ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday expressed concern over delay in justice and increasing number of pending cases.

Addressing judicial conference in Islamabad on Friday, he said that being the CJP, he was trying provide quick and cheap justice.

The Conference is organized by the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan under the auspices of the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC).

The Conference will also provide a chance to the participants to identify and suggest ways to remove the potential hurdles which are considered part and parcel of Foreign Direct Investment of this nature and magnitude. Therefore, one of the topics of discussion is mechanisms of Alternate Dispute Resolution. These must be put in place before investment starts pouring in. The benefits of alternate dispute resolution have been lauded at many different platforms.

“Reforms for quick and cheap justice are my priority,” he said and added justice has a very important role in the prosperity of the nation.

“Another important theme of this Conference is one that is close to my heart; the problem of delays and backlog of cases in our legal system. I use the words “legal system” instead of “judicial system” because I believe that the Bar and the Judiciary are equally responsible for the same. It is only when we join hands to eradicate such problems that we can rid the nation of this menace. We are all familiar with the issue of chronic delays in the dispensation of Justice,” Saqib Nisar said.

“Being the head of the judiciary of Pakistan, I am committed to revamping the system through various modes including judicial reforms. However, this issue needs to be addressed by adopting a holistic and synchronized approach. It is vital for all relevant institutions to coordinate and work together for reducing delays in finalization of legal disputes. This thematic session is specifically designed to discuss the strategies for delay reduction and expeditious disposal of cases.

The participants will also formulate workable solutions for identifying and eradicating the reasons for such delays. To this end we must find ways to enhance cooperation between the judiciary, the legal fraternity and the other related institutions,” he added.

The Chief Justice said that this conference plays an important role towards achieving the goal of smooth administration of justice and establishing the rule of law in the country. It primarily promotes interaction between various stakeholders from the legal profession, academia and other allied fields.

He said that the conference allows them all to share their views not only on different aspects of the law and its implementation but also the obstacles being faced in the administration of justice. It also becomes a breeding ground for new ideas and strategies to tackle such obstacles. Many of the issues of our country have been faced by other nations in the past.

He said the presence of experts from foreign jurisdictions allows us to draw on their experience and enables us to benefit from the manner in which other countries have tackled the same. This Conference has been organized in an effort to bring together all the stakeholders to join hands and pool ideas for the reformation of the Judicial System and for devising ways and means for ensuring inexpensive and expeditious justice for all. This is one of the foremost duties of our State under Article 37 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, he added.

Justice Saqib Nisar said that the direct foreign investment in Pakistan will increase with China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, adding that the landmark project is a project of social and economic development between Pakistan and China.

“Our friend and CPEC partner China has one of the five largest Patent Registration Offices in the World. Pakistan is in the process of streamlining its legal regime and institutions in this area. But much needs to be done.

We must ensure that adequate legal information is available to our citizens and business entities when it comes to venturing into business with citizens and corporations of other countries. Local businesses and individuals as well as foreign entities and individuals who have chosen Pakistan for their investment activities are entitled to security and effective dispute resolution mechanisms with respect to intellectual property as well as their investments,” the CJP said.

The Chief Justice said that the NJPMC has carefully designed the themes of this Judicial Conference, to engage the maximum number of stakeholders. They will share their views for revamping the judicial system as per the dictates of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Discussions in this Conference will provide a chance to the participants to suggest ways for legal and economic integration at the regional level for Socio-economic growth of the country which is expected as an outcome of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“While celebrating this step forward, we must also be fully equipped to deal with grey areas in the legal and administrative landscape which may hinder our country from taking full advantage of the numerous opportunities provided by CPEC. In this regard deliberation and serious dialogue is required to assess the pros and cons of the CPEC and its legal, social, cultural and economic aspects and suggest ways-forward to make the CPEC a win-win situation for both Pakistan and China,” he added.

Among other aspects, the Chief Justice said: “CPEC promises direct foreign investment. A thematic session regarding the uncharted territory of economic and social integration of the two countries is planned. Experts can deliberate on how we, as a nation, can maximize the benefits of Foreign Direct Investment that CPEC will bring with it. It will offer the participants a unique platform to explore the issues and possible measures to cater for any unforeseen and unaddressed problem areas.”

He said that this forum will also provide an opportunity to the stakeholders to discuss issues relating to the environment which as a nation we have unfortunately been lax about in the past.

“We cannot overlook the impact of a project of this magnitude on the environment and ecology. In this regard, I would like to remind the distinguished participants that both the environment and the citizens must be kept in mind when we debate matters involving investment, growth, progress, industrialization and development of infrastructure. The corporate social responsibilities of local and foreign corporations must be emphasized and ways to ensure adherence found,” he said.

On this forum, for the first time the subject of Foreign Direct Investment has been selected for discussion by experts from the legal, banking and other technical relevant fields. Generally, Foreign Direct Investment has remained a subject about which the general public is seldom made aware; particularly, with regard to the untapped opportunities that they can benefit from, with Foreign Investment flowing into the country. This forum is designed to provide an opportunity to experts, in raising awareness about Foreign Investment and suggest ways to ensure that the fruits of economic activity and growth reach every citizen of our country, he said.

The Conference will also provide a forum to deliberate upon the most effective methodology and fora for dispute resolution through commercial arbitration with the aim of developing a workable mechanism for investment treaty arbitration in inter-state disputes. I would like to point out that small businesses are expected to receive a boost from the economic opportunities of CPEC. Therefore, effective ADR mechanisms must be developed and encouraged to optimize the utility of the same at all levels of the economy. It is often the small and medium level businesses which are attracted by the cost saving benefits of ADR not to mention the attraction of avoiding prolonged litigation.

“Last, but not the least, is the theme designed to determine the relationship between political and economic stability and the revamping of the criminal justice system. This group will provide a unique opportunity to institutions to deliberate on developing policies and suggesting law reforms aimed at improving the criminal justice system,” the CJP said.
This will ensure that investors from other countries do not shy away from our country on account of lack of faith in the criminal justice system. The political and economic conditions of a country have strong nexus with the rate of crime prevalent in a country.

He said that law enforcement as well as implementation mechanisms go a long way in developing confidence in a judicial system. The implementation of law and guarantee of safety of person, business and property is essential for restoring the faith of investors in a country’s economy. At the root of political and economic stability lies the criminal justice system, which provides the foundation for the state and the economy to thrive. For this, both the limbs of the criminal justice system must be revamped, i.e., the investigation agencies as well as the criminal courts. – NNI