Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial has urged the legislature, the executive, and other state organs to play their role to uphold rule of law and supremacy of constitution in the country.
Addressing the 9th international judicial conference in Islamabad on Friday, he said the judiciary alone cannot pursue these ideals single handedly.
The Chief Justice said that the court has the power to declare the rights guaranteed to the people by the constitution and the law but it cannot implement the same except in some circumstances. He said it is therefore the executive which must take charge in this regard and ensure that the words of the court are translated into practical actions for the people.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan said the bar is also expected to join hands in delivery of justice to the people.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial said apart from enforcing the fundamental rights of marginalized segments of the society, the apex court of Pakistan has also delivered landmark judgments to reinforce other dimensions of rule of law. In this respect, the court has come a long way to become a champion for cause of democracy in the country by burying the doctrine of necessity which in the past had been resorted to justify the imposition of martial law.
The Chief Justice recalled that the court had to intervene after the President ordered dissolution of National Assembly in April 2022 on the advice of the then Prime Minister. He said the court found the dissolution as unconstitutional and ordered restoration of the National Assembly for the formation of a parliamentary government in accordance with the provisions of constitution.
The Chief Justice said regardless of the efforts of the court to strengthen democracy in the country, progress can only be made if all political parties come together to follow the established democratic practices and perform their respective roles in the parliament under the constitution.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan said a purely political impasse does not have legal solutions. It can only be resolved through dialogue between political leaders and their parties. He said the judiciary has no role to break a political deadlock. He said like other citizens, it is our sincere hope that the political leadership of the country shall take necessary corrective steps and confidence building measures with national interest as their foremost consideration.
The Chief Justice said our court recognizes climate justice as essential facet of the rule of law.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial said the apex court has also been active in dispensing in social, economic and cultural justice to the people.
The Chief Justice said concerted efforts are underway to reduce the backlog of cases to ensure that justice is delivered inexpensively and expeditiously to litigants. He said the litigants are encouraged to make use of alternate dispute resolution mechanisms to amicably resolve their legal disputes. He said other measures include digitalization of the judiciary and hearing of cases through video links. He said we are also prioritizing early release of cause lists.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan we have managed for the first time to reverse the trend of increasing backlog.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial said the judiciary is ready and willing to defend the constitution.
Earlier speaking on the occasion, Chairman Organizing Committee of the Conference Justice Amin-Ud-Din Khan said this conference will help to cover the gulf between public and the judiciary. He said this conference also provides a platform to bring reforms in the judicial system of the country.
Justice Amin-Ud-Din Khan said judiciary has a significant role in maintaining rule of law and upholding the supremacy of constitution.
Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Athar Minallah in his remarks called for improving governance of court system. He said there is a lot of space to be improved. He said Islamabad High Court is taking numerous steps to reform court system.
Chief Justice Balochistan High Court Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan highlighted the progress made by judicial system in Balochistan. He said role of information technology cannot be denied to improve and expedite the process of justice.
On the occasion, Acting Chief Justice of Federal Shariat Court Dr. Syed Muhammad Anwer said Shariat Court has zero pendency of cases. He said Shariat court is also taking steps to help legislative in incorporating Islamic injunctions in various laws.
Chief Justice Supreme Court Azad Jammu and Kashmir Raja Saeed Akram Khan said rule of law cannot be achieved with an independent judiciary.
Acting Chief Judge of Gilgit Baltistan Justice Wazir Shakeel Ahmed emphasized to bring GB judiciary at par with that of in Pakistan and other provinces.
Chief Justice Sindh High Court Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh in his remarks said it is responsibility of judiciary to ensure that there is no discrimination in society.
Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan called for introspection and self-accountability. He said Peshawar High Court is taking steps to establish district court in newly merged districts.
Chief Justice Lahore High Court Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti said LHC is making all out efforts to reduce backlog of cases. He said over one hundred and seventy thousand cases were disposed of by LHC whereas 2.9 million cases were decided by LHC.
On the occasion, Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Amir Rehman read a message on behalf of Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali. He called for reforming lower courts to improve justice system of the country.
A short documentary about the evolution and progress of judicial system in Pakistan was also screened.