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pakistan govt outsources justice dispensation

PAKISTAN: Government outsources justice dispensation

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Subject:PAKISTAN: Government outsources justice dispensation

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-STM-007-2017
10 February 2017

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: Government outsources justice dispensation

It is unimaginable for any democratic, law-abiding society to outsource its key function of justice. And yet, the Government of Pakistan first outsourced the dispensation of justice to the military, and now to the Panchayat and Jirga, which are known for aiding and abetting grave human rights abuses, and are the primary cause of rising honour killings and cruelties by the powerful people in the country.

On 3 February 2017, the National Assembly passed the “Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Bill” 2016, which gives legal and constitutional cover to the country’s centuries-old Jirga and Panchayat systems. With the promulgation of the bill, the state aims to ensure speedy redress of petty civil matters and reduce the burden of litigation on courts.

Instead of mainstreaming one constitution throughout the country, the state is enacting arbitrary law, which can only weaken the already fragile writ of state and rule of law. 
Pakistan’s archaic laws and collapsing judicial system is signalling a regression to medieval times, bringing the country on the verge of anarchy and chaos. Although civil society activists legal experts have long demanded an overhaul of the criminal justice system, the state’s priorities have always laid elsewhere.

By strengthening the Panchayat and Jirga system (which was previously declared illegal by Pakistan’s judiciary), its abuse of human rights, particularly against the weak and vulnerable, is given legal cover and institutionalized. Women’s rights activists have expressed their concerns, citing the karo kari (honour killings) incidents that have been ongoing with complete impunity due to the Jirgas.

The 20-point National Action Plan that the state is claiming to follow in the enactment of this bill has envisaged a complete overhauling and reforming of the criminal justice system. Far from a reformation of the system, the ADR bill is a testament to a collapsing judicial system.

The Law Minister tabled the bill initially in the federal capital, and it will gradually be implemented in other provinces with the consent of provincial governments, as amendments in civil laws are in the domain of the provinces.

It is pertinent to mention that a mere 23 members in a 342 member’s house, less than the required quorum, passed the bill. It must be asked why such an important bill was passed without extensive deliberation, and why no consultations with legal experts were held. Moreover, the Act backtracks on the Supreme Court order of 2012 holding the Jirga system to be illegal and unconstitutional. Earlier in 2004, the Sindh High Court banned all trials conducted under the Jirga system throughout Sindh, and ordered that all those found violating the order would be charged with contempt.

Given the sensitive nature of the bill, the legislators should have been extra cautious to leave no ambiguity to cause any potential abuse; unfortunately, the bill is replete with ambiguity. The appointment of mediators for instance, called ‘neutrals’ is provided for by stating that:

“The government, after consultation with the high court, shall notify in the official gazette a panel of neutrals for each district from amongst lawyers, retired Judges of superior and subordinate judiciary, retired civil servants, social workers, ulema, jurists, technocrats and expels and such other persons of repute and integrity having such qualifications and experience as may prescribed.”

The Bill does not mention how ‘repute, integrity and other qualifications’ is to be determined however. How will the government ensure that the neutral is unbiased against the vulnerable factions of society, and not prejudiced against minority and women? In fact, the appointment of such neutrals is a farce, as several parliamentarians have reportedly been presiding over these Jirgas, thus perpetuating the feudal system. The vested interest of the legislators becomes apparent by a perusal of the definitions clause:

Definitions.— In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context, — (a) ‘Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)’ means a process in which parties resort to a method of resolving the dispute other than by adjudication by Courts and includes arbitration, mediation and dispute resolution through Panchayat;

The inclusion of Panchayat exposes the true and vested interest of the legislators who are mostly feudal lords themselves, and regularly preside over such proceedings, charge hefty sums.

The state has also not ensured that human rights of the litigants are not abused. In case of human rights abuse, the aggrieved party has no redressal. The act also provides no dispute resolution as the Pakistan Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code are not applicable. Moreover, Section 19 of the Bill states

19) (3) No legal proceedings shall lie against a Neutral or any other person or official associated in the ADR process for any act done or omitted to be done in good faith in the course of the performance of his functions, in reference to such ADR.

To reconcile the call for speedy expeditious justice while easing the backlog of cases from the lower judiciary, the state should have set up more ADR Centers instead of regularizing the panchayat. The civil society’s contention with the law is that Panchayats are legalized through the act. The ADR should have been limited to petty civil matters; by extending the ambit to criminal matters the panchayat has been bolstered to extend its clout.

The Act requires more scrutiny and should have been passed after extensive consultation with civil society to make it abuse free. In its current form, the bill has the potential to cause abuse and miscarriage of justice.

# # #

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) works towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia. Established in 1984, the Hong Kong based organisation is a Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, 2014.

Read this Statement online

 

 

Visit our website with more features at www.humanrights.asia.

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pakistan ranks 8 among most polluted nationa

Pakistan ranks eight among countries affected by climate change’

  • January 27, 2016

 

 

  • Web Desk

KARACHI: Pakistan is the eighth country most vulnerable to climate change in the world. The coastal areas are the most emergent threats and hundreds of kilometres area is susceptible to sea intrusion.

