Work begins on legal reforms
QUETTA: Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar on Tuesday announced to bring reforms in the judiciary and said that the laws pertaining to the judiciary had become obsolete, saying that the solution to basic rights is the priority of the judiciary but it does not have the power of legislation.
The chief justice addressed lawyers in the Quetta Registry's bar room on Tuesday, telling them that his head hangs in shame due to target killings of the Hazara community. The chief justice said that he had initiated work on several reforms and prays to Allah to succeed him in this process. "I want volunteers who will join me in this cause," he said, adding that our lawmakers do not have time for lawmaking according to latest trends while the judiciary is overburdened with cases.
Some 30 years have passed but the cases are still pending in courts, he said adding that the lawyers and judges should cooperate to end this backlog. He said that they did not have the powers for lawmaking and those who have the powers do not have the time to carry it out. "We don't have the privilege to legislate and those who do have it are not legislating," he said during the address.
The CJP said he feels ashamed over the killings of Hazara community. "When the August 8 attack on lawyers occurred, I reached Quetta after that and witnessed the courage of the people of the province." He said that ensuring basic rights for the masses is their top priority and he will play his role in ensuring provision of basic rights to the people of Balochistan.
The chief justice said that instead of taking shortcuts, the lawyers should work hard while preparing for cases and should assist him in his endeavor to bring new legal reforms. Unfortunately, there had been cases pending for the last 32 years in courts, and poor people died while waiting for justice.
He said the judges were burdened with more work due to which there was a problem in dealing with those cases. He also directed the chief secretary Balochistan to resolve the just issues of Balochistan lawyers within 20 days.
Earlier, when Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar reached the District Court, Quetta, the lawyers welcomed him. Thechief justice inspected various fields of District Court and directed senior Member Board of Revenue, Balochistan, to provide lawyers security and feasible parking lots and take steps to resolve problems being faced by women lawyers on priority basis.
The CJP said that courts should end the culture of strikes and focus more on making hasty and right decisions, adding shortage of judges and strikes were the main reason of delay in cases. Chief Justice Balochistan Muhammad Noor Meskanzai, Chief Secretary Balochistan Aurangzeb Haq and deputy commissioner Quetta were also present on the occasion.
Meanwhile, the health and education secretaries of Balochistan faced the ire of Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar as he resumed hearing in a suo motu case on various issues of public interest on Tuesday.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Mansoor Ali, conducted a hearing on the suo motu notice taken on Balochistan s healthcare, education and water crisis at the Quetta Registry on Tuesday.
As the hearing went under way, the chief justice expressed serious displeasure at the provincial Health Secretary Saleh Nasir.
He berated the top health official of the province over the deplorable state of public hospitals as well as the salaries given to young doctors. Justice Saqib Nisar warned Saleh Nasir of halting his salary until the province's doctors were paid their dues. He also lamented that the province pays its doctors only Rs24,000 a month whereas a driver of the apex court gets paid Rs35,000.
Justice Nisar directed the health secretary to clear the dues of young doctors. Why haven't the young doctors been paid yet, he asked adding that all the doctors on house jobs should get paid within a week and their valid demands should be met.
Later, appearing before the bench, the education secretary informed the court that half of the schools in the province don't have water, saying that 11,000 toilets were constructed in the provincial schools in the last three years. The Supreme Court was told that up to a million children in Balochistan were not going to school. Balochistan Education Secretary Noorul Haq Baloch, while briefing the chief justice on the dire situation of Balochistan's education system, said up to 11,000 primary schools in the province lacked basic facilities and as many as a million children are not getting school education. At this, Justice Nisar remarked that the situation in Balochistan was even worse than Sindh.
The education secretary informed the court that the government oversees 1,135 primary schools and admitted on the court questioning that these institutes do not have all the required facilities. During the hearing, the chief justice remarked that the provincial government had failed to provide governance. The education secretary responded further that a lack of funds restricts improvement in the sector and also blamed the teachers union of politicising everything.
The chief justice then instructed him to submit a policy report in 15 days, observing that he used to think the situation in Sindh was dire but there was nothing here. The hearing was then briefly adjourned after which the chief justice left for a visit to the district courts where he interacted with lawyers and instructed authorities to improve the facilities there