Posted by: Administrator | 8 August, 2006

President Address at International Judicial Conference

Bhurban, 14 August 2006

Hon’ able Chief Justice of Pakistan Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a matter of immense pleasure and privilege to be amongst this August gathering of judiciary and members of the legal profession. I take this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to our eminent guests from abroad, who have joined us to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Supreme Court of Pakistan, which coincides with the 59th anniversary of our Independence Day. We are honoured that for the first time, in the history of our country, such a galaxy of judges, jurists and scholars have gathered here in Pakistan.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

14th of August, the day Pakistan emerged as an independent nation on the world map, has an immense significance in our lives. I wish to avail of this opportunity to extend my sincerest felicitations to all my Pakistani brothers and sisters on this happy occasion. It is a day to pay homage to the father of our nation, Quaid.-i-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, whose greatness and achievements have been recorded by an eminent historian in these words: “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with a nation state. Muhammad

Ali Jinnah did all three”

It is also a day of remembrance and nostalgia, a day to pay homage to all those great men and women, who under the able leadership of Quaid-.i-Azam, waged a valiant struggle to secure an independent homeland for us. The theme at this Conference, ‘Justice for all’ is very close to our hearts as the father of our nation himself belonged to the legal fraternity and was a jurist par excellence, who believed in the supremacy of law. He never resorted or encouraged politics of ‘agitation and never violated the law during the entire freedom movement. His struggle was one of principles, sound reasoning and logic. His aim was the creation of an independent sovereign Islamic welfare State (Pakistan), where the Muslims of South Asia could lead their lives free from subjugation and dominance, in harmony with all other communities.

Just as the Quaid wished freedom for the Muslims of South Asia, he also stood for the principles of our great religion Islam. In Islam, human beings regardless of race, colour and creed have the right to justice and all basic human rights. Quaid-i­Azam summed it up perfectly in his address to the legal fraternity on January 25, 1948, and I quote:- “Islam has taught equality, justice, fair play to everybody. Islam has not only set virtues, traditions and spiritual doctrine. Islam is a code. It is based on the highest principles of honour, integrity, fair play and justice for all. In Islam there is difference between men and women qualities of equality, liberty and fraternity are the fundamental principles of Islam.”

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, we, the people of Pakistan hold the legal fraternity in the highest of esteem and there is a close linkage between Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and our Independence Day celebrations.

In the history of institutions like the Supreme Court, half a century is not a long time. These institutions have permanence.

The citizens of Pakistan look up to the Supreme Court with eternal hope and expectation as the ultimate protector of fundamental rights and the final forum for dispensation of justice.

Over the years, Pakistan’s Judiciary has performed its responsibilities, as one of the three pillars of the State with distinction.

While Pakistan has taken giant strides in the revival of its economy and improving social sectors, we cannot be complacent with our achievements. We need to constantly strive towards the ultimate goal that all benefits reach the poorest in our country. As a nation, we face many challenges today, which include among others:

– Scourge of terrorism and extremism.

– Economic exploitation of our natural wealth i.e. water, coal, minerals,

hydrocarbons etc.

– Conservation of our environment, ecosystem and biodiversity.

– Rule of law, good governance, recognition of merit and stamping out corruption.

These challenges are formidable, yet these can be overcome, if all the three pillars of State show full determination and act in unison. Our success in effectively meeting these, challenges is crucial to the overall progress of the nation.

Theme of the Conference `Justice for all’ has national as well as international dimensions. Whereas, dispensation of timely justice is a fundamental need of any civil society, similarly, political, economic and social justice as well as the rule of international law is sine qua non for global peace and harmony.

The pangs of deprivation of fundamental rights of freedom and dignity, the frustration of being treated unjustly and the reaction to oppression is manifesting itself in different forms around the globe. Injustice breeds resentment and makes people vulnerable to exploitation by terrorists and obscurantist: forces, which thrive on the margins of any society.

An even-handed approach, in an honest open effort, to solve festering disputes, would advance the cause of peace and justice, making the world a far safer place to live in for us and the future generations.

Ladies & Gentlemen:

Speedy dispensation of justice has been a priority item on our agenda. We know that Governance can only improve, if people have easy access to justice, which is quick and inexpensive.

 The Government is committed to providing an enabling environment for dispensation of speedy justice for all. In a fast changing world, the system of administration of justice can only be effective through a process of continuous reform in the administrative, legislative and judicial spheres.

We have undertaken reforms in all these areas. In the judicial sphere an Access to Justice Programme is presently underway to improve the delivery of justice. However, it is now universally recognized that justice is not possible through the formal processes of justice, alone. Arbitration is now regarded as the engine of globalisation, where parties have the option to choose impartial, neutral and international experts to decide their disputes. Today, the corporate sector prefers to seek resolution of disputes through arbitrators. Along with arbitration, Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) techniques and Early Dispute Resolution (EDR) techniques are increasingly gaining acceptance. Mediation is one such technique.

The effort launched by the Chief Justice of Pakistan to set up the first mediation centre in the Sindh High Court is laudable. The working of formal justice system along with alternate and early dispute resolution methods will indeed help regulate the, overflow of the courts. The formal justice system is creaking under the burden of arrears. We hope that the courts of formal justice with such alternate resolution fora will speed up the process and reduce the expense of justice. Unless justice is inexpensive and expeditious, it cannot be justice for all.

The Government on its part, has also taken a number of steps to strengthen the institution of judiciary and provide the general public easy and effortless access to justice such as:

– Independent Prosecution Service

– Enactment of Consumer Protection Laws and setting up of Consumer Courts.

– Capacity building of judiciary and lawyers

– Special: incentives to women to join judicial and legal professions.

– Automation plan to overcome communication disconnect.

A comprehensive review of civil and criminal laws has been undertaken, and I am happy to state that the amendments to laws aimed at the emancipation of women and women rights are presently being debated in our Parliament.

At the end, I would like to thank the Chief Justice of Pakistan for affording me of the opportunity to address this: eminent congregation of jurists from within Pakistan and abroad. This Conference is indeed a befitting tribute to the Golden Jubilee of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. I may add that the presence of the Honourable Justices and distinguished Members of the legal fraternity from across the world has enriched the proceedings of this Conference; we are beholden to them for taking out the time to join us on this auspicious occasion.

May Allah be our Guide and Protector.

I thank you all. Pakistan Paindabad !

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