LAHORE -  Human rights activists appreciated Pakistan’s becoming a member state of United Nation Human Rights Council, cautioning Islamabad needs to improve its human rights facilities promptly at home.

The Geneva-based council is mandated to promote and protect human rights and prevent HR violations. Pakistan was elected fourth time to the 47-member council. Pakistan was first time elected in 2006 when it was set up by the UN General Assembly. The election in the 193-member assembly was held by secret ballot, with a simple majority required. Pakistan polled 151 votes when 97 were needed.

Human rights activist and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Director Najm-ud-Din told The Nation HRCP lauded Pakistan’s victory to become a member state of UN Human Rights Council. He said a lot of work needs to be done for protecting human rights.

“It is not the first time Pakistan became the UN Human Rights Council member. A lot of work is needed to improve the rights conditions at home. This may be a diplomatic victory and we endorsed it, but the real challenge lies ahead,” he said.

Pakistan should invite regularly intentional human rights observers, so that they could review the HR conditions at home, he added.

Punjab Minister for Human Rights and minorities Affairs Khalil Tahir Sandhu has said in a statement the entire nation can feel proud that Pakistan has been elected as a member of the International Human Rights Council.

He said Pakistan on Monday won a key election by securing a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council when the General Assembly elected 15 countries to serve on the 47-member body. He said the council is an inter-governmental body within the UN system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe, addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them.

Pakistan Ambassador to United Nations Maleeha Lodhi tweeted the election was an endorsement of Islamabad’s strong commitment to human rights.

“Pakistan is grateful for the overwhelming support it received from the world community,” she said. “The election refutes the claim Pakistan is isolated,” Maleeha Lodhi said. Pakistan won by more than two thirds votes,” she said.

Maleeha Lodhi said Pakistan’s record of promoting and protecting human rights has been vindicated by this victory.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted: “Pakistan won UN General Assembly Human Rights Council election. It is a great victory and excellent team work.”

Ministry of Human Rights Secretary Rabia Javeri Agha tweeted: “Pakistan makes it to UNHRC. Lots more to do, but we are on our way.”