Organisation to fight for rights in N. Areas
26 November 2006
Islamabad: A group of young lawyers has teamed up to fight against what they called violation of human rights, including the freedom of expression and self-rule in Bloristan (Gilgit-Baltistan). They have also vowed to fight domestic violence against women, children and workers. They have formed an organisation called the ‘Lawyers for Human Rights’. Advocate Ehsan Ali, former secretary-general of the Northern Areas High Court Bar Association, said the organisation would wage struggle against what he called rampant violations of human rights in the strategically important region for over half a century. Citing a weak political system and absence of democratic institutions as root causes of the state of affairs, Mr Ali, who is also chairman of the Labour Party of Bloristan, said that the new organisation would struggle for political and other basic rights of the 1.5 million people of the region. He alleged that Pakistan, which was a signatory to the UN Charter on Human Rights, had been violating the statute by denying all political, economic and basic rights, including the right to self-governance, to the people of Bloristan. “There is a virtual ban on political activities in the area; political leaders and workers are harassed and persecuted and implicated in false cases even for holding peaceful rallies against load-shedding, price hike and unemployment,” he said. On the other hand, he said, the government patronised and promoted sectarian elements. He said that democratic and progressive forces needed to unite on a single platform to fight for the basic rights of people in the region.