LAHORE, Pakistan: The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) in collaboration with the Information Technology University (ITU) has organized a Seminar on “Citizenship Rights (Nationality) in the Mirror of Fundamental Rights” in Lahore.
The participants of the Seminar included lawyers, journalists, student representatives, and civil society representatives, and they were engaged in an interactive discussion on citizenship rights in the light of domestic and international human rights frameworks.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Usama Malik said that an egalitarian basis of citizenship was incorporated in international law. He said that Article 14 and 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights acknowledged the right of a person to have and change its nationality; moreover, Articles 24 and 25 accorded this right to every child. However, he added that, the application of the right to citizenship and the right to change citizenship remained purely a domestic domain. Therefore, different standards were practiced in different countries.
Mr. Wajahat Masood, a prominent journalist, recalled the events in the history of Pakistan that where a guanine expression of identities on the basis of language and religion were denied whereas state prescribed classification of religious identity was imposed which disfranchised the populace from their democratic rights. .
Advocate Asad Jamal stressed that the Constitution of Pakistan and laws categorized citizens by way of providing two sets of rights. Religious identity was used as a ground for the politics of exclusion of minorities. He added that for instance a non-Muslim can’t become prime minister or president of Pakistan.
Dr. Yaqoob Bangash emphasized that owing to the process of minoritization in Pakistan all citizens have been made into a minority. While the recent legislation in India was deplorable, it is time that Pakistan should lead the change in the region in correcting the wrongs of the past, showing the path to inclusivity to the rest of the world.
The Executive Director CSJ Peter Jacob said that mostly different forms of discrimination, on the basis of gender, race and religion, formed a co-relation; therefore, all discriminations ought to be tackled at the same time. He said that the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor provided an opportunity to bring peace and people of the region together.
The Professor at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Mr. Taimur Rehman shed lights on the topic of exclusion using the case study of land reforms. He emphasized that it was imperative to provide a structural base for equality of citizenship by addressing the economic and social disparities as well as biases and discrimination.
The Seminar also included screening of a documentary produced by the Centre for Social Justice on the state of religious freedom in Pakistan. The screening was followed by a Question and Answer Session.