Law draws ‘red lines’ about national institutions: minister

Updated 18 Oct 2020


Federal Minister for Law and Justice Dr Farogh Naseem is being presented a memento during the 5th National Judicial Conference 2020. — APP
Federal Minister for Law and Justice Dr Farogh Naseem is being presented a memento during the 5th National Judicial Conference 2020. — APP

KARACHI: Federal Minister for Law and Justice Dr Farogh Naseem has said that the government’s basic agenda is (promotion of) the rule of law and under the law there are some “red lines” regarding national institutions.

Speaking at a judicial conference at a local hotel on Saturday, he said that the federal government was working for (promotion of) constitutionalism and making efforts to enforce fundamental right of common man and eradicate corruption.

In an apparent reference to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the first rally of the Pakistan Democratic Movement in Gujranwala on Friday, Dr Naseem said that someone said yesterday that Panama Leaks was a conspiracy and also criticised the national institutions.

He said that this narrative had no room as many leaders of other countries from across the globe were also named in Panama Papers and some of them, including a former prime minister of the United Kingdom, gave justification (about appearance of their names in Panama Papers).

Says PML-N narrative will be rejected by people for its failure to respect judiciary, other organs of state

The minister asked whether Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa or Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed had asked someone to buy apartments in Avenfield (London) and do not provide money trail.

He said that the National Accountability Bureau was an independent institution and its chairman was an honest man, adding that they were working independently against corruption and the government had no agenda in this regard.

About the removal of former judge of the Islamabad High Court Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, the minister said that some people were linking it with the government, but the judiciary of the country was independent. The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) had taken suo motu notice of the issue involving the former judge and decided the case and now the former judge had filed an appeal in the apex court, he added.

Dr Naseem said that an election dispute between former US president George W. Bush and presidential candidate Al Gore was decided by the judiciary, but nobody criticised the judges.

He said that if they (PML-N leaders) didn’t respect the judiciary and other institutions, the people would reject their narrative. He said that the case against the former prime minister was decided during the tenure of the PML-N government.

He said that according the judgements of the apex court, everyone had to provide money trail for overseas assets and the first case of this nature was decided by the SJC in 1971 against a judge of the Lahore High Court.

“Our government is facing many challenges, including economic challenge and inflation, but this is because of money laundering and corruption of previous rulers,” the minister said.

He said that the law ministry was working on legal reforms and amendments had been made to many laws. For example, he added, the law about inheritance had been amended and now there was no need to approach the court in this regard, but the National Registration and Database Authority would address these issues within 15 days of filing an application.

He said that several amendments had also been made to the Civil Procedure Code and now the civil cases would be decided in around two to three years instead of 20 to 30 years.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2020