Senate body announces roadmap for protecting freedom of expression

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights has announced the roadmap for protection of freedom of expression and said that there will be public hearing on the matter saying that freedom of expression is getting equal to facing death in the country.

The meeting of Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights chaired by Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar was held in Islamabad on Thursday. The committee while expressing concern over restrains on certain freedoms of citizen declared it clear violation of the constitution and announced that parliament will take every possible step for protection of the expression. The committee said that all content concerning minorities in textbooks should be reviewed and suggested that any material spreading hate should be expunged from the syllabus. The committee further said these suggestions emanated from a discussion on the state of minority communities in the country. We lie on international forums when we say that Pakistan’s government is working towards providing our minorities their rights, Khokhar said. Years have passed since the Gojra incident and the Joseph Colony incident without progress in the cases, claims were made about arresting the culprits and bringing them to justice, he added. However, the men arrested in the cases were eventually set free.

Responding to the statement a representative of the Punjab police briefed the meeting on the Joseph Colony incident. The police investigated the Joseph Colony incident and made arrests in the case. However 63 members of the community went to court and recorded statements in favour of the culprits which forced the court to set them free, the representative told the meeting.

The committee commented that culprits in the case were set free because of the lack of evidence against them. The system has continuously failed to safeguard the rights of minorities, Khokhar regretted. If the police had support from political figures and the government, they would be able to give better results, the police representative retorted.

The News