Two days ago, the representative of civil society urged the President of Pakistan, Arif Alvi to come up with a durable solution that can ensure the protection of human and labour rights. Sadly, the state has been negligent towards protection of people’s rights; be these rights human or labour. The whole regime of rights is under assault from different sides. Neither the victims nor the advocates of these rights find any channel where they record their protests and rectify the violations of rights that the law of the land grants to the residents.

The people are missing; however, the issue of missing persons is not going anywhere any time soon despite all efforts to throw it to the dustbin of “collective amnesia.” Mr Alvi, as the head of the state, needs to take prompt action to solve the issue of missing persons. The representatives of the civil society have pointed it out correctly that enforced disappearances are not a solution to curb terrorism or to put a stop to anti-state activities.

But before looking for solutions the state needs to ask itself this question: Why do people join organisations that harm the stability of the country? The answer is that a majority of such people join these organisations when they cannot enjoy the fruits of socio-economic programs of the state. Ensuring them the opportunities of socio and economic uplift can bring them back in the national ambit.

Also, the state for quite some time has stopped protecting the rights of labours. At present, the labour class of the country is at the whim of the employer. The labour class is also denied the right of unionisation that the constitution of the land grants them. Such is the state of affairs that the victims do not even go to labour courts to get justice for they have lost faith in the efficiency and efficacy of the labour laws and courts.

Moreover, the space of expression is shrinking in Pakistan. Fears are that the state will transform into an authoritarian one. The lack of freedom of speech and debate will have disastrous consequences for the country. With curbs on the freedoms of press, the state is putting the survival of the country in jeopardy. The irony is that the state and its institutions are keen on self-inflicting harm.

The representatives of the civil society have already presented the case before the President. Let’s see what issues Arif Alvi as head of picks up and gives priority to. Many figureheads have their particular agendas. We’ll wait for the President’s plan.