PAKISTAN: Protest over UN bodies’ decision to give an award to IT minister

Dear Mr. Ban Ki-moon

PAKISTAN: Protest over UN bodies’ decision to give an award to IT minister

This is to formally lodge our serious protest over the fact that the United Nations’ Women and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have given “Gem-Tech Global Achievement Award” to Pakistan’s Minister of State for Information Technology Ms. Anusha Rehman, who is responsible for rendering nearly 3,000 women jobless. 

Following facts are for your kind consideration:

1) As the State Minister, Ms. Rehman played a shady and negative role in the closure of Pakistan’s leading IT Company, Axact, which employed more than 5,000 people, including nearly 3,000 women. Axact has been the target of an unprecedented witch hunt and extreme victimization under the pretext of malicious and false charges of its involvement in the business of “fake degrees” by the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Ms. Rehman’s Ministry suspended the license of Axact even for those business units which are not under investigations or face any charges. This includes the business of call center. 

2) The UN has awarded Ms. Rehman believing that she works for the empowerment of women and for their open affordable access in the IT sector. But the award has been given undermining merit and without any investigations. Ms. Rehman has poor understanding of the IT business – a fact reflected the way she handled the allegations against Axact. Rather than ordering and conducting an inquiry, she worked to appease the vested interest, including her political bosses, to stile Axact and close down its operations. 

3) Kindly note that Axact is Pakistan’s biggest IT Company which alone held almost 65 percent of the share in the country’s overall IT exports. Ms. Rehman’s negative and damaging role against Axact should be seen as detrimental in the growth of IT sector in Pakistan, especially of women associated in this sector. 

4) She has been actively playing a role in restricting the international non-government organizations from working in Pakistan. These organizations, too, employ a large number of women and work for the oppressed people, including women and children. 

5) The award says that she cares about young women and development. Yet she refused even to meet those young women and men who have been tirelessly trying to approach her regarding these issues and its negative impact on their lives.

The UN bodies have committed a mistake by giving the prestigious award to an undeserving Pakistani State Minister, who has been working against the interest of women and the IT industry.

We demand that the UN bodies should take into account the above mentioned facts and officially raise them with the government of Pakistan. We are happy to provide you more details regarding this issue. We also demand that UN Bodies should officially invalidate the award given to Ms. Rehman and press her to take steps to redress the wrongs she has done.

Many thanks,

Amir Zia, Journalist, 92-322-9997240, 
Nazir Leghari Journalist 92-322-9997239, 
Faysal Aziz Khan, Journalist, 0322-2007195


Send appeal to;
Mr. Ban Ki-moon 
United Nations
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General 
United Nations
S-378, New York, NY 10017 
Tel: +1 212 963 5012
Fax: +1 212 963 7055 or 2155

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : AHRC-FUA-004-2015
Countries : Pakistan,
Issues : Freedom of expression, Impunity, Right to life,