The Kasur and the other recent cases highlight the grave erosion of rule of law and weak Constitutional governance that is jeopardizing citizens’ Fundamental Rights and thereby their lives and property. There is a dire need to take steps to move the public debate on justice sector forward.
Working on rule of law reform agenda is a need of a time when all the three constitutional pillars of state i.e. parliament, executive and judiciary are raising the demand for reforming justice system through legislative, policy and administrative reforms. It is important to analyse what can be done to counter the State inaction that “permits” such incidents to occur, and prompt reform to improve the reach and quality of justice and security services to protect citizens’ lives and properties as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973.
As a core national institution working for enhancing demand for justice and strengthening rule of law in Pakistan, PJN in collaboration with Jinnah Center for the Rule of Law (JCfROL), a national rule of law and governance policy think-thank, has taken a self-initiative and started the process of development of national rule of law reform agenda. Through extensive consultative process with technical experts from media, bar, government, policy think-tanks, private sector and civil society organisations, we have outline an eleven points national rule of law reform agenda – charter of demands as a discussion document for stakeholders that will eventually be submitted to political parties to consider as an integral part of their manifesto policy commitments.
The Charter for Rule of Law focuses on systems reforms to realise the ROL as a political and moral ideal and rule-based governance that is just, impartial and inclusive as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The intention is to create and ensure a robust system of governance that reinforces the quality of rule of law services, in particular, justice and security services with respect to the poor, vulnerable and marginalised. The Rule of Law Reform Agenda has also been annexed with the letter.
Since sustainable ROL reform is a policy exercise, the objective is that political parties should be engaged to make ROL reform a priority and that the JCfROL should engage and work with State institutions and political parties to enhance the quality and access of justice and civilian security services.
We will take this reform agenda with the political parties so that they can incorporate rule of law reform points in their manifestoes as pre-election initiatives that can be advocated post-election for legislative and policy reforms.
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