Geneva: The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights reviewed Pakistan’s Initial Report on International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Pakistani delegation led by Federal Minister for Human Rights Senator Kamran Michael submitted its initial report on International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to the committee during the Committee’s session held in Geneva on Wednesday. The Committee showed its satisfaction over the implementation of the various provisions of the Convention. The state delegation led by Senator Kamran Michael, who was joined by Ms. Rabiya Javeri Agha, Secretay, Ministry of Human Rights and other officials from the Foreign Service responded satisfactorily to questions raised by the experts of the committee. State delegation informed the Committee that this initial report has been prepared through an inclusive, participatory and consultative process, in which federal and provincial departments as well as all stakeholders, including civil society organizations and NGOs were involved. State delegation successfully responded to the questions and observations of distinguished Experts of the Committee.
Addressing the session, Kamran Michael said we strongly believe that strengthening of democracy, rule of law, culture of accountability, unprecedented freedom of media, emergence of a vibrant civil society and vigilant citizenry would further bring economic prosperity and social equality in Pakistan. He said implementation of any Convention is an ongoing incremental process; our Government is consistently making all endeavors to enforce this important Convention. He said Pakistan is a democratic, moderate and progressive state added that Pakistan is confronted with numerous challenges and endowed with immense opportunities. “Our experience informs us that revival of economy and sustainable economic development is intrinsically linked with the prevailing security environment, both within and without. We have introduced a number of legal as well as administrative measures to counter terrorism and extremism in a comprehensive manner, he added.
Kamran Michael stated that the government of Pakistan under the guidance of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is firmly committed to the welfare of poor masses and had taken measures, which have resulted in decrease in number of those living below the poverty line. He said we are working on a medium term vision 2025 roadmap to transform Pakistan’s economy and address our problem of energy shortage which would lead to sustained economic revival and development. He said the Government of Pakistan has been making efforts through a number of legislative and administrative measures for realization of economic, social and cultural rights of the people of Pakistan. Pakistan has ratified a number of international conventions which directly or indirectly show a resonance with the provisions of ICESCR, he said.
Federal Minister for Human Rights said the Provinces of Pakistan have promulgated a series of legislations which aim to safeguard the economic, social and cultural rights of the Pakistani citizens. He said various policy and legal measures have been taken to strengthen the financial and administrative capacity of provincial governments particularly in the areas of social security, housing, health care and education. Besides, Treaty Implementation Cells have been established in all Provinces to oversee and coordinate effective implementation of the ratified conventions.
Kamran Michael said Pakistan launched the National Action Plan on Human Rights in February 2016 after extensive consultations with all stakeholders including the civil society. Under this Action Plan, the Government has committed to review existing legislation with a view to ensure that they are in line with our international human rights obligations and are not discriminatory in any manner. In line with the Action Plan, the National Commission for Minorities has been strengthened. National Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been set up and National Commission for Rights of Children is being established. A National Task Force also working for implementation of the Action Plan. A National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) has been established.
He said the incumbent Government of Pakistan has a definite agenda for women development and their empowerment. Special measures have been instituted for women to ensure their full participation in all walks of life, he added.