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Gap between rulers, ruled deepening, says CJ

Updated September 06, 2015

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ISLAMABAD: The state has been guilty of ignoring a tenet of the constitution by showing indifference to the misery of the multitude, Chief Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja said in a speech at an event organised by the Law and Justice Commission on Saturday.

“The constitution clearly states that it (constitution) reflects the sentiments and feelings of the people. The aspirations of the people are often conveniently ignored by the state,” Justice Khawaja said in an address that touched upon the deepening chasm between the rulers and the ruled.

The chief justice observed that state as an institution was based on a social contract with the people. This social contract found a clear mention in the preamble to the 1973 constitution, Justice Khawaja added.

A state structure “built in isolation of the people leads to division of society on ethnic, linguistic and sectarian lines”, he warned.

The chief justice said there was an urgent need on the part of state institutions to make people feel a part of the decision-making process.

“Weaknesses in enforcement of law and the constitution are a major impediment in the way to achieve this noble objective.”

Justice Jawwad Khawaja said it was heart-rending to see that a vast majority of citizens had no institution to turn to in distress.

The chief justice described as archaic the tendency to view the state as something isolated and transcending society. It was this approach which hindered the goal of developing a state structure that was responsive to social realities, he observed.

He called upon powers that be to take a hard look at a model that had brought the nation to a stage where the state had become so intrusive that it had “become the centre of every process from start to end” in the life of a common man.

The concept of state’s superiority reflected the philosophy introduced by German political economist Max Weber in the 19th century and by Nizamul Mulk Toosi five centuries before it in his book ‘Riyasat Nama’, the chief justice recalled.

Justice Khawaja said this superiority complex had crept into all state functionaries, leading to a neglect of social needs.

Justice Khawaja conceded that no research had been conducted by the judiciary to gather statistics, without which it was not possible to present effective proposals and reforms.

He said as chairman of the Law and Justice Commis­sion, he had ordered the compilation of data required for effective reforms and measures.

Citing an example, the chief justice said the Police Order was introduced in 2002, but could not be meaningfully implemented for reasons which also included lack of competence.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2015

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