Nation special report
LONDON: “Notwithstanding the valued contribution of overseas Pakistanis is unparallel and a solid supplementary support to country’s economy, but since being absolutely independent and sovereign judiciary, all cases are being dealt on mere merit basis”.
This was categorically stated by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court while addressing a reception hosted by World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis [WCOP] at a central London hotel on Tuesday. This was the first and open interaction of Pakistani diaspora with such a dignified personality of Pakistani judiciary who undoubtedly is an unprecedented example of honesty, integrity and professionalism and whose remarkable decisions have set a record in Pak judiciary.
“Every Pakistani is important for us irrespective of his/her status within the society. We take, listen and take the decision in every case on merit basis and nothing comes in the way of deliverance of justice”, Justice Mansoor Ali stated amidst of forceful appreciations from the guests.
He said that our objectisto listen the cases and announce the verdict on fast track as we all believe this principal that justice delayed is justice denied. We have made necessary reformsin judicial systems to achieve this goal. We have introduced online service and by dialling 1134, anyone can get the details of his case. He would not need to come personally to registrar office to be acquainted with the progress.
“We call this as ‘Call Centre and is one of revolutionary steps which we have taken with solitary aim to facilitate the people especially the victims of circumstances”, he stated. We do believe the importance of overseas Pakistanis and don’t want them to waste their valuable time and energy. “Special courts have been set-up forspeedy trial of their cases and quick delivery of justice. You would not believe but itis a fact that over 1.2million cases are pending in Lahore High Court whereas the judges’ strength is only 17 to 18. Even then, we are doing our best and have a set a record to follow by other benches”.
“We don’t have super drug but good intention and a meaningful mandate”, Justice Mansoor Shah said in light mood. He told the audience that Mediation centre has been set-up in every district and there are 36 districts in Punjab. These centres have resolved five thousand cases in three months. Since there is no appeal system in these case, the cases are settled for good. He also detailed various other measures being implemented for speedy trial and decisions. Justice Shah was elevated to the bench in 2009 and has since authored several judgments on constitutional law, human rights, administrative law and environmental sustainability. He takes a keen interest in judicial and administrative reforms and has spearheaded case management and court automation systems at the Lahore High Court and in the District Judiciary in Punjab.
Justice Shah completed his law degree from the University of Punjab in Lahore. He also has a Masters in Law from the University of Cambridge, and a Masters in Economics from the University of the Punjab. He is an accredited mediator from CEDR, London. Afzal Bhatti, Commissioner, Overseas Pakistanis Commission (OPC) highlighted the role of his institution for the benefit of overseas Pakistanis and praised the leadership of Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif. “Underthe guidance of chief minister, the Commission is working with full dedication for the benefit of countrymen and to resolve their complaints. Barrister Gul Nawaz Khan very intellectually analysed the Pakistani legal system and suggested various ways to streamline the system.
His suggestions were so important that Justice Mansoor Ali mentioned his name thrice in his speech and invited him to Lahore to study the prevailing legal system. Barrister Ahsan Chughtai, Aaliya Afzal Khan and Dr. Arif Malik also spoke at the occasion. The proceedings started with the recitation of Holy Qura’n by Nayeem Abbasi. A Memorandum of Understanding between OPC, Punjab and WCOP was also signed to enhance the mutual cooperation. Syed Qamar Raza, Chairman, WCOP and Afzal Bhatti signed the document on behalf of their institutions. Syed Qamar Raza Welcoming the chief guest and other distinguished guests, Syed Qamar Raza, Chairman, WCOP, said that he is confident that this interaction will open many windows of opportunities for the Diaspora to work with Pakistani Institutions and play an effective role in Pakistan.
“Firstly, I would like to focus on some of the features of 10 million Overseas Pakistanis, which constitutes 7th largest Diaspora of the world in more than 145 countries. I believe that Overseas Pakistanis are ambassadors of Pakistan in their respective foreign countries. Overseas Pakistanis are making a major contribution by enhancing and increasing investment standards for the development of business, industries, infrastructure and physical capital of Pakistan”. He said that overseas Pakistanis are acquiring skills which add to the human capital of Pakistan as well as filling global human resource gap.
They are source of development offuture trained human resource of Pakistan by investing in higher education of their kids. Moreover, standards of living of over one million families in Pakistan are improving every year through personal remittances. In last 20months alone, more than 31 billion US Dollars have been remitted by Overseas Pakistanis to their homeland, which is the single biggest factor in balancing the trade deficit. “More importantly, Overseas Pakistanis are contributing to world’s peace and tranquillity by honouring and respecting the cultural, traditional and social norms and values, abiding by the local and immigration laws, and other rules of the host countries. In this regard, overseas Pakistanis are making significant contribution towards social sector reforms by investing in education, health and other social infrastructure”.
Syed Qamar Raza said that overseas Pakistanis are also displaying and enhancing Pakistani culture abroad and transmitting friendly and acceptable cultural values and standards of their host countries to Pakistan. We have improved the political awareness of people of Pakistan by providing views and experiences on comparative political and social systems of our respective host country. Similarly, through social acceptability and hard work, only in the UK, we contribute, 21 members in the House of Lords and Houses of Common more than 375 councillors and 41 mayors including the Mayor of London. “Likewise, overseas Pakistanis are vital source of economic development of their host countries. It transmits a positive message across the globe that “Pakistan is a peaceful country and Pakistanis are peace loving and diligent people”.
It is a matter of trust building, which oversees Pakistanis are committed through their hard work and integrity. Our nation at large expects that Pakistan and Pakistanis are respected as a nation and as a people of honour and integrity”. Referring the pivotal role as Pakistanis, he said that we must look in to the fact that today our country stands at the cusp of many positive developments. We have achieved economic and political stability. Our armed forces are second to none.
And with the unwavering support of the people of Pakistan, we have turned the tide in our fight against terrorism and extremism. To this end, overseas Pakistanis have been, and will remain, the co-author of Pakistan’ssuccess story. By dint of hard work and sacrifice, they have not only carved a name and niche forthemselvesin foreign lands, but also contributed to the uplift of their communities and country back home. “I believe that overseas Pakistanis are untapped potential of Pakistan. LONDON: Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Chief Justice, Lahore High Court reading ‘The Nation’ with great interest.
M. Sarwar (Chief Editor of the newspaper, left) and Justice Mamoon Rasheed (right) stand with him. An exclusive interview of the Chief Justice would be published in next edition. (Nation picture) LONDON: Justice MansoorAli Shah, Chief Justice, Lahore High Court, Afzal Bhatti, Syed Qamar Raza, Barrister Gulnawaz Khan, Ahsan Choughtai address the event while Naeem Abbasi reciting the verses from Holy Qura’n and Dr. Arif Malik and Aaliya Afzal Khan moderating the event.