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HR Minister Cares About Everything Except Human Rights In Pakistan

Shireen Mazari recently wrote a letter to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), seeking Indian actor Priyanka Chopra’s removal as a global Unicef Goodwill Ambassador for her ‘pro-war’ comments.

In her letter, the minister wrote that Priyanka Chopra had publicly endorsed Indian actions in Kashmir and supported the nuclear threat issued to Pakistan by the Indian defence minister.

Shireen Mazari was of the view that such behaviour is unbecoming of a UN Goodwill Ambassador for peace. The human rights minister was right in saying that, except the human rights situation in Pakistan that directly falls under her jurisdiction is not too good either.

In a tweet posted on August 21, she shared the official letter written to the UN.

Meanwhile, the UN has snubbed the minister over her request. A UN spokesman, when asked about Mazari’s letter about Priyanka Chopra, he said, “When UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors speak in their personal capacity, they retain the right to speak about issues that interest or concern them.”

The minister’s move, therefore, could not help Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir in any way. However, it did say a thing or two about the priorities of the minister considering that she is not too vocal when it comes to rights abuses back home.

Social media users have been reminding the minister that before she goes on preaching peace to others, she must fix her own backyard. Her job as the HR minister is to protect human rights of religious and ethnic minorities who are on the receiving end of violence and discrimination. But the minister seems more interested in fixing all that’s wrong with other countries while turning a blind eye to the human rights violations taking place in Pakistan.

This is not the first time the Human Rights Minister has been caught in the middle of a controversy. The minister is used to telling international actors to improve the human rights conditions that fall under their purview, while ignoring the issues that she is responsible for resolving.

In March, the human rights minister had called the attention of the Red Cross to the conditions of Pakistani prisoners in foreign jails despite completing their sentences. What makes this statement ironic is that Pakistan has elected legislators on unproven charges in jail and the honourable minister has not done anything to protect their rights.

Last year, she had also expressed concerns to a delegation of the European parliament about issues the Pakistani diaspora faced in practicing their religion in European countries. She had similarly expressed reservations about the rising Islamophobia in Europe in a meeting with the Dutch ambassador.

It seemed hypocritical that she was making that statement considering that non-Muslims in Pakistan also face discrimination. The minister had seemingly forgotten that Hindu girls in Pakistan are forcefully kidnapped and converted, and minority members are languishing in jails on false blasphemy charges.

In January, there was an attack against Hazaras in Quetta. A twitter user had criticised Shireen Mazari for not condemning the Quetta attack yet at the same time criticising the New Zealand prime minister for not calling the Christchurch attacker a terrorist.


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