Relevance of labour rights in Islam discussed

KARACHI: The new book Islamic Labour Code by Asghar Jameel and Iftikhar Ahmed sparked an interesting discussion among labour rights activists and one of the authors of the book on the question of modern relevance of labour rights in Islam during a webinar organised by the Ziauddin Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, Ziauddin University, on Monday.

Joining in from the Netherlands, one of the book’s authors, Asghar Jameel, said that labour laws capture all spheres of life from birth to death. “There is maternity leave for women and other leaves that are an employee’s right, there is also minimum wages, etc,” he said.

“For the book, starting from the situation in the Muslim world, we were thinking on the lines of how we can bring a non-comparative study, not trying to prove that Islam is right, but showing the common standards available and how governments can fulfil their promises through lawmaking. In doing that we took references from the Quran and have tried to show our understanding of the Quran and Sunnah,” he explained.

“For research, we read up on what were the employment contracts 1,400 years ago, what were the trade laws then. Still, the book is a work in progress. It is only a beginning, a start, which may be used by governments but at the same time we are using it for guidance and raising awareness among the masses,” he said.

Islamic Labour Code launched at webinar

While sharing her opinion about the book and women’s rights in Islam, feminist, activist and the resident director of the Aurat Foundation Mahnaz Rahman said that she found it interesting that all the requirements of the International Labour Organisation [ILO] have been proved as relevant with the help of Quranic verses and Hadith.

 

Women and labour laws

Speaking about women in particular as regards to labour laws, she said that as far as women are concerned, they have different biological needs that men do not have to face. “Then in Covid-19 times, there is also a dire need for social security as everyone is facing a crisis. Social security is a civil demand these days and the book also proves that Islam is also all for it. Thus there is no contradiction,” she said.

“Still, recently there is a lot of confusion as regards to religion. Women here are targeted using interpretations of Islam. But it should be understood that they suffer not due to religion, they suffer due to customs and culture. So religion is not the cause of their sufferance as people like to portray,” she said.

“As citizens we need to fight the exploitation. We should demand a welfare state. Religion also approves of a welfare state,” she said.

Ms Rahman also said that the Pakistan government is well aware of what is right and wrong, yet it does not do much. “When our government signs human rights treaties, it should also implement the laws it agrees to. But our government is not serious about implementing human rights and labour laws despite being a signatory to them so the people, including women, here are not benefiting from these laws,” she said.

“When a woman here wants to step out of the house and become part of the labour force, she needs an enabling environment. But instead, she has to face harassment. People discourage her. There is also a transport issue that is a problem for men but it gets worse for women. Besides, do also calculate and add those extra hours spent in commuting in the eight hours of work. It takes away from her relaxation or recreation time, which is also supposed to be eight hours each,” she said.

“So be sympathetic to our labour force. There should be a proper transport system in place, no harassment, an enabling environment, there should be day-care centres, etc, so that women, too, feel safe and protected when they step out of their home.

“Why should women be looked at as something inferior because they take care of babies. But these very babies they are bringing up will be running this country, so women deserve higher status than men. They have a triple burden, so they should get more facilities than men,” she said.

 

ILO’s laws, Jinnah and Islam

Labour activist Karamat Ali said that looking at the global economy, he felt that you don’t need to use religion for getting human rights but for understanding human rights laws people need to first believe in their rights themselves.

“Less than one per cent of labour is unionised in Pakistan. So our labour is not even organised. The lack of trade unions and collective bargaining agents is attributed to religion for some strange reason as people are confused about it. There is no need to make an Islamic labour court in Pakistan due to this misconception,” he said.

“In 1979, Pakistan got caught up in the worst kind of dictatorship when many Muslim or Islamic institutions were asked to talk against the unionisation of labour. Like Pakistan, many other countries that also call themselves ‘Islamic’, mete out the worst treatment to their labour force,” he further said.

“The eight-hour a day work was not set by a Muslim country, and yet it made sense,” he reminded.

