NRDF - National Research & Development Foundation, Peshawar


Human Rights And Islam

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Human Rights & Islam

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Views of Religious Leaders on Population Programme

The tension between secular and religious elements has deep historical roots in Pakistan and has a negative impact on the situation of human rights in the country. The thoughts of these two rival groups had been reining the minds and lives of the people since the country got its independence in 1947. Both sides have entrenched positions on a variety of issues related to several disciplines including human rights and social development. Each side is continuously trying to oppose the other and manipulate the existing socio-economic and political conditions to gain prominence/dominance in the country and use the state machinery in their favor through which they can further strengthen their respective positions. Their differing views, subsequent hard stands, lack of the culture of open debates on vital issues and little communication between the two sides have led to frequent disputes between them. In this process several important subjects of national importance have become controversial in the past. The key examples included family planning, blasphemy laws, hadood ordinance, appointment of women as ruler and their right to vote, role of NGOs in development etc. The post September 11 scenario and a string of its follow events, conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East and Kashmir and its prevailing socio-economic condition in the country have further sharpened these differences.

The above-mentioned situation is leading to a growing dogmatism in the society and is creating hurdles for development workers to work smoothly. It is also a major cause of unfair treatment of individuals by the individuals in the society and state. It is high time to facilitate the two sides to better understand each other, build consensus on issues of vital interest and find common ground that exist between them in several fields including working together for the promotion of democratic values, peace and human rights.

In this context work was done on this booklet which highlights the Islamic human rights and its similarities with the International covenants on Human Rights. It also covers the applied side of the subject in Pakistan and the recommendations for upholding these rights through collective action of local communities at various levels.

NRDF is greatly grateful to Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) for facilitating the preparation and publishing this booklet. The effort will hopefully go a long way to facilitate the development workers to cope with the challenges they face, properly understand the ground realities; cross culture barriers and other prevailing complexities in this regard. Furthermore, it will also be useful for SDC partners and other development and human rights workers to understand the realities of a deeply religious society, equip them with appropriate information and skills in order to be able to enter into a productive dialogue for ensuring pluralism and social transformation in the society in a peaceful manner.