ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday rejected statements made against its judicial system in a recent US report, making it clear that its courts carry out their functions independently and in accordance with the constitution.
“We strongly object to the baseless and unjustified comments in the report on the Pakistani judicial system,” said State Department spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry when responding to media inquiries about the 2021 investment climate statements published by the US State Department.
He said the judiciary in Pakistan is independent and the courts operate in accordance with the country’s constitution and laws.
“Claims to the contrary are rejected as factually false and misleading,” he said.
Mr Chaudhri said Pakistan is a vibrant democracy and the government firmly believes in the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
FO says courts do their jobs in accordance with the constitution
“There is no talk of coercion or pressure on the Pakistani judiciary. The report’s baseless allegations are countered by innumerable decisions by Pakistani courts at all levels that meet the highest standards of judicial independence, ”he said.
He said that while the statement recognized Pakistan’s progress and reforms in improving its business and investment climate despite the extremely difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic, it speculated on alleged flaws in Pakistan’s regulatory framework and based its conclusions on unverifiable sources.
“Mutually beneficial economic, trade and investment cooperation with the international community, including the US, is a key priority for the Government of Pakistan. We will continue to take steps to maximize Pakistan’s geo-economic potential, ”he said. In defamatory comments, the US State Department claimed in its report that the country’s judicial system theoretically operates independently of the executive branch, but that the reality is very different.
“Pakistan’s judiciary is influenced by the government and other stakeholders. The lower judiciary is influenced by the executive branch and viewed as incompetent and fair. It is currently facing a significant backlog of unsolved cases, ”the report said.
According to the report, there are doubts about the competence, fairness and reliability of the Pakistani judicial system.
“In theory, Pakistan’s judicial system works independently of the executive branch. The reality is different, however, as the establishment wields a significant influence over the judiciary. As a result, there are doubts about the competence, fairness and reliability of the Pakistani judicial system. However, fear of disregard for legal process prevents companies and the public in general from reporting alleged weaknesses in legal process. ”
The report adds that Pakistan’s Treaties Act of 1872 is the primary law regulating treaties with Pakistan. British legal decisions may also have been cited in court judgments. “Although Pakistan’s legal code and economic policy do not discriminate against foreign investment, enforcement of treaties remains problematic due to a weak and inefficient judiciary,” the report said.
Pakistan ranks 124th out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2020.
According to the report, bribes are classified as criminal and criminal under the Pakistani Code, but are widely believed to be granted at all levels of government. “Although the higher courts are widely seen as more credible, lower courts are often viewed as corrupt, inefficient and subject to pressure from prominent wealthy, religious, political figures and the establishment.
Political involvement in the appointment of judges increases the government’s influence over the judicial system, ”it said.
Posted in Dawn, July 28, 2021