“In undivided India, in 1926, the Trade Union Act was made by a man by the name of Barrister Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He was not the ‘Quaid-i-Azam’ then. He prepared that law that every person can make a union. His only compromise was to exempt the armed forces from unionisation. But then Ayub Khan’s martial law did away with that law,” Mr Ali regretted.

“Still, the book is okay for people who want to understand these laws through the lens of religion. But the ILO is not an Islamic convention and still, its laws are according to Islam. Fundamental rights should be for everyone. I say translate the book in Urdu and Sindhi and other regional languages to help understand the fundamental labour rights. Perhaps it will help people here understand international labour laws better.”

Objectives Resolution – A Barrier or Promoter for Human Rights in Pakistan?

On April 6, 2021, the Ziauddin University Faculty of Law, the Ziauddin Centre for Human Rights and the Ziauddin Student Bar Association conducted a webinar that aimed to shed light on the Objectives Resolution of Pakistan, and discuss the state of the minorities residing in the nation.

The webinar titled ‘Objectives Resolution – A Barrier or Promoter for Human Rights in Pakistan?’ was moderated by Syed Muaz Shah, Director of Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, Ziauddin University and included guests such as Professor Dr. Martin Lau, Noman Asrar, and Dr. Hafiz Ikram-ul-Haq.

The discourse conducted by these intellectuals revolved around the historical journey of the country dating back to 1900, the vision of the democratic Pakistan based on the principle of Islamic social justice, the history of objective resolution, and the situation of minorities currently residing in Pakistan. Events like this are essential to ensure all students are aware of the history of the nation and understand the turmoil that caused the Partition.

Symposium on Personal Data Protection & Big Data Analytics

On 19th March 2021, the Ziauddin Faculty of Law hosted an event that aimed to forever change the lives of the attendees for the better. Focusing on digital privacy, the symposium titled ‘Personal data protection & big data analytics: Too little, too late’ organised by the ZFL Centre for Law & Technology was an eye-opener for everyone present.

The discourse that took place at the event focused on explaining how essential data protection is and the measures that can be taken by individuals and the government to safeguard one’s data. To ensure digital privacy is provided to the citizens of Pakistan, students of ZFL Areeba Iqbal and Alishba Fazal with Aly Hassam-ul-Haq, director at the Centre for Law & Technology, have been working on introducing pertinent points to the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2020,

After a look into some critical laws that need to be introduced to protect everyone’s data, the symposium moved on to an interactive session on Big Data Analytics between Haq and Rajiv Pardhan from the organisation Love for Data.

Overall, the event was not only a feather in the cap for the Ziauddin Faculty of Law, but also proved to be informative and useful for many of the audience members who were unaware of data breaches and how their personal information was being misused.

2021 commencement

On behalf of Dean Shaaista Sarki, the faculty and staff – ZFL welcomes the new students of Spring 2021 batch to a fulfilling learning experience for the next 5 years in the LL.B. program.
Here you will learn and grow with skills and knowledge to become esteemed members of the legal cadre. Looking forward to hosting you tomorrow at the Orientation Day. Best of luck on your journey with us.

Call for allowing Kashmiris to decide their future

Speaking at a webinar organized by the Ziauddin University on Tuesday, Pakistan Institute of International Affairs chairperson Dr Masuma Hasan called for demilitarisation in the Indian-held Kashmir as the presence of military in the region was detrimental to peace in the region. The webinar was titled ‘Kashmir – Divided Yet United’.

According to a statement issued, the speaker endorsed the proposal of former president Pervez Musharraf that he had presented in Agra. She said the presence of Indian military in Kashmir was very overwhelming and it was a concern for all those who wanted peace and respect for human rights.

Talking about the Dogra regime and the Hindu-Muslim riots at the time of independence, she said the Dogra regime was known for its high-handedness and religious discrimination. She added that there were riots in many parts of the Sub-continent in which sometimes Hindus suffered and sometimes Muslims.

