Nation needs constitutional integration on all vital issues

Nation needs constitutional integration on all vital issues

ISLAMABAD: (APP) Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Anwar Zaheer Jamali has said that in view of challenges confronting the state and justice sector it is critical there is a basic national consensus at institutional level on vital issues that affect stability and security.

The rule of law must be foremost amongst these considerations, he said in his message on the eve of the 70th Independence Day.

On behalf of judiciary, the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan, the National Judicial (Policy-Making) Committee and respective provincial justice committees, he extended felicitations to the people of Pakistan.

The Chief Justice said, "In order to enable such inter-institutional dialogue, we took initiative by inviting Chairman of Senate to Supreme Court of Pakistan to talk at First Jinnah Lecture on importance of institutions, which the Chairman accepted."

He said there was no doubt that last many years had been particularly testing for both citizens, and the justice sector to respond effectively to rule of law challenges.

He shared some key achievements and efforts being made to respond to challenges within limitation of given resources and said on November 30, 2015, as head of Judicial Branch, he as Chief Justice of Pakistan responded to Chairman Senate's invitation and addressed Senate's Committee of Whole on justice reforms

"These are historic events that set a new precedent, which we hope will translate into a positive convention of inter-institutional dialogue to develop a consensus on vital issues," he added.

The Chief Justice said it was also indicative of institutions becoming confident in implementing their mandates.

Justice Jamali said in order to affect change, "we need to first move our institutional thinking to be more critical about our performance and be reform minded to devise and implement suitable solutions."

He said like other public sector institutions, the judiciary tended to focus narrowly on adjudication as its core function.

But given the challenges and justice sector role in state and society, "we are moving to appreciate our role and law in wider context. We are focusing on need to be innovative and proactive to reach out to citizens. These are qualitative shifts." For instance, he said, "we are beginning to take a much broader view to better understand demand side to appreciate citizens' justice needs and, thereby, strengthen justice supply chain accordingly, quality assuring justice services and being more strategic in our planning and service delivery."

He hoped that these efforts would bring about much needed changes.

He said moved by citizens' inability to have access to justice, "we are committed to supporting implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 2016 on access to justice and are supporting the development of the Rights Safety Net initiative.

"We have operationalised Provincial Justice Committees that bring together Judicial and Executive branches of State to review performance and implement reforms to improve quality of service delivery," he said and added the first task for Provincial Justice Committees was to develop their respective roadmaps for change, based on proper assessments.

By providing a provincial sector level body, these initiatives essentially strengthen inter-organisational dialogue and coordination, and thereby policy and planning functions to improve service delivery, he added.

The Chief Justice said, "My message to you all is of hope, courage and confidence. Let us mobilize all our resources in a systematic and organized way and tackle grave issues that confront us with grim determination and discipline worthy of a great nation."