Human Rights – Provision of UN Charter, Constitution of Pakistan

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in Paris on 10 Dec 1948 (GA Resolution 217A) – [slightly abridged]

Article 1 All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 2 Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Article 3 Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person
Article 4 No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Article 5 No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 6 Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
Article 7 All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.
Article 8 Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
Article 9 No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 10 Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal [..] charge against him.
Article 11 (1)   Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty & public trial


(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence at the time it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12 No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation
Article 13 (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Article 14 Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
Article 15 Everyone has the right to a nationality and change of nationality
Article 16 (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
Article 17 (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Article 18 Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 19 Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Article 20 (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Article 21 (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen reps.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
Article 22 Everyone has the right to social security and the free development of his personality.
Article 23 (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Article 24 Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Article 25 (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
Article 26 Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory.
Article 27 Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community
Article 28 Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
Article 29 In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others

Human Rights and Fundamental Rights – Difference

  • Human rights are relatively new while fundamental rights enshrined by constitutions of various countries are older
  • Fundamental rights are specific and have legal sanction
  • Human rights are more basic in nature than fundamental rights and apply to all human beings whereas fundamental rights are country specific.
  • Human right is a universal right whereas fundamental right is guaranteed by the constitution of state.

Fundamental Rights as provided for in Constitution of Pakistan

  1. Security of person – no person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law
  2. Safeguards as to arrest and detention – no person who is arrested shall be detained in custory without being informed [. .] of the grounds for such arrest, not shall he be denied the right to consult or be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice

10A. Right to fair trial [and due process]

  1. Slavery, forced labour etc prohibited – [includes human trafficking, child labour {below 14}]
  2. Protection against retrospective punishment [1. if offence is not punishable at time of occurance 2. if it was offence but penalty was less]
  3. Protection against double punishment and self incrimination [punished twice for same offence, be compelled to be a witness against ownself]
  4. (1) The dignity of man, subject to law, the privacy of home, shall be inviolable

(2) No person shall be subjected to torture for extracting evidence

  1. Freedom of movement etc [move, reside & settle throughout Pakistan]
  2. Freedom of assembly [peacefully & without arms]
  3. Freedom of association [subject to law, public order or morality] political parties [except for person in service of Pakistan]
  4. Freedom of trade, business or profession [regulated]
  5. Freedom of speech, express & press [not against religion, public order, decency, morality, contempt of court, Pakistan etc]

19A. Right to information

  1. Freedom to profess religion and to manage religious institutions [profess, practice and propagate
  2. Safeguard against taxation for purposes of any particular religion [religion other than his]
  3. Safeguards as to educational institutions in respect of religion etc [not forced to attend other religion lessons, activities; concessions , exemptions not based on religion; particular religious community can impart religious education in its own schools; no student to be denied admissions]
  4. Provision as to property [all citizens can acquire, hold and dispose of property in any part of Pakistan]
  5. Protection of property rights – no person shall be deprived of his property save in accordance with law
  6. Equality of citizens – 1. all citizens entitled to equal protection of law 2. no discrimination on basis of sex 3. notwithstanding special provisions for protection of women & children

25A. Right to education – State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children age 5-16

  1. Non-discrimination in respect of access to public places
  2. Safeguard against discrimination in services – on race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth
  3. Preservation of language, script and culture

Constitution of Pakistan – Jurisdiction of Courts in Human Rights matters
184(3) & 199(I)(c)

Original Jurisdiction of Supreme Court

184(3) Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 199, the Supreme Court shall, if it considers that a question of public importance with reference to the enforcement of any of the Fundamental Rights conferred in Chapter 1 of Part II is involved, have the power to make an order of the nature mentioned in the said Article.

Jurisdiction of High Court

194(1)(c) On the application of any aggrieved person, make an order giving such directions to any person or authority, including a Government exercising any power or performing any function in, or in relation to, any territory within the jurisdiction of that Court as may be appropriate for the enforcement of any of the Fundamental Rights conferred by Chapter 1 of Part II

Human Rights Laws of Pakistan [1]

  1. National Commission for Human Rights Act, 2012.
  2. Women in Distress and Detention Fund (WDDF) Act, 1996.
  3. Juvenile Justice System Ordinance, 2000.
  4. Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 in March, 2016.
  5. ICT Juvenile Justice System Rules, 2001.
  6. The Criminal Law (Amendment) ACT, 2004.
  7. The Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendments) Act, 2006.
  8. Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2010.
  9. The Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010.
  10. Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 2011.
  11. Criminal Law (Third Amendment) Act, 2011.
  12. Women in Distress and Detention Fund Act, 2011.
  13. National Commission on the Status of Women Act, 2012.
  14. Anti honour Killing Act 2016.
  15. Anti Rape Law Act 2016.

Action Plan for Human Rights 2016 [2]

Thematic Area Outcome
I. Policy and Legal Reforms 1.     National Policy Framework for promotion & protection of HRs


2.     Legislative Reforms

3.     Administration of Justice

II. Implementing Key Human Rights Priorities 1.     Protection of Women Rights & Elimination of Gender Based Violence


2.     Protection of Rights of Minorities

3.     Protection of child rights

4.     Rights of Persons with Disabilities

5.     Jail Reforms

III. Cross cutting Interventions for Protection of Human Rights 1.     HRs education & sensitization


2.     Right based approach to development planning

3.     Media, awareness raising & advocacy

IV. International/UN Treaty Implementation
  1. International treaty implementation
V. Institutional Interventions
  1. Establishment and effective functioning of National Human Rights Institutions
VI. Implementation and Monitoring Mechanism
  1. Prevention of HR violations and Redressal Mechanism
  2. Financial Support to victims of human rights violations
  3. Implementation & Monitoring of Action Plan
  • Difference between duty and responsibility – duty is ‘expected’ – responsibility is ‘demanded’Social role vs role assigned under law
  • As civil servant efficient & merit based decision making also resolves human rights issues – we tend to forget in urge of out of box solutions
  • As civil servant resolving other civil servants issues also resolves human rights issues – examples of litigation cases in service matters
  • Study and grip on human rights matters, laws, departments dealing with them & procedures is a must for civil servants to better fathom and equip themselves for dealing with human / fundamental rights cases

[From a Tutorial Discussion at Provincial Services Academy, NIM Peshawar on 11 October, 2018]

[1] Response to Assembly Question of Dr Fehmeeda Mirza, MNA, on 6 Mar, 2017

[2] Approved by Prime Minister on 13 Feb, 2016