ISLAMABAD – Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Tuesday said that despite many challenges on different fronts, Pakistan remained steadfast with its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.
In her presentation, the foreign minister highlighted Pakistan’s progress towards human rights elevation, including the ratification of core human rights treaties, establishment of the National Commission on Human Rights, and legislation on the rights of women and children.
She emphasised that the government was committed to upholding the rights of its citizens as well as to fulfilling its international human rights obligations.
The presentation of the report was part of the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, process of the Human Rights Council, which covers all the member states of the United Nations.
Some 86 countries participated in Pakistan’s UPR and acknowledged the efforts made by the government for the promotion and protection of human rights. The second cycle of the UPR commenced in May 2012 during which a number of countries, including India, UK, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa, had presented their Human Rights reports.
In the current session, Japan, Sri Lanka and Switzerland are also presenting their national reports. The foreign minister was leading a delegation comprising Advisor to Prime Minister on Human Rights Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Advisor to Prime Minster on National Harmony Dr Paul Bhatti, National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights Chairman Riaz Fatyana and MNA Dr Araish Kumar.
Members of the delegation took the floor to respond to the comments and recommendations, made by delegations of other countries, as part of the review on a wide range of issues including rights of women, children and minorities, independence of the judiciary and issues relating to the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights.
Shortly after addressing the UN Human Rights Council, the Foreign Minister proceeded to Egypt on a three-day official visit where she would hold talks with Egyptian leadership.
In Cairo, she would felicitate the first democratically elected President of Arab Republic of Egypt Mohamad Morsi on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari.
She will deliver a special message of congratulations to the Egypt president from his Pakistani counterpart on assuming the highest office.
According to the Foreign Office, she will convey the invitation of the president to President Morsi to attend the D-8 (Developing Eight) Summit scheduled for November 19-21, 2012 in Islamabad.
President Zardari has expressed his keen interest in inviting his Egyptian counterpart to the summit. Both the leaders will meet at Islamabad to discuss the strengthening of the bilateral relations between the two countries.
The foreign minister will also meet her Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Kamel Amr to discuss bilateral relations, forthcoming Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting and ways to further augment the brotherly relations between the two countries.
A delegation of Egyptian businessmen and entrepreneurs will also attend the D-8 Summit at Islamabad to explore new investment opportunities in the country.
The D-8 is a group of developing countries with large Muslim populations that have formed an economic development alliance. It consists of Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia and Malaysia.