President Asif Ali Zardari today signed the National Commission for Human Rights Bill 2012 for promotion and protection of Human Rights in the country as provided for in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the various international instruments to which Pakistan is a State Party or shall become a State Party. The signing ceremony held at Bilawal House today was attended among others by Sinch Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Federal Ministers Rehman Malik and Moula Bakhsh Chandio, Advisor to Prime Minister on Human Rights Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, provincial ministers and senior federal and provincial government officials. Briefing media persons Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said that with the signing into law today Pakistan had fulfilled a core requirement of the two decades old Paris Declaration of 1993 calling upon states to set up independent human rights commissions which was reiterated by the United Nations in 2008 soon after the present government took office. “An international commitment outstanding for the past nearly quarter of a century has been fulfilled today”, he said adding also, “it is no mean achievement considering the fact that Pakistan is fighting war against militancy and complaints of human rights violations have been surfacing”. He said that the Bill signed today said that this Commission, headquartered in Islamabad, would consist of ten members including a Chairperson and a member each from the four provinces, FATA and Islamabad Capital Territory, minority communities and the Chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women. At least two shall be the women members in this Commission. A person shall be eligible for appointment as Chairperson, who has been, or is qualified to be, a judge of the Supreme Court or a person having demonstrable knowledge of, or practical knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights. Similarly a member shall not be less than forty years of age and shall have knowledge and experience relating to human rights. The Chairperson and members shall hold the office for a term of four years that may be extended once. The law signed today states that the Federal Government shall through public notice invite suggestions for suitable persons for appointment as Chairperson and members of the Commission and, after proper scrutiny, shall submit a list of these persons to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. It says that the Prime Minister shall in consultation with the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly forward three names for each post to a Parliamentary Committee for hearing and confirmation of any one person for each post. The law says that in case there is no consensus between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, each shall forward separate lists to the bi-partisan and bicameral Parliamentary Committee who in turn shall approve the nominations and forward them to the President for appointment. The Law says that the Chairman and the member may be removed from office on the grounds and in the manner provided for in Article 209 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Commission would perform its functions either taking suo-moto or on a petition presented to it by a victim or any person on his behalf for violation of Human Right or abetment thereof and the negligence in the prevention of such violation, by a public servant. It can intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights pending before a court by making application for becoming a party to the proceeding before the court. The Commission or any person authorized by it may visit any jail, place of detention or any other institution or place under the control of the Government or its agencies, where convicts, under trial prisoners, detainees or other person are lodged or detained for purposes of ascertaining the legality of their detention as well as to find out whether the provisions of the applicable laws or other provision relating to the inmates living conditions and their other rights are being complied with. It would  review the safeguards provided by or under the Constitution or any other law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend adoption of new legislation, the amendment of existing law and adoption or amendment of administrative measures for their effective implementation. It would also review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures. The Commission would undertake and promote research in the field of human rights, maintain database on the complaints and development of human rights norms. The Commission would also spread human rights literacy among various section of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, print and electronic media, seminars and other available means in all major languages of the cou