Tuesday, September 05, 2006

HRCP clarifies

The Sept. 1 countrywide strike to protest the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti was supported by opposition parties, sundry organisations - and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

The HRCP's endorsement of a strike was contrary to its purpose and seemingly undermined the tremendous work carried out over the years. I e-mailed Asma Jahangir, Chairperson of the HRCP, requesting her to explain the HRCP's position. Below are excerpts from the correspondence:

Cyril Almeida
Dear Ms. Jehangir,

I have had great respect for the work of the HRCP and the manner in
which it has served the people of Pakistan. However, the HRCP's recent
endorsement of the countrywide strike to protest the killing of Nawab
Akbar Bugti has left me bemused and distressed.

Can you explain the reason for the HRCP's support for the strike? In
particular how did HRCP square its commitment to the ordinary people
of Pakistan with a strike that compromised their economic and social

Furthermore, while the HRCP was right to condemn the killing of Nawab
Bugti, by endorsing a strike called by the MMA and ARD the
organisation has called into question its impartiality. Would you not
accept that the average Pakistan will perceive that the HRCP has waded
into the muck of Pakistani politics, instead of staying above it as it
ought to?

I look forward to your response.


To: Cyril Almeida
Dear Cyril,

You are absolutely correct and right. I myself was shocked to see a
statement from Karachi on an issue which is fundamental to HRCP. It
transpired later that this statement was issued by a partner organisation of
Joint Action Committee of which we are a member but were not aware of this
decision. This is my understanding from our Karachi colleagues.


Asma Jahangir

No comments: