ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari took the charge of here office here on Monday and held a high level meeting of officials of the Ministry.
The officials briefed the Minister about the projects and performance of the Ministry. The Minister took keen interest in the projects, raised number of questions and asked officials to improve their performance.
She also strongly condemned the decision of the Dutch government to indulge one of their parliamentarians and provide him space to exhibit blasphemous cartoons of our Prophet (PBUH), which injure the sentiments of the Muslims across the globe. Dr Mazari said this action was a clear violation of the human rights of Muslims in Europe as this action is in violation of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
While guaranteeing Freedom of Expression, Article 10 of this Convention states everyone has the right to freedom of expression. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection or rights of others.
Apart from The Netherlands, other EU countries are also not only signatories to this European Convention but have limitations placed on the abuse of freedom of expression enshrined in their own Constitutions. For example Article 11 of the French Constitution states inter alia, that: “Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.”
The Norwegian Constitution, in Article 100, declares: “There shall be liberty of the Press. No person may be punished for any writing, whatever its contents, which he has caused to be printed or published, unless he willfully and manifestly has either himself shown or incited others to disobedience to the laws, contempt of religion, morality or the constitutional powers or resistance to their orders, or has made false and defamatory accusations against anyone. These are just two examples.
Dr Mazari made the point that while European states have immediately imprisoned those, who in their “freedom of expression”, question the veracity of historic events which targeted people of a certain faith in Europe, it is unfortunate that Islam and Muslims do not get the same protection of their human rights as citizens of European states.
She hoped the Europeans would also evolve a sense of justice, fair play and respect for their Muslim minorities that they preach so avidly to others. We are committed to ensuring the rights enshrined in our Constitution for all citizens including our non-Muslim citizens. We would like to see the EU members do the same.—APP