Over 100,000 calls have been made to the helpline of Pakistan’s Ministry of Human Rights from across the country in the last two years with 9,000 calls being about human rights violation complaints, a national assembly committee was informed.
“A total of 111,566 calls were received at the helpline 1099 in the last two years out of which only 9,057 were actually considered as human rights violation. All of which have been addressed” Kashif Kamal, director helpline at Ministry of Human Rights, informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights on Tuesday.
Briefing parliamentarians, Human Rights Ministry official also claimed that “The bulk of irrelevant calls were also directed to the relevant departments and authorities.”
The ministry officials shared the findings of a report with members under the chairmanship of MNA Babar Nawaz Khan.
According to the report, from February 2016 onwards, 4,054 complaints were about miscellaneous violations, while 2,438 were related to human rights governance issues, 404 were on women rights, 127 were related to protection of life and liberty, 110 on minority rights, 77 on disabled persons rights, 42 on labour rights, 38 on child rights, 13 were related to senior citizens and one was about money grabbing. The report contains data about complaints received by the ministry on helpline number 1099, from May, 2015 to January 2018.
The highest number of human rights violation complaints were received from Peshawar followed by Faisalabad and Islamabad, said the report. Rawalpindi, Abbottabad, Mardan, Mansehra, Nowshehra, Karachi, Swabi and Lahore were also among the top 20 cities with most complaints.
“The number of calls indicates the increasing human rights awareness in the cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which is surprising for the department” shared Kamal.
The Human Rights helpline department spent nearly 40 minutes on one call which includes counselling and legal advice. “As legal advisers, we guide the victims to properly lodge FIRs which is the most important step in cases, streamlines the legal process and get victims connected with relevant departments” Kamal explained.
The standing committee was also briefed by the ministry’s Director General Development Malik Kamran on the Public Sector Development Programme for the department’s financial year 2018-19. “Currently Ministry of Human Rights has no project staff of lawyers, whereas legal work is being taken up with the help of two lawyers deputed for Helpline 1099,” and the ministry is yet to appoint two senior and junior lawyers, the official said.