ISLAMABAD: Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman and Member of the National Assembly (MNA), was on Tuesday unanimously elected chairperson of the NA Standing Commit­tee on Human Rights.

This is Mr Bhutto-Zar­dari’s first stint in parliament, after contesting and winning the election from NA-200.

He took to social media to thank lawmakers across “party lines” for “unanimously” electing him to the post. “Would like to thank all members across party lines for unanimously electing me as chairperson of the human rights committee of National Assembly of Pakistan. Human Rights are the foundation stone of any democracy. we must ensure every Pakistanis human rights,” he tweeted.

According to parliamentary procedure, his name was proposed by PPP MNA Shazia Marri, also a member of the NA Standing Commit­tee on Human Rights, as chairman and seconded by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA Fouzia Behram.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari was nominated as a member of the committee on human rights when NA Speaker Asad Qaiser finally constituted the remaining 36 standing and functional committees of the National Assembly in February, completing the process nearly six months after the current assembly came into existence. Till then the National Assembly was functioning with only two committees.

The PPP chairman is the member of only one committee. His father and former president Asif Ali Zardari has not been included in any of the NA committees.

Later, Mr Bhutto-Zardari personally thanked members of the committee, especially Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari for her presence in the meeting, and sought her guidance and support.

He emphasised the importance of human rights in Pakistan and assured the members of his bipartisan role and remaining focused only on resolving human rights issues.

The minister and members one by one congratulated him and assured him of their support. They also brought to his attention human rights issues relating to minorities, children, women, transgender people and missing persons.

Also, PTI MNA Sajid Khan was unanimously elected chairman of the Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions.

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2019