Judiciary’s performance comes under scrutiny in NA

Published November 11, 2021
Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bokhari speaks in the National Assembly. — APP/File
Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bokhari speaks in the National Assembly. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: On the day the Supreme Court summoned Prime Minister Imran Khan during the hearing of the APS attack case, the performance of the judiciary came under scrutiny in the National Assembly when members expressed their concern over the country’s “low performance in the field of providing justice to the common man” and regretted that the judiciary was not responding to questions being asked by them.

Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bokhari admitted that despite repeated attempts, the ministry had failed to get replies to some of the questions asked by members.

The issue was raised by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Tahira Aurangzeb during the question hour when she drew the attention of the house towards a written reply to her question about the number of model courts functioning in the country which says that “the information is not available in the ministry as setting up of model courts is not the initiative of the federal government”.

Lawmakers voice concern over lack of response to questions asked by them

Ms Aurangzeb regretted that she had submitted this question in Febr­uary last year and each time when it came on the agenda, she received the same reply that “the model courts are administered by the Supreme Court and, therefore, the SC registrar, and the Federal Judicial Academy have been requested to provide the requisite information”.

She said that according to the reply, the ministry had written at least 15 letters to the SC registrar, but there had been no response. She criticised the government for its failure to seek reply from the SC to a simple question.

While responding, Ms Bokhari said the government wanted to give a reply to the question, but at the same time they could neither force the Supreme Court to give a reply nor could it issue any directives to the court. She said the law ministry officials had been in contact with the SC registrar over the issue and the reply would be submitted as soon as it was received.

The house witnessed a verbal clash between the treasury and opposition members when Abdul Qadir Mandokhel of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) alleged that they were not getting the reply as they had an “inefficient” law minister.

Terming the PPP lawmaker’s remarks “insulting”, Ms Bokhari said she could also spoil the atmosphere of the house by using the same tone and language.

Another PPP MNA Abdul Qadir Patel said a similar reply had been given by the government in response to a question regarding the collection of dam funds by the SC. In an apparent reference to former chief justice Saqib Nisar, the PPP MNA said the government should simply give in writing that “Baba has fled with the dam funds”.

The question about the dam fund had been asked by MNA Choudhry Faqir Ahmed.

Law Minister Farogh Naseem, through a written reply, informed the house that his ministry had written letters to the SC registrar to seek the information and a reply was awaited.

In response to a question asked by PPP MNA Shazia Marri, Ms Bokhari admitted that Pakistan had skidded down a little in the list of performers in the field of providing justice to the common man according to World Justice Project “Rule of Law Index, 2020”. However, she said, the country had gone down many points in the same index during the previous PPP rule.

Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2021

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