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November 8, 2019

People asked to contribute to stopping crimes for real change in country

Karachi

November 8, 2019

Barrister Murtaza Wahab on Thursday asked the people to proactively contribute to stopping crimes in society and thereby help bring real change in the country.

He was addressing a provincial consultative conference under Strengthening Citizens’ Access to Justice for Addressing the Root Causes project for improved access to fair, legitimate and effective justice in Pakistan that was organised by the Sindh Agricultural & Forestry Workers Coordinating Organisation (SAFWCO) at a hotel.

The Sindh chief minister’s law adviser pointed out that people complain about law and order, but when they reach the traffic signals, they break them and ruthlessly violate other traffic rules.

“Similarly, people don’t give importance to environment protection,” he said. “It is said that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’, so the judiciary should play its role in the provision of timely justice to the masses.”

Wahab said people should be encouraged to report crimes being committed around them so that the police and the judiciary can take action in accordance with the law. He said that some elements with vested interests are trying to divide the people on vital issues such as rights of children, women, minorities and other vulnerable segments of society. He admitted that there is no rule of law in the country but only laws of individuals.

‘Police jobs on merit’

Sindh police chief Dr Syed Kaleem Imam said merit is enforced in the police recruitment process. “I want to build capacity of police officials. I believe in learning and not in egoistic sentiments. Introduction of technology within the police is a must.”

He said the police department has increased the quota of women in recruitment. He suggested conducting a study to see how people become criminals and terrorists. He said that the major challenges presently being faced by the police include cases of honour killing, domestic violence, violation of child rights and minority rights and bonded labour.

“Quite recently it was reported that 219 people had committed suicide in Mirpurkhas division. It is important that the civil society play its role in reducing the suicide rate.”

Honour killings

Quoting reports on honour killings, Sindh Women Development Minister Syeda Shehla Raza said that there are laws to curb such crimes that are happening in society.

She asked NGOs to bring together various sections of society, including officials from different police stations, councillors, Nikah Khuwans and other stakeholders, to discuss these vital issues to create awareness about them and resolve the problems.

She appreciated the role of the police across the province in dealing with cases of violation of fundamental rights. She said the police have resolved major cases related to the rights of women and girls, especially early marriage cases.

Access to justice

Former federal law minister Barrister Shahida Jamil said access to justice programmes had been initiated in all the provinces. “We have lost merit. Nepotism is being promoted. There is a lack of awareness about rights and responsibilities.”

She said lawyers have to play their role in the rule of law. “We have formed more laws, but unfortunately, there are gaps in implementation. There are layers of building laws, replacing previous laws, which do not benefit to resolve the issues.”

Courageous cops

Sindh Judicial Academy senior faculty member Syed Shahid Shafiq said Pakistan is ranked 107th in crimes in the world. Sharing his experiences of teaching at the judicial academy, he said that some young police officials have the courage to tell judges and ministers about the lapses in the judicial system.

Democracy

Writer and intellectual Jami Chandio talked about laws, the electoral system and the rights of people, saying that conducting elections every four or five years is part of democracy, but the qualitative part of the democratic system is to provide justice to each of the citizens.

Women’s role

Oxfam Pakistan Director Muhammad Qazlibash appreciated the provincial police chief for promoting female police officials, who may be able to effectively deal with crimes against women in society. He quoted different articles of the country’s Constitution regarding the rights of the minorities, and said that there are gaps in the implementation of laws.

Understanding laws

SAFWCO Founding President Suleman G Abro said in his welcome speech that his organisation is working for the rights of the working people and striving hard to create awareness among the masses about their constitutional rights.

He said the judiciary, the lawyers and the police should understand the laws and their responsibilities for playing their respective roles in providing justice to the people in accordance with the law.

Laws’ implementation

Former Sindh High Court judge Justice Ali Aslam Jaffery said society needs accessible, reasonable and cheap justice. “We are forming laws one after another, but there is no thinking about implementing them.” he said.

“We are promoting robot-like children who keep playing with their mobile phones all the time and parents do not have the time to watch them or teach them how to behave in society.”

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