After the British left the Sub-continent, there has been crystallization for the demand of Pakistan by the Kashmiris, she said. “As far as Quaid-e-Azam’s ideology is concerned, it was a holistic approach. Both India and Pakistan’s resolutions stressed and had agreed to the point that they would leave Kashmir fair and free and let Kashmiri people decide their future themselves without any pressure. So, India and Pakistan should remember this and give them an open option to join them or to live independently. People from both parts of Kashmir deserve to live freely, to move freely, to attend each other’s events, to be a part of each other’s happiness,” Dr Masuma asserted.

Speaking on the lamentable situation of human rights in the occupied region, Muhammad Oves Anwar of the Research Society of International Law said, “For the last 20 years, India has been successful in labelling the Kashmir’s freedom struggle as a terrorist organisation which is clearly against the international laws.”

He added that history would always tell how after August 5, 2019, even the basic human rights were taken away from the people of the Indian-held Kashmir. “When you lose any internal self-determination the only option than you have is external self-determination and exercising those rights. Due to India’s viciousness, the Kashmiris have lost their internal self-determination. Now there is only external self-determination available for Kashmir under the UN Security Council’s prescribed methods,” he said.

Answering a question, Muzdalfa Ahmed, a Kashmiri youth activist, said there were over 500 organisations solely working for Kashmir and putting forward their struggle, engaging the Kashmiri youth for this cause, and running campaigns against the human rights violations in Kashmir.

HUMAN RIGHTS VISION 2020 & BEYOND

A look into the human rights history of Pakistan and its future outlook with experts

Ziauddin University holds the 4th interactive series of “ZU Dialogues” titled, “Human Rights Vision 2020 & Beyond” in collaboration with the Faculty of Law, ZU to mark Human Rights Day on December 16, 2020.

The aim behind this online dialogue session was to enhance the knowledge and understanding of human rights, and foster attitudes of tolerance, respect, solidarity, and responsibility. Most importantly, the webinar’s purpose was to encourage everyone to develop a voice to protect those suffering from human rights violations.

The event that was hosted by Syed Muaz Shah, Director of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, ZU, served as an inspiration since the speakers involved, the host, as well as the topics discussion focused on highlighting the journey of human rights in Pakistan. Muaz Shah began the webinar by asking all students and young people watching to “be the change you want to see”.

The dialogue session comprised of Ms. Hina Jilani, founding member the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the Women’s Action Forum; Barrister Shahida Jamil, Former Federal Minister for Law, Justice, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights; Mr. Saroop Ijaz, Senior Counsel, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch.

Minority rights and a look at the history and future of human rights in Pakistan were the main topic of the discussion during an online interactive dialogue titled ‘Human Rights Vision 2020 & Beyond’ on Wednesday.

Giving his final remarks about the discussion, Vice Chancellor of Ziauddin University Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui stated that human rights is a very important topic of discussion. “Our forefathers have sacrificed their precious lives for this country and I feel saddened to say that even after getting independence, we are still struggling and fighting to get human rights and raise our voice. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, no one has any right to violate any human’s rights.”

Ziauddin University Faculty of Law becomes the first law school in Pakistan

Ziauddin University Faculty of Law becomes the first law school in Pakistan to become a member of the International Bar Association.

All students recieve free membership and will join the ranks of IBA, opportunities for internships, international contacts, access to legal journals and articles, potentially a free trip to the annual international student conference and much much more.

ZFL stands strongly behind giving greater opportunities to our students. We are extremely excited with this unique collaboration with IBA and hope this is just the 1st chapter in a long sustainable relationship.

Visit to the Karachi Jail

Ziauddin University Faculty of Law, Centre for Human Rights conducted a prison visit with law students to the Juvenile and Women Jail facilities at Karachi Jail. The visit included donations and first-hand experience of the conditions and dealings inside an actual jail. IG Prison Nusrat Mangan, ASI Kamran Shiekh, and Advocate Aamir Aziz Khan facilitated this very informative visit.

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