KARACHI: The government is committed to solving the working class and it would uphold all the international commitments and treaties, said President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi here on Wednesday.
Speaking at a meeting with a delegation of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) including its Director Karamat Ali and Joint Director Zulfiqar Shah at Governor’s House Karachi, Dr Alvi said that the PTI government has already initiated a number of welfare programmes like Health Cards, Ihsas Programme and reformed Benazir Income Support Programme for poor, which are also focused on working class.
Dr Alvi assured the PILER delegation that he would ask the relevant departments in federal and provincial governments to convene tripartite labour conferences for a coordination mechanism on new legislations after 18th amendment in order to bring them in conformity with the international commitments and constitutional provisions.
The President said he is working for the well-being of persons with disabilities, especially the children with disabilities. The government is trying to provide education to children with some disability in normal schools so that they can be mainstreamed and become valuable members of society.
Ali of PILER presented a memorandum pertaining to a key reforms agenda of the civil society regarding the improvement of human rights and labour rights situation in the country pertaining to the implementation of 27 international treaties under the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preference (GSP) Plus.
The delegation said the federal government should conduct an immediate review of all the existing laws concerning labour and human rights to bring them in conformity with the international commitments and constitutional provisions. This may be followed up by making appropriate institutional arrangements to implement these laws and policies.
Moreover, Ali said the federal government may consider providing a national framework to address the anomalies resulting from 18th amendments and also to ensure that any policy and legislation at provincial levels are in compliance to the ILO Conventions and constitutional provisions.
He drew the attention of the President towards the plight of the rural workers, especially those associated with the agriculture sector. A large number of the rural population, he said, is landless and shelter-less. “While the government has already started a housing programme for shelter-less and unprivileged, we believe that land reforms are essential to ending poverty and marginalization. We urge the government to start with the distribution of the state land among landless haris as a first step. There are multiple studies that suggest that enough state land is available to distribute 5-7 acres of cultivable land to each landless family.”
Briefing him about problems of civil society, he pointed out that the previous governments introduced a policy for National Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and International Non- Governmental Organizations (INGOs) in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Both the policies, formulated in a non-consultative manner are restrictive in nature and in contradiction of Article 17 and commitments made under ICCPR.
Due to these policies, it is becoming very difficult for civil society organizations to continue to work smoothly. We seek your intervention to ensure an enabling environment for civil society organizations to function. Ali suggested that a task force comprising senior government officials, experts from the private sector and civil society representatives may be formed to find a workable solution for providing enabling environment to NGOs. “We stand in full support to the government’s resolve to ensure across the board accountability and transparency,” he remarked.