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PESHAWAR: Political parties acknowledged the crucial role of the civil society organizations (CSOs) in creating awareness among the people about their rights and obligations for fostering democratic values and building individual capacity for civic engagement, said a press release issued here on Sunday.

In this connection National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) Pakistan in collaboration with Blue Veins, a non-governmental organization organized a conference with representatives of various political parties on the importance of the civic engagement and collaborative role of CSOs and political parties in achieving Sustainable Development Goals SDGs by 2030.

The representatives of the various political parties including PML-N, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), PTI, JUI, JI, Awami National Party and civil society organizations participated in the conference. The participants and speakers of the conference emphasized strengthening the role of civil society to uphold democratic values, promote community involvement, government responsiveness and accountability.

The representatives of the political parties also signed a consensual statement that reflects their commitment to work together for promoting values of civic and active engagement of citizens and civil society organizations (CSOs) in civic spaces and processes.

Addressing the conference, ex-Senator Farhat Ullah Babar, a senior politician from Pakistan People’s Party said that they strongly believe that our support and engagement with civil society should be tailored to respect civil society actors’ diverse range of constituents, including to people on the frontlines of poverty, inequality, conflict, vulnerability, and marginalization in order to strengthen local ownership and sustainability”.

Manzoor Masih, Member National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) said “civil society is a critical component of any democratic society. CSOs provide a platform for citizen participation, promote transparency and accountability, and advocate for policies that promote the public interest”.

Ex-MPA and member of the Awami National Party (ANP) Shgufta Malik said “The political parties recognize that civil society actors, in their diversity, are critical contributors to the 2030 Agenda, longer-term transformative change, inclusive sustainable development, effective humanitarian assistance, peace building, and protecting and strengthening democracy.

We jointly condemn the rise of undemocratic actors and actions that undermines fundamental freedoms and human rights and diminishes the enabling environment for civil society.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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