This was revealed by Karachi University institute of environmental studies registrar and professor Dr Moazzam Ali Khan during a climate conference on Monday. The event was organised by Youth Parliament.

“Rainfall on the coastal belt has decreased by 20%,” said Khan, adding that exotic species on the coast are also disappearing.

Addressing the young audience, journalist Afia Salam questioned them about their aspirations for future. While many expressed their desires to work in fields such as media, law and business, few to none hands were raised when agriculture and climate was brought into question.

Climate and environment issues are interlinked with all professions, claimed Salam. “We don’t have lawyers on water disputes in the country,” she said. “People here don’t understand it. Instead, we have to hire international lawyers when the local talent cannot fill up such roles.”

Reiterating Moazzam’s point, she said that in the last four years Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change has increased along with the shrinking of Indus Delta.

Environmental degradation does not only occur due to climate change, said Dr Aamir Alamgir, PhD on climate change. “A lot of the degradation can be avoided if actions are taken on time,” he said.

Balochistan Assembly speaker Raheela Hameed Durrani also questioned the government’s inability to prevent deterioration of the environment. A think tank should be formed that will focus on the climatic challenges faced by all four provinces of the country, she suggested.

“I welcome the youth to step out, we will provide you the opportunity to move forward with us,” she said.

Express Tribune

Post Tagged with Climate changeCoastal areasExotic SpeciesSea intrusionThreats

 

us dropped 23144 bombs in 2015


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Council of Foreign Relations resident skeptic Micah Zenko recently tallied up how many bombs the United States has dropped on other countries and the results are as depressing as one would think. Zenko figured that since Jan. 1, 2015, the U.S. has dropped around 23,144 bombs on Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, all countries that are majority Muslim.

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The chart, provided by the generally pro-State Department think tank, puts in stark terms how much destruction the U.S. has leveled on other countries. Whether or not one thinks such bombing is justified, it’s a blunt illustration of how much raw damage the United States inflicts on the Muslim world:

It does not appear to be working either. Despite the fact that the U.S. dropped 947 bombs in Afghanistan in 2015, a recent analysis in Foreign Policy magazine found that the Taliban control more territory in Afghanistan than at any point since 2001. The U.S. has entered its 16th year of war in Afghanistan despite several promises by the Obama administration to withdraw. In October of last year, President Obama reversed his position and decided to keep American troops in Afghanistan until the end of 2017.

The last four U.S. presidents have bombed Iraq, and that includes the current one since airstrikes were launched on Aug. 7, 2014. The war against ISIS was originally framed as a “limited,” “humanitarian” intervention. Since then, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has insisted it will be a “30-year war” and the White House has spoken vaguely of a “long-term effort” in both Iraq and Syria.

Another red flag Zenko noted was the complete lack of civilian deaths being tallied as a result of those 23,144 bombs.

Remarkably, they also claim that alongside the 25,000 fighters killed, only 6 civilians have “likely” been killed in the seventeen-month air campaign. At the same time, officials admit that the size of the group has remained wholly unchanged. In 2014, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated the size of the Islamic State to be between 20,000 and 31,000 fighters, while on Wednesday, Warren again repeated the 30,000 estimate. To summarize the anti-Islamic State bombing calculus: 30,000 – 25,000 = 30,000.

So after more than 20,000 bombs, the U.S. Defense Department only cops to the deaths of six civilians. This is a position largely accepted by the media, which rarely asks who is actually being extinguished by the airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.

In October, 30 civilians died after the U.S. bombed a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The incident is still being investigated, but it has already been revealed that many elements of the original story were either false or deliberately misleading.

Adam Johnson is an associate editor at AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter at @adamاراjohnsonnyc.

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ustad rahmoon released

Jeay Sindh leader Ustad Rahmoon released, gives up politics

Jeay Sindh leader Ustad Rahmoon released, gives up politics
By:

Staff Report
27-Feb-17
812

HYDERABAD: Senior Jeay Sindh leader octogenarian Ustad Muhammad Rahmoon reached his home Kario Ganhanwar in district Badin last night after 95 days of his arrest.

After reaching home he announced his decision to pull out of the nationalist movement of Jeay Sindh. He accusedthe nationalist leader Hyder Khoso of being behind his arrest by agencies where he was kept under interrogation for more than 3 months.

He also complainedsaying the leadership of nationalist movement did not own upto being involved in his arrest nor did they attempt to help his family. He said Hyder Khoso was arrested in a murder case and that he had committed crimes on his behest.

He also addedthat during his interrogation, one Sindhi officer tortured him to an extentdue to which he suffered a heart attack. However, a Punjabi officer helped save his life.

He also said that Sindh as a nation did not value his lifelong struggle for their rights. From now on, he announced that he will have nothing to do with any political party including his own Jeay Sindh Mutehida Mahaz of Shafi Burfat who was living in Germany from where he was spearheading the movement for freedom of Sindh.

He said the officers who interrogated him regarded him as non-violent afterG.M.Syed. His message for the Sindhi youth was to concentrate on their education and work for peace and brotherhood.