Termed the rule of law a vital part of a civilised society, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday the government would provide better working conditions to the judiciary to help them ensure speedy justice for the public.
Addressing at the foundation-laying ceremony of the judicial complex, Imran said he was proud to be part of the “epic democratic struggle” of the 2007 lawyers’ movement against a military dictator, however, he regretted, the targets could not be fully achieved.
The judicial complex, housing 93 district courts, will be constructed by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Frontier Works Organization (FWO) over land measuring 195,000 square feet. The project will be completed in six months.
The multi-storey complex will comprise four blocks of courts, an administrative block, a Bakhshi Khana [lockup], a National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) verification room, and separate waiting areas for lawyers and petitioners.
Currently, the courts have been functioning within a rented market that provides no reasonable facilities for judges, lawyers and the litigants. The prime minister said that the new judicial complex would facilitate all relevant stakeholders, including the bench, bar and the petitioners.
Terming dispensation of justice, especially to the weaker segments, a priority, Prime Minister Imran, who is also the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), mentioned that he named his political party 25 years ago on the same title and vision.
Imran said that the political elite in the country continued to demand preferential treatment for them and considered themselves above the law. “A country can never progress with two separate streams of justice – one for the powerful and the other for the weak,” he said.
The prime minister lauded Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah for giving several landmark verdicts in the interest of society and environmental protection. He appreciated the CDA and FWO for reducing the project cost to Rs1.5 billion from previous estimates of Rs6.5 billion.
On the occasion, IHC Chief Justice Minallah said access to inexpensive and speedy justice was the basic right of the people, which could be possible only “if all institutions continued to work within their ambits”.
“Supremacy of the law and the Constitution, and abiding by the oath of one’s office is a guarantee to justice and ensures the rights of the nation,” he said. “Judiciary is but a unit in the judicial system… A society where truthful witnesses become extinct and the committing of crime is overlooked, even a strong judicial system loses its authority,” he added.
The chief justice said the goals of the 2007 movement were yet to be accomplished as its leaders had promised to the masses a journey towards “a state like a mother”, that protected and cared for its citizens. However, he stressed, such struggle could not be limited to judiciary alone.
He said the efficiency of a judicial system relied on good leadership and proper prosecution by the investigating departments. He said the district courts acted as the guarantor to upholding the rule of law.
However, he added that facilities to the judicial setup and common man were ignored since the establishment of Islamabad as a capital. “The day is of utmost importance, because for the first time a government has realised that people are the real stakeholders of the justice system,” he said.
Earlier, CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed gave a briefing on the features of the judicial complex. Law Minister Barrister Farogh Naseem, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Malaika Bokhari and people from the judges and lawyers’ fraternity were also present.
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