The Joint Action Committee for Peoples’ Rights, Lahore categorically denies a news item appearing in Daily Jang on 21st August 2022 alleging that a report of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) to the UN Human Rights Council may have been contrary to facts. In contrast, the content of the mentioned report reflects verifiable ground situation vis-à-vis freedom of religion or belief.
Further, the CSJ report is based on facts, which have been properly cited. Besides, the issues covered in the report have been widely discussed, in the courts, parliamentary bodies and media in the country.
The said joint civil society report also makes concrete and workable recommendations for the government with each issue explained. The government should constructively consider these recommendations to help resolve the longstanding issues which are an actual source of embarrassment for the country.
Furthermore, civil society organizations, including CSJ, have already taken part in the Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR) in 2008, 2012 and 2017, as it is mandatory in the United Nations’ procedures. The government of Pakistan has pledged to be part of this review process since 2006 after the induction of the UN Human Rights Council. It became mandatory for every member country of the UN to go through the periodic review after every four and a half year.
The 4th review of Pakistan is due in January 2023, while the government is supposed to submit its report in October 2022. In its report, the government can respond to the issues raised or even act to resolve the same and can seek credit during the session next year. However, if the incidence of violence in the name of religion continues, the government will be held answerable at all competent forums.
As far as the Economic Affairs division is concerned, the Sindh High Court has already held in 2022 the INGOs/ NGOs policy to be without a legal basis and void.
We also reiterate that vibrant participation of civil society organizations helps improve view about Pakistan and its engagement helps improve the conditions for its people. Whereas, living in a state of denial will impede the resolution of these long-standing issues.