On Tuesday, September 12, The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights has taken a significant step by adopting a recommendation to establish a National Coordination Committee within the Ministry of Human Rights. This committee would include representatives from all provinces and police departments to formulate standard operating procedures (SOPs) for effectively addressing issues causing suffering to minorities.
During the meeting, the committee condemned the recent vandalism of churches and homes in Jaranwala and discussed rehabilitation efforts for those affected by the destructive incident. It was emphasized that despite the 18th Amendment devolving minority protection to the provinces, the Human Rights Ministry still plays a crucial role in collaborating with relevant stakeholders, including the police, religious leaders, and minority representatives, to create SOPs.
Senator Irfanul Haq Siddiqui noted that the recommendations primarily focused on law enforcement agencies, but stressed the importance of sensitizing the public to tolerance and democratic values.
The committee recognized that such incidents often arise due to personal enmity, resulting in widespread destruction. Senator Seemee Ezdi expressed concerns about the lack of a concrete solution and urged stricter measures against the misuse of blasphemy laws.
Caretaker Federal Minister for Human Rights Khalil George acknowledged concerns about the delayed aid to affected communities due to communication issues. He reiterated the government's commitment to addressing the situation and improving the enforcement of human rights in the country.
The committee also expressed repeated concerns about the abuse of blasphemy laws to settle personal scores and called for a detailed report on individuals detained under these laws. Additionally, the committee discussed the need for a subsequent briefing on the right to bail for countless women currently on trial and detained in jail.
The meeting was adjourned abruptly due to the sudden death of Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed, and the committee expressed its deep sorrow over this loss, unanimously passing a condolence resolution in his honor. The meeting was attended by several senators and senior officers from relevant departments.