KARACHI   -   There is a need to develop a culture of critical thinking in the universities of the country. We must have forums where we could talks about the scale of human rights abuses in the society. We also need to enlarge and enrich the chapter on human rights in the Constitution.

These views were expressed by the former Director of the Human Rights Commission Pakistan IA Rehman on Thursday.

He was the chief guest of the lecture on the topic of state of human rights in Pakistan, arranged by the Department of International Relations, University of Karachi, at Arts Auditorium. This was the second lecture of Sheikh Mutahir Memorial Lecture Series.

The late Dr Mutahir Ahmed was an esteemed professor of the IR department and passed away on October 5, 2017.

IA Rehman during his talk also mentioned some of the key initiatives taken by the state which, according to him, have not been implemented properly. The eminent guest also discussed some of the major 0human rights issues like forced disappearance and conversions, women’s and transgender rights, and stated that these matters should be resolved with proper laws and mechanisms.

He urged that state must implement measures designed to raise the level of respect for human rights in Pakistan. He informed the audience that the most significant event from the human rights perspective was the merger of the Federally Administered Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which promised to enable the tribal population to enjoy the rights available to citizens all over the rest of the country.

IA Rehman said that years-old controversy over a flawed Juvenile Justice Ordinance was resolved with the adoption of a Juvenile Justice Act. He mentioned that transgender citizens had the satisfaction of having a law to guarantee their rights and protect their interests at last enacted.

He shared that Sindh took the lead in adopting a series of progressive labour laws, including one to protect the rights of home-based workers, whose number across the country is much larger than what is commonly believed.

He highlighted that citizens’ right to go abroad continued to be violated through excessive and arbitrary use of the exit control list. The media and trade unions activities continued to shrink whereas child abductions and murder after physical assaults were also unstoppable throughout the year.

He further said that cases of sexual violence against women and instance of honour killing was also remain on raise while the funds for the Higher Education Commission were slashed, which is a regrettable move that adversely affected the younger generation’s right to education.

Meanwhile, the KU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi while expressing his views on the human rights conditions in Pakistan said there are lot of areas which need urgent attention of the government and other major stakeholders.

He mentioned that governments alone can’t address such issues and always need support from masses, academia and intellectuals to resolve matters related to human rights. The KU VC Professor Dr Khalid Iraqi also recalled memories of the late Sheikh Mutahir Ahmed and his services.