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Event Title: Senator Walid Iqbal, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights Presiding over a Meeting of The Committee at Parliament House Islamabad

Event Date: 2023-06-02

The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights sought from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the details of Pakistani prisoners abroad, including the 4 detainees and their report of release in Guntanamobe in a chronological order. The committee was apprised that the two detainees namely Rabbani brothers, and Majid Khan were released in February 2023. The Rabbani brothers were repatriated to Pakistan as free citizens. The committee while expressing concern over the harassment of Pakistani women in the American NGO working in the health sector in Pakistan, the committee remarked that if these incidents had happened in the United States, would there been a similar silence, The Committee expressed recommendation to the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Economic Affairs that all private and public institutions to form Internal Harassment Committee. It was contended that according to international agreements, these people should be given the right to a transparent trial.

The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights was held at the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Senator Walid Iqbal. Senator Syed Waqar Mehdi, Abida Azeem, Falak Naaz Chitrali, Dr. Humayun and Senator Seemee Ezdi were present in the meeting.

Federal Secretary for Human Rights, Foreign Ministry officials, and others concerned officials also participated in the committee. Foreign Ministry officials told the committee that the Pakistani Rabbani brother imprisoned in Guntanamobe has reached Pakistan on 24th February 2023 .He said that now he is in Karachi. Senator Seeme Ezdi  said that he has been in jail for 21 years without charges to which the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the United States had told Pakistan about Rabbani Brother Wager that its citizens are in Guantamo Bay. Senator Humayun Mohmand said that it is a shame that until the senator raised this issue, the government abandoned its citizens and no one asked. Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said that in 2008, he took a delegation to America and went to meet Aafia. It was also debated that 1.2 million dollars from the government was consumed for the lawyer in Aafia's case. Senator Waqar Mehdi said that the Rabbani brothers should be called to the committee to tell about themselves.The committee was apprised that Majid khan has been living in Central America and has not come to Pakistan. He was been imprisoned for 19 years but now realesed however he didn’t return to Pakistan although he enjoy the status of Pakistani Citizen. Officials of the foreign ministry told the committee that the USA embassy has informed that there is no longer any Pakistani in Guantanamo Bay. Mushahid Hussain Syed said what is the citizenship of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, who was arrested in Karachi, Pakistan. The committee debated that Should information be given about the Pakistanis who are imprisoned abroad and why it took so long to release the 4 Pakistanis imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.

Mushahid Hussain Syed said that Pakistan has never demanded from NATO about the loss of life in Pakistan during the war, that compensation should be given for the innocent people who have been killed. He said that it is about giving them compensation, but Pakistan has never made a demand about it.

The issue of sexual harassment of female employees of DKT-Pakistan an international Non Governmental Organisation was taken into consideration. Women victims of sexual harassment in an NGO called DKT appeared before the committee. Chairman Walid Iqbal said that the law to protect women from workplace harassment in Pakistan has been in place since 2010. Many female employees have complained about DKT, sexual harassment was confirmed in the internal inquiry report of DKT, so far five women have filed a written complaint against this NGO. Harassment has been going on in this NGO for five to seven years. We have complained to the administration but no action has been taken. In this way, an endless series of harassment has started and no one is stopping it. After the matter came to the media, the Human Rights Committee has taken notice, a former employee of DKT told the committee that the funding of the NGOs is also done through some inappropriate means which also give grounds to such harrasments. The head of DKT in Pakistan presented his position in front of the committee and said that now the Harassment Committee has been established. It was observed that not forming the committee is a violation of the Harassment Act.

The standing committee passed a resolution condemning the incidents of May 9. The resolution said that the committee condemns the attacks on May 9, which surrounded military and civilian installations. It was resolved Strong defense institutions are part of a strong democratic system and action  should be taken against the people involved. It was resolved that According to international agreements, these people should be given the right to a transparent trial.