An open letter to PM Imran Khan

6 Dec 2018

When Imran Khan laid the foundation for Tehreek-e-Insaf, the name was used to portray the political message and ideology of the party. Essentially, this party was created to ensure that justice was accessible for all Pakistanis. To the common man, Tehreek-e-Insaf became synonymous with the ability to obtain justice for their issues. Thus, it is important to understand the means or methods through which the common man has access to justice in any civilized society.

Clearly, civilized societies around the world have established justice in their communities by utilizing their courts and judicial systems. After holding provincial office in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Tehreek-e-Insaf should have lived up to their name and prioritized providing people access to justice. They could have incorporated some fundamental amendments into the judicial system to make it more efficient and accessible. However, at that time, the party officials argued that making any such changes was beyond Tehreek-e-Insaf’s power as the party was not in federal office.

Now that the party is holding federal office, why do we not see it making any progress towards fulfilling its prime mission? If Tehreek-e-Insaf truly wants to overturn every administrative department then it should start by giving precedence to improving the efficiency of the country’s judicial system. If Tehreek-e-Insaf succeeds in setting the judicial system right then many other matters will resolve themselves on their own.

One justification usually given for the failure to make the judicial system efficient is that the government first needs to make improvements in the police departments, particularly in their investigative processes. This itself is an extensive, challenging, and time-consuming task.

The basic underlying reason for corruption here is the existence of a weak judicial system. It is the need of the hour that all of our patriotic politicians and institutions focus on resolving this critical issue. Imran Khan should realize that expecting any effort to bring true change and progress to Pakistan is futile without radically fixing the judicial system first

However, it appears that the ones giving these arguments are either unaware of how the judicial system functions or are intentionally choosing to ignore it. The truth is that most cases involving common people are related to disputes or other civil matters and these cases have to be resolved in civil courts. The police do not have any direct or significant role to play in these civil cases and yet civil cases have been delayed for extended time periods in Pakistani courts.

If the present government would triple the number of judges in civil and session courts and make them work in three shifts respectively, then many of these pending cases would receive timely judgments. There is no need to even build additional infrastructure for this. They only have to triple the number of civil judges, which is something that the government could easily accomplish within a time period of three to six months.

Just imagine the impact that this step would have on our society, if the number of judges was tripled or quadrupled and the courts were working in three shifts around the clock? This would completely change our political system. Today, the common man has to approach and plead with politicians to help them get justice from the judicial system as they are unable to get it on their own. If the courts start providing speedy justice to the people then they will no longer have to be at the mercy of politicians or bureaucrats. They will have the confidence of knowing that if anyone tries to violate their rights then they can easily obtain justice through the courts.

 

If the courts started providing justice, this would allow the government to shift its attention to development and welfare projects. For example, if someone’s rights are violated then either the spokesman of the chief minister or of another minister has to take notice of the matter for it to be resolved.

With widespread justice, business owners in the country would undoubtedly start making investments with confidence. Small and medium-scale business owners are currently hesitant to invest out of the fear that they will be unable to obtain quick justice in the case of a business dispute. The situation is worse with foreign investors as they do not want to invest money in a country where a small dispute could result in their investments being frozen. Thus, if our civil courts would simply start providing justice to the people, there would be no need for us to beg for aid. We would have an influx of local and foreign investment.

The judiciary is the institution that safeguards everyone’s basic rights and that provides them with equal rights. If the present government does not want to allocate funds to this cause, then it should at the least create a public fundraising project to increase the number of judges in the courts as well as to improve the judicial system in the country. It is likely that the small business community in Pakistan would contribute sufficient funds to this cause. Also, every person who has been subject to injustice in the country would contribute to this fund by any means possible. Believe me, if the courts start operating correctly in the country, then building a dam would be a simple task, with an inundation of local and foreign investment pouring in.

The basic underlying reason for corruption here is the existence of a weak judicial system. It is the need of the hour that all of our patriotic politicians and institutions focus on resolving this critical issue. Imran Khan should realize that expecting any effort to bring true change and progress to Pakistan is futile without radically fixing the judicial system first.

Published in Daily Times, December 6th 2018

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