Articles

Articles on issues faced by NGOs or issues on which NGOs are working would be placed in this category.


Spotlight on Pakistan amid re-election to UN Human Rights Council

Lahore, Islamabad, October 14, 2020: Pakistan’s re-election into the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday has put the country’s commitment to promoting and protecting human rights under the spotlight for the next three years. Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) and Group Development Pakistan (GDP) congratulate Pakistan for winning a seat with an overwhelming majority, securing 163 votes in the 193-member UN General Assembly. This is an opportunity for the country to reflect on its human rights record, protect the rights of women, children, religious minorities, and other vulnerable and excluded […]


A Success for Transgender Community in Pakistan

Safeer Ullah Khan Transgender community faces multiple challenges in Pakistan. It is only recently that they have been recognized as a separate gender by the State of Pakistan, and allowed to register themselves as citizens. ‘Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018 was another significant achievement in the legal sphere. Though these are no mean achievements, the discrimination against transgender community is too deep rooted in the society to go with mere enactment of a law. Our recent history is choked with horrid cases of gender discrimination. Transgender persons were attacked, many got killed or tortured, and a few could […]


Criminal Responsibility and Pakistani Laws

Wajahat Ali Malik The term criminal responsibility refers to a person’s ability to understand his or her conduct at the time a crime is committed. In other words, what a person is thinking when he commits a crime, or what result is anticipated or expected when a crime is committed. Laws define crimes in terms of an act or omission (actus reas) and a mental state (mens reas), so criminal responsibility relates to the mental state element of a crime. In order to be convicted of a particular crime, there must be proof that the person engaged in the alleged […]


The Juvenile Justice System Act 2018 – An Overview

by Wajahat Ali Malik On May 18 2018, the President of Pakistan approved the Juvenile Justice System Act (JJSA) 2018, which was passed by the Parliament earlier this year. JJSA 2018 overcomes the shortcomings which were present in Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000, and provides a much better system for criminal justice and social reintegration for juvenile offenders. The Act defines a child according to the definition of UNCRC as ‘a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years’. JS Act 2018 classifies the criminal offences into following three different categories: 1) Minor, which means an offence for which maximum […]


World Population Day and Pakistan

by Ali Hashaam Asif Peace and Justice Network Overpopulation is a global crisis and Pakistan is slated among the most overpopulated countries. It is the sixth most populous country in the world. The rate of population increase is 1.2 per cent a year, which means the population would double in 58 years. Unchecked population growth in Pakistan is one of the serious challenges that the country faces today. A rapidly growing population creates economic and social problems related to housing, education, health, transport, water and power. The very high rate of population growth lowers the per capita income, which causes […]


You cannot love and respect your mother and abuse others’!

By Taneem Ahmar Having long contained within me the anger and rage, I feel unable to do so anymore. I can’t help but be vocal and express myself in no uncertain terms. I wish to yell and shout that I am not going to tolerate or be a passive sufferer when men use swear words, specially the ‘maa-behan’ ki gaalian (swear words invloving ‘mother-sister’). This goes for all men. But even more for some men I know – family, friends and colleagues, who unashamedly use their foul mouths. What to talk of embarrassment, they seem to take some warped pride […]


Attitudinal, environmental barriers hinder transgender people, women & PWDs from observing general elections 2018

Preliminary Findings of Experiential Study by Coalition for Inclusive Pakistan (CIP) ISLAMABAD, September 25, 2018: Despite progressive legislative and policy measures to facilitate participation of transgender people, women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the electoral processes, these individuals faced attitudinal and environmental barriers in the exercise of their right to vote and to observe elections on an equal basis with others during General Elections 2018. Preliminary findings of experiential study conducted by the Coalition for Inclusive Pakistan, (CIP) suggest that voters with disabilities and disabled election observers largely found polling stations inaccessible but the attitudes of police, security staff […]


Writing a Professional Email

by Safeer Ullah Khan, and Ashley Barr Writing a professional email is considered a very simple task, and we often believe that there is no need to get any lessons for this basic business requirement. However, we have all received emails that do not make any sense or have missed some of the most important information. These issues are especially problematic when sending emails to donors or important partners. Below are some guidelines for writing a proper professional email. Be Clear about Your Purpose: You need to be very clear what you want to achieve through the email you are […]


Women and Care-giving in Pakistan

By Safeer Ullah Khan Culture plays a very important role in setting gender norms, and unfortunately, culture is heavily tilted against women. As the division of labor is very clear – man is supposed to earn, and woman is supposed to take care of the house. Man earns, so he has the control over finances. Woman takes up the role of the care giver, which is inherently unpaid job, so woman remains dependent on man (on father in her early life, on husband in her middle life, and on son in her later life). In rural areas, she has added […]


What is wrong with KP Domestic Violence Bill, 2016

by Safeer Ullah Khan with inputs from Benazir Jatoi and Valerie Khan   Bad laws are more dangerous than no law at all Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the only province that does not have a law that deals with domestic violence. Though a bill was prepared a year ago, but the coalition of right wing parties that rule the province unnecessarily sent this bill for review by Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). I say ‘unnecessarily’ because provincial assemblies are not legally/constitutionally bound to get CII’s opinion on any bill. It is interesting to note that in the four years of the […]


