By: Jarar Ali Khwaja
Law in Pakistan has a diverse timeline in the annals of history. Primarily, Pakistan’s legal system is shaped by the English law because much of the law was derived and inherited from the colonial times. After independence, Pakistan set out to chart its own course but that proved to be a rollercoaster ride. It took Pakistan nine years to promulgate its first constitution, and among many problems in drafting an inclusive constitution, role of Islam in future political dispensation and center-province relations were main. Since its inception, two constitutions have already been abrogated, with the third barely surviving with the support of 26 amendments, and few more in the pipeline. It took Pakistan a quarter-century and truncation of its east wing to draft a constitution that has managed to survive till today, albeit its tenure has been punctuated with periods of military dictatorships which saw its suspension and dilution of its federal character. Similarly, constitutional crises have translated into a broader problem of the law that governs the polity.
Reforming the law in Pakistan has now become a need of the hour. Moreover, Pakistan has a slow justice administration system which has caused a big travesty of justice as justice delayed is justice denied. This has hampered citizens’ ability to hold the powerful accountable for quashing their basic rights. Optimistically, there is a blink of light at the end of this tunnel as model courts have been introduced to facilitate public with speedy trials. Provided their limited resources, these courts have worked efficiently to help clear the cases backlogs. In similar manner, our democratic rights are trampled over as there is obvious absence of the rule of law. However, as the modern world wholeheartedly embraces democratic nations, absolute implementation of the basic human rights will thoroughly strengthen our democracy and earn us a respectable place in the comity of nations. In similar vein, the extensive censorship over the expression of opinion shall also be reviewed by democratic authorities. Only after acting upon the constructive criticism can the authorities improve governance infrastructure, and make institutions inclusive to the benefit of all and sundry. Additionally, politics, governance, and public policy must be taught as curriculum subjects to our youth, as it will give them a layman’s understanding of political and socio-economic situation of Pakistan. They would be better equipped to do their best in making Pakistan a stronger country.
Furthermore, as the country progresses despite many hardships, trials and tribulations, the implantation of rules and regulations will work as a force-multiplier in bringing peace dividends and subsequent prosperity.