Islamabad, 26 November, 2021:- A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights was held on Friday. Senator Walid Iqbal chaired the meeting; that was attended by Senator Seeme Ezdi, Senator Falak Naz, Senator Qurrat ul Ain Marri, Senator Muhammad Tahir Bizenjo and senior officers of the Ministry of Human Rights along with its attached departments and agencies. Senator Keshu Bai was a Special Invitee. Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen M. Mazari was present.
The agenda of the meeting entailed Consideration of the Juvenile Justice System (Amendment) Bill, 2021; the Islamabad Capital Territory Child Protection (Amendment) Bill 2021; the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the National Commission on the Rights of the Child (Amendment) Bill, 2021. All of these Bills were presented in the Senate on 19th November, 2021 and were referred to the Committee for detailed deliberation.
The Juvenile Justice System (Amendment) Bill, 2021; the Islamabad Capital Territory Child Protection (Amendment) Bill 2021 and the National Commission on the Rights of the Child (Amendment) Bill, 2021 were passed unanimously by the Committee. Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen M. Mazari briefed the Committee of the nature of the amendments that were minor and introduced to replace the word "Government" with the " concerned department" in order to avoud delays and bring clarity in view of the Mustafa Impex Case. She added that these amendments would ensure timeliness as issues would be dealt by the Ministry concerned rather than the Cabinet.
While taking up the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Amendment) Bill; members of the Committee stressed the need for detailed deliberation that would entail spending more time on the reviewing the Bill. It was asserted that there were numerous loopholes in the legislation that would have to be addressed. Chairman Committee, Senator Walid Iqbal, in view of public uproar against the Bill recommended that women rights groups and other human rights organizations be consulted. Emphasizing the need for stakeholder involvement, he said that this was an important piece of legislation that merits thorough assessment. The Committee decided to conduct a Public Hearing on the matter on 6th December, 2021.