Islamabad, February 2nd: PILDAT organized here today a rigorous briefing session entitled “Strengthening Rule of Law in Pakistan” for Members of National Assembly, the Senate and local media persons. PILDAT’s Rule of Law (ROL) Committee of Experts briefed Parliamentarians and journalists on key issues and proposed reforms to strengthen ROL and access to justice in Pakistan.
Convenor of Parliamentary Caucus on Rule of Law and National Party Senator, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, chaired the briefing, which was attended by a large number of MNAs and Senators from major political parties.
Some of the Participating Parliamentarians included: Senator Najma Hameed, (Punjab, PML-N), Mr. Sajid Nawaz, MNA(NA-3, Peshawar-III, KP, PTI), Mr. Bismillah Khan, MNA (NA-43, Tribal Area-VIII, IND), Ms. Nafeesa Inayatullah Khan Khattak, MNA (women, KP, PTI), Ms. Khalida Parveen, MNA(Women, Punjab,PPPP), Ms. Shaheen Shafiq, MNA, (Women, Punjab, PML-N), Ms. Tahira Aurangzeb, MNA (Women, Punjab, PML-N), Ms. Seema Jameeli, MNA, (Women, Punjab,PML- N), Rai Hassan Nawaz Khan, MNA (NA-162, Sahiwal-II, Punjab, PTI), Ms. Ayesha Gulalai, MNA (Women, KP, PTI) and MNA Mr. Bilal Ahmed, (NA-136,Nankana Sahib, Punjab, PML-N).
During the session, PILDAT Rule of Law Committee of Experts presented a proposed Rule of Law Reform Agenda. The agenda has been prepared through countrywide consultations held by PILDAT since August 2015 with public representatives, subject experts, legal practitioners and journalists to discuss ways and means for strengthening of Police, Prosecution Services, and Free Legal Aid systems in Pakistan.
The PILDAT Rule of Law Committee of Experts comprises Dr. Shoaib Suddle, Former IG Police; Dr. Suhail Shahzad, Dean, Faculty of Law & Administrative Sciences, Hazara University; Mr. Muhammad Ali Nekokara, Former SSP Police; Ms. Ayesha Hamid, Advocate High Court; Mr. Kamran Murtaza, Senior Advocate Supreme Court and Mr. Ahmad Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT.
In a robust discussion, participants agreed that Police-Prosecution liaison at Police Station-level is necessary for creating an effective justice system. They called on the government to increase funding for Police and its Investigation Branch for effective prosecution. A general consensus emerged that Legal Aid System needs a major overhaul for which a Free Legal Aid Authority should be established. Participants also called upon the media to report on and advocate for the need of an effective justice system.
Parliamentarians lauded PILDAT’s efforts for building their awareness on Rule of Law and facilitating them with the proposed reform process. They also welcomed the proposed Reform Agenda presented at the briefing, and expressed their commitment to pursue it as part of their political and legislative priorities.
Key points of the Rule of Law Reform Agenda presented before the Parliamentarians included:
Allocation of funds and increase in budget for Police;
Amendment in Section 154 of Code of Criminal Procedure 1898;
FIRs to be made simple, online and computerised;
No arrest to be made after FIR without evidence;
Protection of witnesses through enactment of relevant laws to prevent resiling testimony from witnesses;
Establishment of Legal Aid Authority; and
Enactment of Public Defenders & Legal Aid Office Ordinance 2007.
The Briefing Session was organised by PILDAT as part of “Reforms in Rule of Law in Pakistan” project, supported by Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) under the Enhanced Democratic Accountability and Civic Engagement (EDACE) project.
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