Remembering BB and his journey to martyrdom | By Bashir Riaz


Remember BB and his journey to martyrdom

“Shadow, I will miss you. Thank you for everything you have done for the party and for me since I met you in 1977. Forgive me if I hurt you but I want you to know that I always appreciate your support. God bless you. Bibi “In this brief e-mail, sent from her Black berry phone, Mohtarma Shaheed

Benazir Bhutto predicted his journey to martyrdom. Often strong people are also cold and distant. But not Shaheed Bibi. She was the Iron Lady of Pakistan and yet her heart was filled with empathy for others. She always supported her party workers during difficult times and they remember her compassion even today. Its separation foreChild justice system from Pakistan

CHILDREN who commit fencing offenses are called juvenile delinquents in Pakistan and their human rights are protected by national and international laws.

Pakistan has ratified the UNCRC and the ICCPR and, in accordance with these treaties, Pakistan has enacted legislation to protect the human rights of juvenile offenders when they are involved in the juvenile justice system, with the aim of rehabilitating them and to reintegrate them into society.

The most important guarantee that the legislation offers to juvenile offenders in Pakistan is the prohibition against sentencing them to death and granting them special treatment during the stages of investigation, investigation, arrest, prosecution. bail, trial, detention and reform.

Since 2000, the Pakistani government has made great efforts to rehabilitate and protect the human rights of minors, but despite this effort, juvenile offenders are reportedly continually abused during their involvement in Pakistan’s juvenile justice system.

Some of the common abuses suffered by juvenile offenders in Pakistan are their executions, life imprisonment, police brutality, torture, death in custody and rape, imprisonment in adult prisons, failure to comply with protocols for age determination in juvenile cases, low birth registration rate, trials of juveniles as adult offenders, trials in anti-terrorism courts, low minimum age of criminal responsibility, inadequate legal representation in cases of juvenile cases, pre-sentencing detention, non-existence of rehabilitation centers and observation houses for minors, etc.

In a nutshell, Pakistan’s juvenile justice system does not fully protect the human rights of child offenders and the best practices in this area that are observed around the world are not observed in Pakistan.

Some of my key recommendations for protecting the human rights of child offenders and improving Pakistan’s juvenile justice system are as follows; The most urgent step the Pakistani government should take is to reinstate the moratorium on the death penalty.

Ten percent of Pakistan’s current death row prison population is made up of young inmates. In order to protect them from execution, the Government should open investigations into their cases to determine the evidence of the youth at the time of the commission of the offenses and transform their death sentences into life sentences and release them on probation or pardon the remaining length of their prison sentence.

The minimum age of criminal responsibility for a child described in the Pakistani Penal Code is 10 years and this relaxation is extended until the age of 14 if the child is considered to have an immature understanding of its conduct, nature and consequences at the time of the commission of the offense.

However, the internationally accepted age level of criminal responsibility ranges from 14 to 16, as adopted by the UNCRC Committee in 2019 in its general comment number 24.

The Committee encouraged States to adopt a higher minimum age of criminal responsibility, i.e. from 16 years of age and if there is no proof of age and cannot be established that the child is below or above the minimum age of criminal responsibility, the child should be given the benefit of the doubt and should not be held criminally responsible.

It is therefore essential that a forensic expert or a child psychiatrist assesses the emotional understanding, intellect and biological age of the child in total. This would have an impact on the determination of his criminal responsibility and his ability to defend the case.

Juvenile offenders are often victims of torture, death in custody and rape during police investigations and incarceration in prisons. To date, there is no law expressly criminalizing torture in Pakistan, despite Pakistan ratifying the Convention against Torture in 2010.

It is therefore strongly recommended that the government enact exclusive legislation to criminalize torture. 90 percent of juvenile detainees held in Pakistan’s prisons are inmates awaiting trial. Keeping a minor in pre-trial detention is one of the most unfair and degrading treatment that can be inflicted on a human being.

Some minors in pre-trial detention are not even found guilty at the end of the trial and suffer among the hardened repeat offenders imprisoned through no fault of their own. Their childhood and innocence are lost forever. Thus, juveniles detained on trial should be released on bail, this will not only overcome the problem of overcrowding in Pakistan’s prisons, but also protect juveniles from abuse and hardship suffered in prisons.

