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Law draws ‘red lines’ on national institutions: minister – Pakistan

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KARACHI: Federal Minister of Law and Justice Dr Farogh Naseem said that the core government agenda is (the promotion of) the rule of law and the law has red lines regarding national institutions.

Speaking at a court conference at a local hotel on Saturday, he said the federal government is working to (promote) constitutionalism and make efforts to uphold basic human rights and eradicate corruption.

In an apparent reference to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifs’ speech at the Pakistani Democratic Movement’s first rally in Gujranwala on Friday, Dr Naseem said that someone yesterday said Panama Leaks was a conspiracy and also criticized the institutions national.

He said there was no place for this narrative as many leaders from other countries around the world were also named in the Panama Papers and some of them, including a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, gave a justification (on the appearance of their names in the Panama Papers).

Says the PML-N narrative will be dismissed by people for its failure to respect the judiciary and other state organs

The minister asked whether Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa or Head of Inter-Service Intelligence, Lieutenant-General Faiz Hameed had asked someone to buy apartments at Avenfield (London) and not to provide a silver trail.

He said the National Accountability Bureau is an independent institution and its chairman is an honest man, adding that they work independently against corruption and the government does not have a program in this regard.

Regarding the impeachment of former Islamabad High Court judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, the minister said some people linked him to the government, but the country’s justice system was independent. The Supreme Judicial Council (CSJ) has taken cognizance of the issue involving the former judge suo motu and has decided the case and the former judge has now appealed to the Supreme Court, he added.

Dr Naseem said an electoral dispute between former US President George W. Bush and presidential candidate Al Gore had been resolved by the courts, but no one criticized the judges.

He said that if (the PML-N leaders) did not respect the justice system and other institutions, people would reject their account. He said the case against the former prime minister was decided during the tenure of the PML-N government.

He said that according to Supreme Court rulings everyone had to provide a money trail for overseas assets and the first such case was tried by the SJC in 1971 against a High Judge. Lahore Court.

Our government faces many challenges, including economic challenges and inflation, but it is because of money laundering and the corruption of former leaders, the minister said.

He said the Justice Department was working on legal reforms and changes had been made to many laws. For example, he added, the Inheritance Law had been amended and it was no longer necessary to go to court in this regard, but the National Registration and Database Authority would process these matters within 15 days of filing an application.

He said several changes had also been made to the Civil Procedure Code and now civil cases would be decided in about two to three years instead of 20 to 30 years.

Posted in Dawn, October 18, 2020

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