Islamabad-Pakistan People’s Party Senator Farhatullah Babar Monday said that progressive legislation - like the Child Marriage Act, forced conversions, the anti-rape, anti-honour killing laws, the Women Protection Act and harassment at work place laws - had come under attack on grounds of ‘threat to ideology.’

He was speaking at a discussion on progressive legislation organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute. He said, “Progressive legislation in the country had been stumped by what is brandished as threat to ‘national security concern’ and by the ideology brigade citing reasons of threat to religion and ideology.”

“Thus citizens are disappearing with impunity, state agencies operate without the ambit of the law and employees of NCA (National Command Authority) denied their basic rights while state is unmoved because of so-called national security concerns,” he said.

Babar said it was an issue of mindset and will take long time to correct but a beginning can and should be made to challenge the one sided narrative of ideology brigade with logic and conviction.

He said that Pakistan has signed seven out of nine core human rights treaties.

“A state signatory to these treaties is required to adopt domestic legislation and other administrative measures to enhance the purposes of these treaties,” he added.

Babar asked civil society organizations to launch a campaign to put pressure for the adoption of progressive human rights legislation as our international obligation.

The UN Human Rights Committee has recently asked some questions arising out of report after signing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Civil society organizations should also mobilize public opinion on state agencies to provide honest answers to questions. State agencies be brought under the ambit of the law and enforced disappearances be criminalized, he said.

Babar also called for the adoption of The Anti-Torture bill already passed unanimously by the Senate over a year ago and the RTI (Right to Information) legislation as passed by the Senate Committee on human rights over 18 months ago.