KARACHI: Acting on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the federal government has set up a high-level committee to oversee civil and criminal law reforms and their implementation across the country, excluding Sindh.

A notification issued by the ministry of law and justice said that the committee will be headed by Federal Law Minister Dr Farogh Nasim as its chairman with provincial law ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Punjab as its members.

Other members include law secretaries, advocates general and prosecutors general of KP, Balochistan, Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), federal law and parliamentary affairs secretaries, a nominee of interior ministry, ICT chief commissioner or his nominee, Attorney General for Pakistan or his nominee and any other person co-opted by the chair.

According to the Terms of Reference (ToRs), the committee would oversee the “implementation of civil and criminal laws reforms to the extent of Punjab, KPK, Balochistan and ICT”.

The meeting of the committee would be held every week at the law and justice division in Islamabad and members can either attend in person or via video link.

While the province of Sindh lacks representation in the high-level reforms body, the federal law minister co-opted former senior bureaucrat and practising lawyer from Sindh Dr Shahab Imam as an independent member of the committee. Dr Imam is also a member of the alternate-dispute resolution committee of the Federal Board of Revenue and a member of Transparency International Pakistan.

Apparently, Sindh is not part of the committee because it is the only province where the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has no representation in the provincial government as its lawmakers sit on opposition benches.

A source told Dawn that the Pakistan Peoples Party government in Sindh was not included in the committee to avoid politicisation of the issue as it would see it as interference by the federal government in provincial affairs. “However, Sindh can be included in the committee anytime if the provincial government expresses the desire.”

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2021

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