- Says lingering litigation, particularly in cases of land grabbing, was a big hurdle
Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday, terming the rule of law a vital part of any civilized society, said the government would provide better working conditions to the judiciary to help them ensure doling our speedy justice.
Addressing at the foundation-laying ceremony of the Judicial Complex, comprising 93 district courts, he said the project would facilitate all stakeholders, including the bench, bar and the petitioners.
The judicial complex, to be built by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Frontier Works Organization (FWO) in G-11/4 at a land measuring 195,000 sq ft, will be completed in six months.
At present, the district courts for the last 40 years have been functioning within a rented market at F-8 Markaz, sans reasonable facilities for judges, lawyers and petitioners.
Terming dispensation of justice, especially to the weaker segments of society a priority, the prime minister said he had also named his political party 25 years ago on the same title and vision.
PM Imran said he was proud to be part of the "epic democratic struggle" of the 2007's lawyers' movement against a military dictator. He, however, regretted that the targets could not be fully achieved.
He mentioned that the political elite in the country continued to demand for preferential treatment and considered them above the law.
"A country can never progress, where two separate streams of justice prevail for the powerful and the weaker ones," he said.
He pointed out that lingering litigation, particularly in cases of land grabbing, was a big hurdle in the way to investment by the overseas Pakistanis.
The prime minister lauded Chief Justice Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah for giving several landmark verdicts in the interest of society and environmental protection.
He appreciated the CDA and FWO for starkly reducing the cost of PC-1 to Rs 1.5 billion compared with the previous one of Rs 6.5 billion.
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. He said the goals of the 2007 movement were yet to be accomplished as its leaders had promised the masses a journey towards "a State like a mother', that protected and cared for its citizens.
However, he said that such struggle could not be limited to judiciary alone.
"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 said.
The chief justice said the efficiency of a judicial system relied on good leadership and proper prosecution by the investigating departments.
He said district courts act as the guarantor to upholding the rule of law; however, extending facilities to the judicial setup and common man was ignored since the establishment of Islamabad as a capital.
"The day is of utmost importance, because for the first time a government has realized that people are the real stakeholders of the justice system," Justice Minallah said.
Earlier, Chairman CDA Amer Ali Ahmed gave a briefing to the Prime Minister on the features of the judicial complex.
Law Minister Barrister Farogh Naseem, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bokhari and members from the judges and lawyers' fraternity were present.
The multi-storey judicial complex will comprise four blocks of 93 district courts, an administrative block, a bakhshi khana (lockup for prisoners), a NADRA verification room, and separate waiting areas for lawyers and petitioners.