Rights commission set up, to become operational soon

Published February 14, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The government has finally created the much-awaited National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) for the first time in the country’s history and has nominated a full-time chairman and members for the commission. The NCHR will begin functioning as soon as President Mamnoon Hussain gives his approval.

The parliamentary committee on NCHR met on Friday and approved the name of retired Justice Ali Nawaz Chohan to head the commission and one member from each province and minorities.

The members are: Kishwar Shaheen Awan (Punjab), Anees Haroon (Sindh), Dr Yahiya Ahmed (Khyber Pakhtun­khwa), Fazila Alyani (Balochistan), Chaudhry Mohammed Shafiq (Islam­abad), and Ishaq Masih Naz (Minority).

Also read: Three in race for office of NCHR chairperson

One member from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) is yet to be nominated.

The committee announced on Friday that the chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) will be an ex-officio member of the commission.

Talking to Dawn, the head of the committee Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah said: “All the names, including that of the chairman and commission members have been unanimously approved by the four-member parliamentary committee.”

He said the committee had sent the names to President Mamnoon Hussain for his final nod. “We hope the president will notify the commission soon,” he said.

NCHR will have inquiry powers equivalent to civil courts

Mr Shah said the committee had interviewed the chairman-select as well as other proposed members of the commission nearly two months ago. Since the nominated chairman was abroad, he was interviewed via video link.

He said the Ministry of Law and Justice had been tasked to advertise the unfilled position of a member from Fata to seek probables for the vacant slot.

He said that after receiving the names the ministry would send them to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah and both of them would finalise at least three names, of which one would be selected by the parliamentary committee.

Being signatory to the United Nations charter, it was obligatory for Pakistan to establish the NCHR. Efforts were being made to form the commission for over seven years. The proposal to set up the commission was first presented in 2008, under the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government, to the parliamentary committee which was headed by Riaz Fatiyana at the time, but nothing materialised until 2011. In 2012, a bill for the creation of the commission was passed by the National Assembly and the Senate.

The NCHR will have vast powers of holding investigations and trials. Its functions will include inquiring into violations of human rights at its own initiative or on a complaint, interventions into court proceedings to investigate allegations of violations by someone seeking to become a party to the case, visiting jails or other places of detention, reviewing factors — including acts of terrorism — that inhibit human rights, as well as creating awareness on human rights, submitting independent reports on the state of human rights in Pakistan and developing a “national plan of action for the promotion and protection of human rights”.

With the establishment of the NCHR, every citizen will have the right to register a complaint over cases of human rights violations. The commission, while inquiring into complaints, will have all the powers of a civil court and can summon any individual, public or private department.

Published in Dawn February 14th , 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play


Hoping for miracles
Updated 26 Sep 2021

Hoping for miracles

Pakistan will be exposed to international recrimination if the Taliban revert to their old ways.


Updated 26 Sep 2021

Intransigent Taliban

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan has delivered an effective speech at the UN General Assembly session detailing the salient...
26 Sep 2021

Deadly misinformation

THE distinction between ‘fake’ and ‘authentic’ news is now a concept impossible to escape. In an...
26 Sep 2021

Covid arrests

THE unilateral decision taken by Karachi’s East Zone police to arrest citizens without Covid vaccination cards ...
25 Sep 2021

NAB controversy

THE completion of the four-year term of NAB chairman Javed Iqbal early next month has afforded Prime Minister Imran...
Cabinet ‘inclusivity’
Updated 25 Sep 2021

Cabinet ‘inclusivity’

Voices are being raised questioning when the much-hyped inclusivity the group had talked about will materialise.
25 Sep 2021

Quorum malady

LACK of quorum has become a chronic problem for the present National Assembly which is in the process of becoming a...