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PM Abbasi vows to assist CJP Nisar in ‘revamping judicial system of Pakistan’

Updated March 27, 2018

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Abbasi pledges full support for the public interest litigation initiatives undertaken by the Justice Saqib Nisar. —Supreme Court's PR Department
Abbasi pledges full support for the public interest litigation initiatives undertaken by the Justice Saqib Nisar. —Supreme Court's PR Department

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar held a rare one-on-one meeting at the Supreme Court on Tuesday evening, DawnNewsTV reported.

According to a statement issued by the apex court, the prime minister vowed to provide all possible assistance in “revamping the judicial system of Pakistan as visualised by the chief justice".

The prime minister was welcomed by the chief justice at the doorstep of the apex court upon his arrival for the meeting, which lasted about two hours.

Abbasi reportedly reached the court without his usual prime ministerial protocol and the meeting was held in the chamber of the chief justice.

“The government will furnish all resources to the judiciary in order to enable it to provide speedy and inexpensive justice, in addition to facilitating easy access of justice to the people,” Abbasi was quoted as saying.

He pledged full support for the public interest litigation initiatives undertaken by the chief justice.

"All steps will be taken to materialise the vision of the chief justice with respect to free education, public health, improvements in government hospitals and provision of quality and affordable health services, provision of clean drinking water, better sanitation and protection of environment etc," Abbasi added.

The prime minister also highlighted the difficulties faced by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Tax Department on account of pendency of litigation involving revenue in different Courts.

On this, the chief justice assured the premier that he will look into the matter and such litigation shall be fast-tracked.

Justice Nisar assured PM Abbasi that the judiciary will continue to "perform its constitutional duties independently, fairly, transparently, without fear or favour and strictly in accordance with law".

'Timing of the meeting unsuitable'

The leader of the Opposition in National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah, said although the meeting was not an unusual one, "the timing [of the meeting] is not suitable."

He justified his remarks by adding that cases against ministers in Abbasi's cabinet and Sharif family are underway in higher courts as well as the accountability courts.

"Today's meeting will add to [existing] speculations," he said while speaking at Geo News' programme Capital Talk.

Last month, the prime minister took the PML-N's row with the judiciary to the parliament and called for an ultimate debate as to who has the final say in legislation.

He had criticised the judicial activism, alleging that it was badly affecting the functioning of his government.

Responding to those remarks, the CJP had said: "Parliament is supreme but there is also the Constitution above it."

He had made it clear that the parliament could not make any laws that are in violation of the Constitution.

Several PML-N leaders, including ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, are facing cases in the country's courts for their remarks regarding the judiciary.

The contempt cases have not deterred Sharif, who has continued his criticism of the judiciary and said that judicial reforms will be one of the main items in his party's manifesto for the upcoming General Elections.