HRCP moot takes stock of Constitution on golden jubilee

Tuesday, Aug 29, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) chairperson Hina Jilani said that the Constitution could function as a living document only if Parliament had the wisdom and foresight to ensure that it evolved along with society and the state, says a press release.

At a conference organised to mark 50 years of the 1973 Constitution, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)’s secretary-general Harris Khalique said that this was an opportunity to take stock of the Constitution as a social contract between citizens and the state.

Academic Dr Naazir Mahmood said that the Constitution needed to reflect the rights of children, youth and persons living with disabilities.

Senior politician Afrasiab Khattak explained that the contradiction between the de jure and de facto state and ‘majoritarian tyranny’ had marginalized ‘peripheries’ such as Balochistan and former FATA.

Public policy expert Abdullah Dayo said that a second charter of democracy was required that involved both mainstream and smaller nationalist political parties to build trust in and commitment to federalism.

Rehman Bajwa, chief coordinator of the All Government Employees Grand Alliance (Pakistan), added that the Constitution did not expressly protect the rights of informal labour.

Journalist Munizae Jahangir questioned the restrictions on freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Constitution.

Former National Assembly member Daniyal Aziz criticized the role of the judiciary in supporting constitutional transgressions and recommended that the Council of Common Interests be strengthened through parties’ consensus.