LAHORE: Speakers at a roundtable conference titled ‘Implementation of Citizens’ Part of Constitution’ on October 14, 2014 urged the implementation of articles of constitution pertaining to fundamental rights of citizens.
The Centre for Civic Education Pakistan (CCEP) organised the roundtable where CCEP Executive Director Zafarullah Khan gave a detailed presentation, highlighting fundamental rights issues faced by the people of Pakistan.
HRCP Director HussainNaqi, Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) Regional Head Salman Abid, Civil Society Network (CSN) President Abdullah Malik, journalists, students, representatives of different civil society and non-government organisations attended the event.
Speaking on the occasion, Zafarullah Khan explained Article 3 to Article 40 of the constitution like elimination of exploitation (Article 3); inviolability of dignity of man (Article 14); freedom of movement (Article 15); right to information (Article 19-A), equality of citizens (Article 25); right to education (25-A); and preservation of language, script and culture (Article 28).
He said that provision of all these fundamental rights to citizens was responsibility of the state as per Article 7. He said that the government and the state have been victims of crises and that this was one of the reasons behind non-implementation of fundamental rights. Lack of political will was another major reason, he added.
Shedding light on constitutional life of Pakistan, he said that whenever military dictators suspended the constitution, our fundamental rights also got suspended. He listed five keys to ensure democratic future like right to vote as per Article 51 (2), right to information as per 19-A, consumer rights, public interest litigation as per Article 184 and Article 199 and right to education as per Article 25-A.
He explained that civic education was awareness about a citizen’s relationship with the state, about rights and duties, democracy, government and civic matters etc.
To read and understand the Urdu version of constitution was very difficult which was one of major reasons behind citizens’ unawareness about their fundamental rights. The people, especially the middle class, did not want only money but they also want respect of their rights from the state, he added.
Salman Abid said that the people think that governments have failed to deliver fundamental rights despite imposing taxes. He also said that the people have many expectations from any government regarding delivery of their rights but that these expectations were not being fulfilled.
Abdullah Malik of Civil Society Network said that the people were deprived of their fundamental rights, urging authorities concerned to ensure implementation of fundamental rights. “We need to start a campaign to build awareness about laws and fundamental rights,” he added.