In response to increasing international emphasis on and need of a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country, the government of Pakistan established the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) under an Act of parliament called National Commission for Human Rights Act 2012. By virtue of this law, the Commission is deemed to work as an independent body to promote and protect human rights in the country.However, the underlying spirit of the Commission as an independent NHRI is currently at stake. Ministry of Human Rights (MoHR) has recently made changes to its rules of business which place the NCHR under its administrative control. Such an act stands against the founding law of the Commission that ensures autonomy of the Commission under Section 16 (1). It is also against the Paris Principles which set minimum standards and guiding principles for the composition and function of National Human Rights Institutions.Under these principles, any NHRI is not bound to work under any administrative body. It can only be accountable to the parliament and to the head of a national government or state. Once the Commission is practically brought under the administrative control of MoHR, it will unfortunately cease to work as an independent institution.The Commission will also struggle to get A class accreditation by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI). Additionally, this will bring ill repute to the country at various international forums. Pakistan would also have to face a tough time in the upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to be held in November this year.Most importantly, this move could potentially harm Pakistan’s GSP + status with the European Union. Pakistan has already made immense trade and commercial benefits out of this status. The Ministry of Human Rights (MoHR) has recently made changes to its rules of business which place the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) under its administrative controlIt can safely be said that although conflict existed between MoHR and NCHR since the formation of the Commission, it surfaced and became more public when the NCHR submitted an independent report to the United Nations Convention against Torture (CAT). Apparently, in reaction to this, the MoHR has done all this to place NCHR under its administrative control.Apparently, the government maintains the NCHR does not have the mandate to submit an independent report to UN treaty bodies. In reality, the NCHR is actually entitled to submit such reports in light of relevant international guidelines of NHRIs, other intentional obligations and founding laws of the Commission.According to a Democracy Reporting International Report, although the National Commission for Human Rights Act 2012 does not explicitly grant the NCHR the right to submit independent reports to treaty monitoring bodies of the UN, the law could be interpreted to suggest that nothing prohibits such reports. Sub section (l) of Section 9 of the Act also allows the Commission to perform such and other functions it may consider necessary for the promotion of human rights.Under the United Nations Paris Principles, the NCHR is also mandated to submit such reports to UN treaty bodies. These principles ask NHRIs including NCHR “to cooperate with the United Nations and any other organisation in the United Nations system… in the areas of the protection and promotion of human rights”Treaty monitoring bodies have also issued general comments on the role of NHRIs in terms of independently reporting to them. The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which Pakistan is party to also provides for submissions and oral presentations by NHRIs before pre-session working groups and the sessions of the committee.More than this, the act of submitting independent report by NHRIs to the UN’s treaty monitoring bodies is a well established norm among many States in the world. Even in our regions, we have such examples. According to the same DRI report, Nepal’s NHRIs have in the past jointly submitted independent reports to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Universal Periodic Review Process.Thus, the act of bringing NCHR under the administrative control of MoHR on account of its report to the UN is not valid. The Commission should be left free to work independently and charges against it for its report to the UN should be dropped.Otherwise, our country will lose an independent human rights protection body and fail to comply with our international human rights obligations.In the current age of digital revolution and connectivity, our government might not be able to hide its human rights failures by stopping human rights institutions from reporting to international bodies. Writer has done Masters in Human Rights and Democratisation from the University of Sydney Published in Daily Times, July 7th , 2017.