Children convicted or sentenced detained, who are imprisoned in Pakistani prisons, their reintegration and the provision of psychosocial support are very important.

So that when they get out of prisons, they become responsible citizens and no longer engage in these kinds of offenses. Therefore, the government should establish juvenile rehabilitation centers across the country and transfer detained children from prisons to rehabilitation centers for their recovery.

The aforementioned violations of the human rights of child offenders in the juvenile justice system can be avoided if the law applicable to child offenders – Juvenile Justice System Act 2018 – is fully implemented in Pakistan and all other stakeholders ( police, justice, prison and forensic experts) responsible for the protection of the rights of juvenile offenders fulfill their obligations diligently.

– The author is a High Court Lawyer / Human Rights Lawyer based in Islamabad.

ver has strengthened their bond with her as they are more determined than ever to further her vision and legacy. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was also inspired by Sufi thought and a sense of humility reflected in her personality.

. In retrospect, it’s like she knows what’s coming. She had an idea of ​​the coming journey that led to her martyrdom. One day we had a conversation over lunch in August 2007 which is stuck in my memory.

“Bibi, you are returning to Pakistan, please accept my apologies for any contempt or unintentional contempt on my part. “No, I should apologize for any wrongdoing on my part,” she replied.

“Life is unpredictable and indeed I should apologize for any shortcomings on my part,” I said. She reiterated her comment and said: “You will live longer than I do.” I was shocked and said, “May you live a long and healthy life.

She said, “Bash, you’ll live a long life, longer than mine. Her words came true on the unfortunate eve of December 27, 2007, when her life was cut short and she was martyred. That day, she left this world, surrounded by her supporters, just after a jalsa resounding the slogans of long live Bhutto and long live Pakistan.

She gave her life in a rally for the upcoming elections around this time. Her efforts for democracy are undeniable and until the end she maintained her mantra that democracy is the best revenge.

Even today, when I think of BB’s words, I wonder, how did she know? I don’t know the answer to that even now, but indeed, she had an idea, a premonition of what she was facing and yet she didn’t walk away or hide the danger that still lurked. around the Bhuttos. There is no doubt that she was a brave soul.

On August 24, 2007, it was Sanam Bhutto’s birthday. Shaheed BB had already sent her children to Dubai but she stayed for her sister’s birthday. It would be the last anniversary they would celebrate together.

BB was due to return to Dubai the next day. She was supposed to get to the airport from her cousin’s house and she called me there as it was our tradition that I say goodbye to her when she left and greet her when she arrived at the airport.

On this day, however, this was not possible due to the lack of time. It was the first time I had missed the chance to say goodbye to her before she took off. Her travel plans were kept private as many people wanted to meet her if they knew she would be present at the airport.

I had the opportunity to have a detailed conversation with her again and expressed my unease that this looks like a bad start, a broken tradition, just before her historic return to Pakistan.

On October 18, 2007, the suicide bombing attack on her was the start of a series of unfortunate events. She survived that day, but it was a clear message to dissuade her from her mission to propagate democracy.

She refused to curl up and went to offer her condolences to the families of her workers who had lost their lives in the Karsaz incident. She also continued her election campaign. At the beginning of November, she went to Lahore and was staying with Latif Khosa. She met journalists and activists around this time.

But she was confined to this house by the government to contain her political activities. Her meetings were monitored and even I was not allowed to see her on the pretext that I had just met her a day ago. and don’t be put off by government tactics. In this she stood firmly alongside her people and herself enthusiastically participated in the election campaign.

Shaheed BB firmly believed in the reality of death. No one can slow it down or stop it – no one can stop the bullet once the trigger has been pulled.

This way of thinking gave her immense strength and she raised her voice internationally against atrocities committed against oppressed nations. The Palestinian leadership called her “Daughter of Islam”. In Delhi, she accepted and legitimized the All Parties Hurriyat conference as the voice of Kashmiris.

Life has been made difficult for Shaheed BB but no one can forget or erase his imprints from Pakistani politics, and especially not from the minds of millions of his supporters whose hearts continue to beat for Benazir Bhutto, even fourteen years after his death. premature disappearance. Zinda hai Bibi, Zinda hai.

– The author is the former press secretary of Benazir Bhutto, president of the Bhutto Legacy Foundation and senior advisor to President Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.


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