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Pakistan ranks 130 out of 139 countries in adherence to rule of law

By Ansar Abbasi
October 19, 2021
Pakistan ranks 130 out of 139 countries in adherence to rule of law

ISLAMABAD: The World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2021 report shows that Pakistan is among the lowest ranked countries in its adherence to the rule of law, ranking 130th out of 139 nations. Scores range from 0 to 1, with 1 indicating the strongest adherence to the rule of law. Pakistan managed a poor 0.39 score.

Even in South Asia, Pakistan's position is second last. Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh all have performed better than Pakistan in the rule of law category whereas only Afghanistan is rated below Pakistan in the region.

The report shows Pakistan doing badly in the areas of corruption, fundamental rights, order and security and regulatory enforcement. In these areas Pakistan is the second worst in the region.

In the area of the criminal justice system, civil justice, open government and constraints on government powers, Pakistan is in the fourth position out of a total of six regional countries assessed.

Globally, out of 139 countries Pakistan is among the three worst in respect to order and security, ranking 137 out of 139 countries assessed. In civil justice, regulatory enforcement, fundamental rights and corruption, Pakistan stands at the 124th, 123rd, 126th and 123rd position, respectively.

Constraints on government powers

This category measures the extent to which those who govern are bound by the law. It comprises the means, both constitutional and institutional, by which the powers of the government and its officials and agents are limited and held accountable under the law. It also includes non-governmental checks on the government’s power, such as a free and independent press. In this category, Pakistan with a 0.47 score appears average with its 89th position among the world community.

Absence of corruption

This measures the absence of corruption in government. The category considers three forms of corruption: bribery, improper influence by public or private interests, and misappropriation of public funds or other resources. These three forms of corruption are examined with respect to government officers in the executive branch, the judiciary, the military, police, and the legislature.

Here, Pakistan stands at 123rd position with a 0.31 score. In corruption, Pakistan falls in the red zone which means amongst the countries where the level of corruption is massive.

Open government

This measures the openness of government defined by the extent to which a government shares information, empowers people with tools to hold the government accountable, and fosters citizens’ participation in public policy deliberations. This factor measures whether basic laws and information on legal rights are publicised and evaluates the quality of information published by the government. Pakistan with a 0.42 score holds the 101st position which is below average but not falling in the red zone.

Fundamental rights

This category recognises that a system of positive law that fails to respect core human rights established under international law is at best “rule by law,” and does not deserve to be called a rule of law system. Since there are many other indices that address human rights, and because it would be impossible for the index to assess adherence to the full range of rights, this factor focuses on a relatively modest menu of rights that are firmly established under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and are most closely related to rule of law concerns.

With a 0.38 score, Pakistan holds 126th position --almost falling in the red zone.

Order and security

This category measures how well a society ensures the security of persons and property. Security is one of the defining aspects of any rule of law society and is a fundamental function of the state. It is also a precondition for the realisation of the rights and freedoms that the rule of law seeks to advance. Pakistan holds the 137th position with a 0.37 score. In this category, Pakistan is third last among the 139 countries assessed.

Regulatory enforcement

This measures the extent to which regulations are fairly and effectively implemented and enforced. Regulations, both legal and administrative, structure behaviours within and outside of the government. This factor does not assess which activities a government chooses to regulate, nor does it consider how much regulation of a particular activity is appropriate. Rather, it examines how regulations are implemented and enforced. Pakistan is 123rd here with a 0.39 score, which is below average.

Civil Justice

This measures whether ordinary people can resolve their grievances peacefully and effectively through the civil justice system. It measures whether civil justice systems are accessible and affordable as well as free of discrimination, corruption, and improper influence by public officials. It examines whether court proceedings are conducted without unreasonable delays and whether decisions are enforced effectively. It also measures the accessibility, impartiality, and effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

Pakistan stands 124th in this category with a 0.40 below average score.

Criminal Justice

The category evaluates a country’s criminal justice system. An effective criminal justice system is a key aspect of the rule of law, as it constitutes the conventional mechanism to redress grievances and bring action against individuals for offenses against society. An assessment of the delivery of criminal justice should take into consideration the entire system, including the police, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, and prison officers.

With a 0.35 score, Pakistan holds 108th position, which is close to the red zone in this category.