ISLAMABAD (Staff Report): The National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights convened a meeting today at Parliament House Islamabad, presided over by Ms. Mehreen Razzaq Bhutto, MNA.

During the meeting, the Committee expressed serious displeasure with the performance of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) and the Provincial Commissions on the status of women, citing concerns over the prevailing grave situation of women’s rights. The Committee issued a displeasure notice to the NCSW, while commending the Baluchistan Commission for its efforts in addressing women’s issues such as water policy and gender-related matters. However, the Committee expressed dissatisfaction with the Sindh Commission’s lack of preparedness and the physical absence of the Secretary of the Punjab Commission from the meeting.

The Committee directed the NCSW and Provincial Commissions to submit a comprehensive report on the salaries, perks, and privileges of their members. It also recommended that vacant positions should be promptly filled at both national and provincial levels, and the federal secretary should play a role in the election or appointment of members and chairpersons.

Addressing the dissatisfaction of coal miners in District Harnai, Baluchistan, regarding an Agreement executed with Frontier Corps and the decision of the Cabinet of Baluchistan dated 10-02-2015, the Committee expressed concern over the condition of coal miners and the prevailing security issues. It directed the D.G. Baluchistan Mines and the Ministry of Interior to submit a report on the issue, including a copy of the tripartite Agreement. The Chairperson also raised concerns about the lack of meetings held since 2015 and requested a comprehensive report on this matter for the next meeting.

Regarding the “Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) (Amendment) Bill, 2023” moved by Ms. Aliya Kamran, MNA, the Honorable mover recommended changing the name from transgender to intersex and proposed the inclusion of a medical board to determine the sex of the child. Additionally, rights in inheritance, voting, education, and social well-being of these individuals should be included in the Bill. The Committee directed to hold another meeting on August 1st, in consultation with the Law Ministry, to further discuss the proposed amendments.

Under the agenda of protecting women and young girls from abuse, objectification, indecent portrayal in social media apps/entertainment industry, and other modern forms of exploitation & violence; causes, consequences & the cure; the FIA representatives informed the Committee that 99% of female complaints are dealt with by female officers. The FIA cybercrime wing apprised that the complaint system has been made easier and more female-friendly. The Committee appreciated the FIA’s efforts in tackling cybercrime and bullying but directed the filling of vacant positions at the earliest and the elimination of salary disparity among National/Provincial Commissions and Secretariat employees.

The meeting was attended by Ms. Zeb Jaffar, Ms. Shamsun Nisa, Mr. Naveed Aamir Jeeva, Ms. Kishwer Zehra, Mr. Mohsin Dawar, Mr. Qadir Khan Mandokhail, Ms. Shaista Pervaiz Malik MNAs, besides the Hon. Chairperson Ms. Mehreen Razaq Bhutto.

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