Setting direction: Executive, judiciary agree on rule of law roadmap

Published: August 8, 2018


ISLAMABAD: Members of the executive, judiciary and civil society from provinces on Tuesday agreed on importance of rule of law roadmap implementation plans.

At the event convened by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and British High Commission at Bhurban, police, forensics, prosecutions, parole and probation and judiciary from Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Punjab emphasised value of strong cross-institutional engagement.

Sindh confirmed their roadmap will be completed by end of the year.

Punjab Caretaker Home Minister Shaukat Javed said improving rule of law is not only about convicting criminals, it is also about building confidence among citizens that state can provide justice.

He welcomed opportunity afforded to build synergies between provinces on common rule of law challenges.

Going forward, Javed recommended that a list of rule of law priorities should be presented to new administration, and that the federal government should play a coordinating role at national level.

He also pointed out that Punjab, like other provinces, has introduced some path breaking reforms in past few months, such as Witness Protection Act and Legal Aid Act, which he hoped would improve people’s experience of justice system.

Law and Justice Commission Secretary Dr Muhammad Raheem Awan emphasised on the role the Provincial Justice Committees can play in bringing all rule of law actors together around a systemic problem, for example prison overcrowding or submission of challans.

He highlighted recommendations made by the eighth judicial conference – many of which resonated with those architects of provincial roadmaps presented in Bhurban.

A panel discussion chaired by UNODC Senior Rule of Law Expert Tariq Khosa followed the opening remarks, during which senior representatives from each province presented strategic goals in their roadmaps and governance structure for implementing them.

British High Commission supported development of all rule of law roadmaps including through UNODC in Balochistan which continues to support its implementation. Susan Loughhead, on behalf of the British High Commission, said it had been an exciting and innovative two year journey and she was delighted to see four provinces and all judicial stakeholders discussing their roadmaps and how to implement them.

Jouhaida Hanano from UNODC stressed importance of implementation going forward, and the need to continue coordination and collaboration.

The next event will be a conference at national level, sharing the roadmaps with the new administration, and next provincial synergies meeting will be hosted by Balochistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2018.

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