ahmed Muhammad Shahi, Nisar Muhammad, Muhammad Ali Khan Saif, Sitara Ayaz, Samina Abid and Sehar Kamran, Chairperson National Commission for Human Rights, Justice (Retd) Ali Nawaz Chowhan, representatives of Balochistan home department and officials of ministry of Human Rights attended the meeting.