Pakistan’s Constitution and the plight of human rights

By: Kainat Saif

Rightly stated by Ms. Robinson: “Today’s human rights violations are the causes of tomorrow’s conflicts.

A social contract is an unofficial agreement shared by every living group in a society in which they give up some rights and freedom at the expense of getting security. In Pakistan’s case, the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 is the supreme document. Ideally, the State shall play a motherly role for its citizens. However, the grave situation of human rights violation depicts a sorry story. Article 25 of the constitution of Pakistan 1973 ensures equality of citizens. If we look at patriarchal norms embedded in societal behaviors and the same in law enforcement agencies we will witness many women becoming victims of domestic violence, gender discrimination, subject of harrasment/torture/rape, and what not? Everyone is equal but some are more equal than others. What are articles 9, 10, 10A, 14, and 19 are good for? For the record, these articles advocate for security, safeguard as to arrest and detention, right to a fair trial, and freedom of speech respectively. According to UNICEF’s report, approximately 22.8 million children aged 5-16 are out of school. Presently, Pakistan has the world’s 2nd highest number of out-of-school children. This alarming situation then again shook us to the core by referring again to article 25A stressing free education for all from age 5-16. The condition of minorities in Pakistan will defy the reality of Article 20 which mandates freedom to profess religion and to manage religious institutions. The hatred and intolerance to accept diversity not of just religion but of culture are so much so that blasphemy laws are used against vested interests. Are people living in the Islamic State of Pakistan children of a lesser God? Why are they deprived of the fundamental rights that they are promised in the Constitution?

With rule of law and directing the system towards less political and more legal, we can safeguard human rights in our state. Citizen-centered and not a state-centered approach based on the principle of utilitarianism would also do the job. Moreover, Citizen-state interaction shall be a continuous process and an easy one. The atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration between nationals and authorities is of utmost importance. Pakistan has witnessed a number of hardship storms in order to tackle violations of human rights; the situation, however, still remains the same. Not only punishment-based perspective but sensitization and training will change the mindset of people. An inclusive approach is required to gain a thriving society with no human rights violations. In order to evolve a common strategy, the media can play a crucial role in raising awareness and also by doing responsible journalism. Lastly, getting sucked into misogynist norms is absolutely not in human right’s great interest as women’s rights are also human rights. The state must ensure safety and security along with equality of women. Giving irresponsible statements from high office bearers will create chaos so they must be refrained from doing the same.

The writer is a law student and can be reached at [email protected]