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February 27, 2018

Judges must address climate change impact: LHC CJ


February 27, 2018

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali on Monday said judges must now consider impact of climate change especially on vulnerable groups like women and children, those living in poverty, while interpreting the Constitution and deciding the Constitutional matters.

He was addressing a two-day Asia Pacific judicial colloquium on climate change held in a local hotel on Mall Road. Jurists and other stakeholders from across Asia Pacific also participated in the discussion.

The chief justice said the colloquium was a reflection of importance given by judges to addressing climate change and environmental constitutionalism in the region. He told the foreign participants that Pakistan guaranteed environmental rights in some form, ranging from explicit substantive rights to a clean, beneficial and healthy environment. He said the courts in Punjab, including environmental tribunals and magistrates, were increasingly applying laws in resolving environmental disputes, including those involving climate change.

He said one could see the trends in global environmental constitutionalism and climate litigation in Pakistan and the role of courts from Supreme Court to Lahore High Court in creating a link between constitutionalism, climate change and human rights.

Chief Justice Yawar Ali said judges in Pakistan had also played a vital role in recognising environmental rights and advancing climate justice considering such issues as separation of powers, environmental rule of law, and the relationship between environmental and other rights.

He was of the view that mere framing new laws did not yield good results unless the laws were strictly implemented in letter and spirit without fear, favour and nepotism. He said efforts were being made for enhancing judicial capacity for adjudicating upon matters relating to climate change and sustainable development issues.

He hoped that the judiciary and legal community will continue efforts to be the leading voice in protecting the environment, addressing climate change, and in paving the way to achieving climate justice in an age of sustainable development. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah of the Supreme Court, Federal Shariat Court Chief Justice Sheikh Najamul Hassan, former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Justice Ayesha A Malik, Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan and other judges of the Lahore high court also attended the event.

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