Dealing with Environmental Issues
As discussed in the previous blog, Pakistan has begun to have trouble with the increase in the changing environment on a social and economic level. In response, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif created the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency to remedy some of these issues. However, the Agency’s funds account for 0.04 percent of the governments development budget, and the country relies mostly on foreign lenders for environmental funds.
Pakistan has created Perspective plans for five year goals every so often, which focus on strategic issues and resolving them, however in most cases the plan never mentions sustainable development strategies. Pakistan has instead focused more on achieving self sustainability for food production, containing the high population growth and meeting increasing energy demands. However, it never mentions anything about curtailing pollution or environmental issues.
When leaders across the country began to notice that the environment was taking its toll, many of them got together to create the Pakistan National Conservation Strategy Report to address the country inattention to the country’s environmental problem. The report consisted of the expertise of over 3,000 global leaders in their respective fields to create an outline on how to create a viable program for the future of the country. It consisted of three main objectives: conservation of national resources, promotion of sustainable development, and improvement in management of resources. The Strategy realized the importance of religion in Pakistan, so it began to use Islam to its favor by restoring an Islamic value called Qantas, which is a conservation ethical idea within the religion, and by restoring Aquila-Ul-bad, a revival of community spirit and responsibility. The report also included fourteen main objective specifically addressing the environmental issue, which included: “maintaining soils in croplands, increasing irrigation efficiency, protected watersheds, supporting forestry and plantations, restoring rangelands and improving livestock, protecting water bodies and sustaining fisheries, conserving biodiversity, increasing energy efficiency, developing and deploying renewables, preventing and abating pollution, managing urban waste, supporting institutions for common resources, integrating population and environment programs, and preserving the cultural heritage.” (National Conservation Strategy Report)
The report was and is instrumental in creating a guideline to solving the climate change and environmental problem in Pakistan, and will serve as a document to assess the progress that the country has made.
In the case of human rights, Pakistan would be considered among the worst of countries for human rights violations. According to Amnesty International, arbitrary detention, torture, deaths in custody, forced disappearances, and extrajudicial execution are rampant in Pakistan. Also they believe that “the government of Pakistan has failed to protect individuals – particularly women, religious minorities and children – from violence and other human rights abuses committed in the home, in the community, and while in legal custody.” Since 9-11, Pakistan has prosecuted citizens with alleged terrorist ties mercilessly, while not following the correct justice system to ensure that terrorist allegations were substantial.
The Human Rights Watch World 2017 Report also had much to say on the current state of human rights violation in Pakistan. Although there were fewer cases of military violence, local law enforcement in the country still participated in numerous human rights violations and exercised a disproportionate amount of political influence on matters of counterterrorism and national security. Also, religious minorities within the country have been particularly attacked for their different beliefs and the government refused to protect these individuals and actively promote legislation against them. As for freedom of expression, the government continues to violate peoples free speech, in which the Pakistani Rangers broke into a New York Times journalist’s home without cause or warning.
As for action by the government in regards to human rights violations, there actually seems to be none. The interests of leaders in high government in Pakistan refuse to admit there is a problem and have secured power by catering to the elite’s wants, which does not consist of minority interests.
Climate Change & Human Rights
In recent times, this has become more of an issue than before. Climate change is currently a substantial problem in the world, and affects human rights all over the world, something which was not particularly known about before. There are islands losing ground and land because of increasing sea levels due to global warming, and those people’s rights are being taken away, since they cannot provide for themselves and may no longer have a country in the near future. Currently people are being displaced, however many countries do not see these people as refugees, and these people don’t have many other options than to flee their homes, causing an issue regarding fundamental human rights to come into question.
In regards to Pakistan, the increasing deforestation has led to flooding of villages and the increases of climate change have caused the yields of farming to be less. Don’t those people displaced by climate change or those that go hungry because of the effects of global warming deserve to be helped? Of course this is a question that the government of Pakistan does not want to address, because if the government were to help those people, it would be less money in the corrupt elite’s pockets.
By going beyond eurocentrism, according to Farish Noor, people can become more aware of the different problems that other people go through in other countries, since the world standard would move away from the European model of life, and towards sensing a global way of life in which people live drastically different lives. People living in the West believe that their lives are the standard and way of life that all should strive for across Earth, however that is not the case. The idea of human rights should be looked at within a context of different cultures, for the idea of human rights in Denmark are drastically different than those in Pakistan, and while Pakistan has many deep issues within it, they cannot be looked at with the same lens.