LONDON: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Indian Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav have been awarded the prestigious International Jurists Award 2012.
CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry received the award from Lord Phillips, President of the Supreme Court of the UK, for his "unique and tremendous contribution in the field of administration of justice and for the tireless and fearless endeavours towards administration of justice in Pakistan against all odds."
Yadav, former defence minister and ex-chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, was selected for the award for his unflinching "contribution to the advancement of the bar and the bench." Yadav was, however, not present to receive the award.
In a brief statement, Justice Chaudhry said: "I accept this award with profound gratitude on behalf of the Judiciary of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan who had "struggled for the independence of Judiciary."
Shortly before Justice Chaudhry received the award, two persons barged into the auditorium at the Hotel Court House raising slogans against killings of Shias in Pakistan.
Presenting the award, Lord Phillips referred to the protest demonstration saying "the protest indicated that the freedom of speech is live and well."
Referring to corruption, one of the topics discussed at the conference, Lord Phillips made an indirect reference to social activist Anna Hazare's movement against corruption in India without naming him, saying "India was in lead to stamp out corruption. Unfortunately it did not happen."
President of the International Council of Jurists, Senior Advocate Adish C Aggarwala called upon Jurists from all over the world to stand united and make a "sincere effort to bring about reforms and accountability in the system of administration of justice.
He said during the working sessions, they discussed "how the working of the judiciary is plagued by problems, the causes of such difficulties, their solutions, and so on.
"We studied how terrorism scandalises the world and the ways of curbing this menace without violating human rights. We went on to evaluate the role of the judiciary in combating crimes of corruption and drug trafficking."