UNFPA representative calls on Minister for Human Rights

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ISLAMABAD, Feb 20 (DNA): United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative in Pakistan Luay Shabaneh called on Federal Minister for Human Rights Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada here on Monday.

They exchanged views on the issues related to population planning, its impact on economic growth, gender equality, women rights in Pakistan and support from UNFPA under its mandate for population planning and development.

Secretary Human Rights Ali Raza Bhutta and senior officers were also present in the meeting, said a press release.

The minister welcomed the honorable guest and stated that Pakistan was fully committed to upholding and implementing the UN charter. He commented that “we are far behind in population planning that is indeed the major reason behind scarcity and better resource allocation in the country.”

He said: “Pakistan is a country with population mismanagement and disproportionate growth. There is a need for interventions, advocacy, awareness, more funds allocation, and proper enforcement of laws on this subject. For that we are looking forward to more collaboration, especially from non-governmental bodies.”

The minister further underscored that the UN agencies have been very helpful to Pakistan, particularly in the area of human rights. He said that though population control is a provincial subject after the 18th Constitutional Amendment yet Ministry of Human Rights is constantly dealing with international obligations related to women and child rights.

Shabaneh mentioned that UNFPA was established as an independent agency with the dedicated efforts of a proactive Pakistani woman but it is dismal that Pakistan has been ranked below globally on women empowerment. He offered further collaboration in focused studies and policy formulation in the area of population management.

Secretary Human Rights apprised the representative that the ministry is actively pursuing National Action Plan on Women Rights. We are regularly reporting on both national and international forums. There is a foremost need to make more investments on awareness and proper enactment of laws.

In the end, the minister appreciated the goodwill and cooperation from UNFPA and said that Pakistan is a progressive and dynamic country where we have leading participation of women mainly in the informal sectors of the economy. “There is a need for statistics updates through reliable methods of data collection.”

He vowed for more working collaboration, especially in research and focused studies for population control and management.