Karachi:A reception in honor of the newly elected members of the General Council and office bearers of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) was organized by the National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan (NTUF) at the Federation Office. It was attended by representatives of various trade unions, political and social activists.
Expressing his views on the occasion, Nasir Mansoor, Secretary-General, National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan (NTUF), congratulated elected leaders from Sindh of HRCP and said that hardworking activists’ leading position in HRCP was an encouraging sign and will further strengthen the ongoing workers and peasants’ movement. He says these elected HRCP representatives are the pragmatists who have spent their entire lives fighting for the restoration of democratic rights in the country, struggle to eliminate the atrocities against minorities and women, and the inhumane treatment of workers.
He further said that under newly elected leadership, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), like its predecessor Asma Jahangir, would be a beacon for the people in the current political and economic crisis. All these elected officials had risen from the working-class roots to this point today and believe that they should prioritize the rights of the working class as human rights in their action plan.
Asad Butt, a senior human rights defender and newly elected Central Co-Chairperson of the HRCP, said that he had been struggling for more than half a century and during all of that duration he had worked closely with the oppressed and downtrodden masses. He said that all oppressed had to move together as our interests were the same. Whatever our views, we were basically workers of different categories. They should try hard to bring in more people from the working classes to leading ranks, which would increase their power to protect the rights.
Qazi Khidr, the newly elected Vice-Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Sindh chapter, said: “I am very proud to be among the comrades who have either the status of teachers for me and the others who are trusted partners in my struggle. “I promise in their presence that I will take the difficult path of action in a difficult country like Pakistan, not only just rhetoric and lip service.” He said unity between the workers and the oppressed was the need of the hour. If the oppressed showed their solidarity, they could become an indispensable power and make a society based on peace and social justice.
Sadia Baloch, a researcher and a newly elected member of the General Council, said that we all struggled in extremely difficult circumstances and she especially thanked Qazi Khidr, Nasir Mansoor, and Zahra for their all-out support. The representatives of the NTUF and HBWWF were playing an important role in uniting the people and the representatives of the organizations also deserve congratulations on her election.
Saeed Baloch, an elected member of the General Council of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and general secretary of the Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum, said that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, political activists like us were worried but ideological teachers like Usman Baloch Baloch, Comrade Lal Bakhsh Rind and comrade Rahim Azad not only pulled us out of the frustration but inspired to actively take part in new struggles. There were difficult stages in that journey of struggle but it never faltered at any moment. We were grateful to all the friends and comrades who trusted us. We will never give up the fight against attacks on human rights and all forms of oppression in the country.
“It is an honor for me to participate in this program,” said Comrade Usman Baloch, a senior labor leader. Never before had there been such an event involving only the working class. Nasir Mansoor and Zahra Khan were organizing the workers and connecting them with other oppressed sections of the society. In the past, human rights movements were rarely led by persons from the working classes, but I pay tribute to our newly elected representative of HRCP who had risen from vulnerable sections of the society. “I hope that these people will give the workers and farmers all the rights which envisaged in our constitution,” he said.
Zahra Khan, general secretary of the Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF), said that only a laborer can speak for a laborer and only a laborer can fight for a laborer. We assure all possible cooperation to the elected representatives. And we believe that whether it was harassment, gender discrimination, transgender rights, or enforced disappearances, HRCP elected representatives will address all of these issues in a better way as they did in past.
Young leader Zainab Mansoor said that intention depended on action and change happened as a result of the action. The rich could never really fight for the rights of the working people because they were not aware of their problems. It eas therefore imperative that the working class itself be able to assert its rights through the power of its own unity.
Dr. Asghar Dasti, a well-known intellectual and lecturer in the Department of International Relations, said that so far he had been given nine show-cause notices for raising his voice for human rights on social media, but he was not afraid. He said that in the whole world, a teacher had to teach only three courses while here in Pakistan a teacher was forced to deliver six-course. There was also a need to speak out against injustice in educational institutions.
Finally, the president of the federation Rafiq Baloch said that human rights and the federation were two sides of the same struggle. Other speakers included Akhtar Baloch and Prof. Tauseef Ahmed, both are elected members of the general Council of HRCP.
On this occasion, the revolutionary leader Zubair Rehman also recited poems of Faiz Ahmed Faiz.