LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said in a statement on Monday that it will monitor the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)’s rally to be held in Gujranwala on 16 October.
The Commission said: “As an independent, impartial human rights body, HRCP’s aim in doing so is to ensure that the state upholds and protects all citizens’ fundamental right to freedom of peaceful assembly, as guaranteed under Article 16 of the Constitution and Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Pakistan is a state party.”
HRCP said it believed that the state’s willingness to protect freedom of peaceful assembly was a robust indicator of its commitment to democracy, pluralism and social change. “If Pakistan is to expand the shrinking space available to civil society, it is imperative that citizens in every part of the country are able to express their political opinions collectively and to challenge dominant views without fear of reprisal.”
HRCP expected that no arbitrary restrictions would be placed on rally organizers and participants or on the media when covering the event.