The decade beginning from 10th Dece-mber,1973 is being celebrated internationally as a ‘Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination’. The General Assembly has appealed to the Governments, United Nations Organs and Specialised Agen-cies to participate in the observance of the Decade by intensifying efforts towards ens-uring reduction in racism and racial discrimination.
The purpose of the observance of “Decade for Action to Combat Racial Discrimination” internationally is to achieve substantial progress in eliminating all forms and manifestations of Racism and Racial Discrimination (including the policy of apartheid) and for ensuring the equality for all and full realisation by all of the civil, political, economic social and cultural rights as well as the right of people to self determination without any distinction on the basis of race, colour and ethnic origin. This is expected to promote further a respect for an’d an observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the world. The measures proposed to combat discrimination include interalia, the following
A. Implementation of the United Nations Resolutions bearing on the elimination of racism, apartheid, racial discrimination and the liberation of peoples under colon ial dom-ination and alien subjugation.
B. Ratification of:
(i) International Convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.
(ii) International Convention on the suppression and the punishment of the crime of apartheid.
(iii) The international covenants on human rights.
(iv) And all other relevant instruments.
C. Formulation and execution of plans to review the policy, measures and goals con-tained in the programme for the Decade.
D. Review of internal laws and regulations with a view to identifying and rescinding those which provide for, give rise to, or inspire racial discrimination or apartheid.
The people of Pakistan comprise a relatively homogenic racial group and following the precepts of Islam a universal religion-that advocates tolerance for all people, irrespective of race, colour, sex and creed have not faced the problem of racial discrimination. However, with a view to implementing the ‘Convention’ on elimination of all forms of racial discrimination the National Assembly of Pakistan has passed Act VI of 1973. This Act together with the Constitution and other laws of the country contains provisions which would enforce the Convention if ever the problem of racial discrimination arose.
The Constitution and the laws of Pakistan, guarantee that there shall be no racial discrimination in the fields of political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights and contain adequate provisions guaranteeing people belonging to all races effective protection and remedies through the compe-tent national tribunals against any act of racial discrimination. Article 199 (I) (c) read with Article 25 of the Constitution provides effective safeguards in this respect.
So essential has the protection of minorities been considered by the framers of the Constitution that three provisions have been made on the subject, The preamble says that “adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to progress and practice their religion and develop their cultures”, Article 33 says “The State shall discourage parochial, racial tribal, sectarian and provincial prejudices among the citizens”. Article 36 says that “The states shall safeguard the legitimate rig-hts and interests of the minorities, including their due representation in the federal and provincial services.
In fact discouragement of all kinds of discrimination on the basis of race, descent ethnic origin is one of the basic norms of the Pakistani society. Children are taught the basic precepts of Islam in their school which preach that there is no distinction among human beings, no mater what their race, colour ethnic origin or language.
To commemorate the ‘Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination’ the Pakistan Post office is issuing a postage stamp of 65 Paisa denomination on 15th September, 1976.