NCJP organizes Seminar on National Commission for Minorities

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The National commission for Justice and Peace Karachi office held a seminar on “National Commission for Minorities” in which its importance, composition and role was elaborated through different guest speakers.   

This commission was considered as a hope for Minorities in Pakistan but the composition and its activities shows that this is without legislation and even lacks independence.

The same commission has been also seen as “toothless” by human right defenders and civil society activists. During this seminar National Commission for Justice and Peace had invited civil society activists, politicians, and even one of the members of Minority Commission at St. Patrick’ Cathedral, Karachi.

Dr. Jaipal Das Chhabria. Member of National Minority Commission stated that the commission which we are having is better than other commissions, he also said that he had recommended that Minority Commission should be “by Minorities, for Minorities and of Minorities. People becoming the part of Parliament or any commission should be educated and there should be criteria of quality of people at the time of nomination.

The Commission is also concerned about Forced Conversion and selling of Religious properties anywhere in Pakistan. The rights of every citizen of Pakistan should be equal to the rights of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Imran Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan.

Dr. Jaipal also said that the religious minorities have been contributing always in the wellbeing of Pakistan, that is right from its creation and till today, we have to know our rights and work together.

Among the main works of National Commission for Minorities are to keep an eye on the discrimination taking place against the minorities that could be forced conversion or marriage, Biased material in education, discrimination availing the opportunity of jobs,  even the destruction of any religious place or violation against them, Dr. Jaipal said.

Mr. Zahid Farooq, Christian human rights activist and Joint Director Urban Resource Centre from Karachi in his recommendations has said that the minority commission must review itself and work for the rights of minorities. The commission may include many more members from other religious minority groups and even from women.

Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah joint Director PILER in his speech had appreciated NCJP for organizing this seminar on a very important topic; he also said that he and his other friends belonging to different right based organizations had raised their voices at the international triatic review in 2008, 2012 2017 for the commissions and their needs, and National Commission for Minorities is the result of those campaigns and struggles.

Every commission is based on laws, principles and criteria and should be independent and they belong to state but without the interference of state. But the Minority Commission, unfortunately, disappointed us and is not the one which we wanted and recommended, it should be based on law, Mr. Zulfiqar added.

Mr. Kashif Aslam, Deputy Director of National Commission for Justice and Peace highlighted and objected that beside 12 unofficial members we have observed that there are 6 official members in the commission, we have concern on these people that why they are part of this commission; the Paris Principles clearly speaks that these commissions will have no relation with state, this commission should have its role in the proceedings and hearings in favor of incidents that took place against minorities and should be published which didn’t take place.

There is petition submitted in the high court regarding the compassion of this commission and court itself has given directions that it should be passed through Act of Parliament not from Cabinet.  

Mr. Naveed Anthony, Member of Sindh Provincial Assembly of Pakistan People’ Party, in his comments has said that the senior friends of Civil Society have clearly elaborated the function of Minority Commission that this is an independent and a very powerful Commission who has the authority of taking Suo Motto Action against any incident.

While reminding one of his speech in 2020, at Sindh Assembly, Mr. Anthony, stated, that he had recommended Minority Commission in the province of Sindh.

At the end Mr. Kashif Anthony, Coordinator National Commission for Justice and Peace thanked all the distinguished guests and speakers and said that it is our responsibility to work for the prosperity of our country and we should commit ourselves to foster brotherhood, peace, diversity and patriotism among ourselves and in the hearts of our youth.

The curriculum and education can contribute a lot in in aspect, the seminars which NCJP does are indeed bringing awareness among the people and our people not only come to know about their rights but we teach them about their duties as well.

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