Rights activist Maria Tarana seeks a strong Minorities Commission:

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MIRPUR, (Parliament Times):  Maria Iqbal Tarana former Chairperson Commission on status of women AJK & an eminent Kashmiri human rights activist emphasised that it was high time to have a strong Minorities Commission in the country where all minorities were already enjoying most of their due national rights at par with the majority Muslim community as mentioned in the constitution of Pakistan. In a statement here on Monday, she lauded the Centre for Social Justice and Peoples’ Commission for Minorities Rights for working on the different issues regarding the Minorities rights, in for of different groups.

“I would like to appreciate Peter Jacob, Michelle Chaudhry, Advocates Kalpana Devi, Mr Kohli, A H Nayyar, Rubina Feroz Bhatti , Cecil Chaudhary , I A Rehman , Justice Nasira Iqbal , Kalyan Singh & M Parkash have always stood up for the challenges that have uprising in the minorities commission to make amendments either was for marriage certificate issuance or matters in NADRA registration and they still have vowed to resist the setting up of a toothless National Commission for Minorities as announced by the Federal Minister for Information, Maria said.

“According to the UN guidelines for human rights institutions (Paris Principles), anyone holding a political office cannot be part of this Commission. These Commissions should reflect a political consensus between government and opposition as provided for the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission Act No. XVI of 2012. Various governments in past 30 years had set up such Ad-hoc Minority commissions through administrative powers, which failed to translate into protection of human rights for minorities. Setting up yet another body without powers and resources will defeat the purpose therefore we reject this tokenism”, the rights activist said. It is the time for Pakistan to take a bold decision to form the National Commission of Minorities as like previous, we had formulated National Commission on Status of Women and Child Protection Commission, she concluded.