FAFEN Urges Parliament to Address Critical Weaknesses in Elections Bill, 2017

ISLAMABAD, August 16, 2017: Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) urges the Parliament to address critical weaknesses in the proposed Elections Bill, 2017 to enhance independence and authority of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), repeal regressive measures to curb transparency, improve procedure of the appointment of caretaker governments and dilute monopolies of a few families on political organization. An exhaustive parliamentary discussion is required on the proposed electoral reforms in an effort to enact a legislation that reflects the aspiration of all political actors in the country. This will also potentially increase people’s trust over election system. The Elections […]


Jirga System – is there a way forward?

by Safeer Ullah Khan Public opinion seems thoroughly divided on Jirga system (Panchayat in Punjab). On the one hand, it has been scorned at by the modern and liberal people; the honorable courts have actually banned it. On the other hand, the general public especially people living beyond metropolitan cities continue to rely on this centuries old system to resolve their conflicts. Both the groups are right to some extent. The Jirga system has very serious flaws; it is always presided over by a feudal lord and decisions are often heavily biased and sometimes outright disgusting as in the case of revenge […]


Child Marriage Will Cost Developing Countries Trillions of Dollars by 2030, Says World Bank/ICRW Report

In a set of 25 countries (including Pakistan) for which detailed analysis was conducted, at least one in three women marry before the age of 18, and one in five women have their first child before the age of 18. “Child brides are often robbed of their rights to safety and security, to health and education, and to make their own life choices and decisions,” said Quentin Wodon, the World Bank’s Project Director and co-author of the report. “Child marriage not only puts a stop to girls’ hopes and dreams. It also hampers efforts to end poverty and achieve economic […]


Still left behind: Pathways to inclusive education for girls with disabilities

Girls with disabilities are among the world’s most marginalised groups of society, resulting from social norms and cultural bias around gender and disability. Those agencies committed to gender equity in education overlook the specific situation of and added barriers faced by girls and women with disabilities, and those who are committed to disability inclusion and equity fail to apply a gender perspective. As a result, girls with disabilities have limited educational opportunities. The aim of this research was to provide a synthesis of the understanding of barriers to education for girls with disabilities and bring together evidence of effective or […]


How to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week 2017

by Irshad Danish World Breastfeeding Week is observed every year from 1-7 August, across the globe including Pakistan to put the spotlight on the importance of breastfeeding to save and strengthen children’s lives. WBW came up for the first time in 1991 with the goal to protect and promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life which yields tremendous life ling health benefits, provides critical nutrients a child needs and protection from life threatening diseases and fostering mental and physical growth. The World Breastfeeding Week’s 25th year in 2017 theme is “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together.” #WBW2017 will call on […]


Majority of women face online harassment in Pakistan – DRF

By Safeer Ullah Khan Women are a tiny minority in the cyber world of Pakistan. More than 75 % of Facebook users are men. Pakistani women are facing online harassment, however we did not know the extent to which this was happening in the cyber world of Pakistan till Digital Rights Foundation or DRF conducted a detailed survey around on this important issue in Pakistan. They interviewed nearly 1800 women students and teachers of various universities. This survey helps us get a fairly good idea of how deep rooted this problem is, and what, if any, remedies we have. DRF, […]


Open Parliament – Bridging the gap between citizens and elected representatives

Parliament Watch and Reforms (PWR) is a project of Free and Fair Elections Network (FAFEN). Funded by the European Commission (EC), PWR strives to generate an objective discourse and action on performance of elected representatives and legislative bodies contributing to the parliamentary reforms. FAFEN began directly observing proceedings of the National Assembly in December 2008. This unique initiative produced a valuable set of information on the performance of the Lower House and its members. In July 2011, the direct observation was extended to the Senate and the four Provincial Assemblies. PWR website is an interesting portal for those interested in […]


What’s wrong with Punjab [Child] Marriage Restraint Act 2015

by Syed Miqdad Mehdi The fact that our policy-makers thought about this issue and passed this bill should be appreciated. However, I am surprised that the word ‘child does not appear in the title of the bill. It now reads as the Punjab Marriage Restraint Act 2015. Furthermore, this law is not in accordance with international commitments or the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children or the rights that are given by the Constitution of Pakistan. The definition that has been given in Section 2(a) of the act, regarding who exactly is a child, is flawed. According to it, […]


Transport – one of the main hurdles in girls’ education

by Safeer U Khan “Give me an educated mother, I shall promise you the birth of a civilized, educated nation”. Though this saying of Napoleon Bonaparte has become a cliché now, yet it remains as relevant as ever. Girls’ education is all the more important because they are the ones who are going to bring up our next generations. In recent years, I had the opportunity to interact with various communities in remote villages, and discuss girls’ education with men, women and girls themselves in district Chakwal. I have drawn two conclusions: It is a myth that people are against girls’ education […]


Breast Cancer – something we should not ignore

by Arshad Mahmood I didn’t think much about breast cancer until last year when a close relative, who was living a remarkably healthy life, was suddenly asked by her family doctor for further investigations to confirm whether she had breast cancer. The news sent out a shockwave across the family. A happy family with a routine life was suddenly faced with an uphill task of visiting Lahore almost every week for the investigations and later, when it was confirmed, for treatment. This disturbing period resulted in the husband experiencing a heart attack. It was a year-long painful and exhausting exercise […]