Pakistan slams US report attacking country’s judicial system

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Rejecting criticism of its judicial system in the recent US report, Pakistani courts said on Tuesday that they were independently carrying out their duties in line with the Constitution.

“We take strong exception to the gratuitous and unwarranted comments made in the report on Pakistan’s judicial system,” Foreign Office Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry said while responding to media queries regarding the Investment Climate Statements for 2021 released by the US Department of State,

He claimed that Pakistan’s judiciary was independent and that the courts were operating in line with the country’s Constitution and laws.

“The allegations to the contrary are firmly denied as factually incorrect and misleading,” he remarked.

Mr. Chaudhri said that, as a vibrant democracy, Pakistan’s administration adhered to the separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.

“There is no question of any coercion or pressure on Pakistan’s judiciary. The baseless assertions made in the report are contradicted by innumerable decisions by Pakistani courts at all levels that meet the highest standards of judicial independence,” he stressed.

While the statement recognized Pakistan’s efforts and changes in strengthening its business and investment environment, despite the country’s very challenging conditions as a result of the pandemic, he said it speculated on purported regulatory flaws and based its findings on unverifiable sources.

“Mutually beneficial cooperation in the areas of the economy, trade, and investment with the international community, including the US, is one of the key priorities of the government of Pakistan. We will continue to take steps to optimally realize Pakistan’s geo-economic potential,” he said. In slanderous comments in its report, the US state department claimed that theoretically the country’s judicial system operated independently of the executive branch but the reality was quite different.

“Pakistan’s judiciary is influenced by the government and other stakeholders. The lower judiciary is influenced by the executive branch and is seen as lacking competence and fairness. It currently faces a significant backlog of unresolved cases,” the report says.

According to the study, there are concerns about Pakistan’s court system’s competency, justice, and trustworthiness.

“Theoretically, Pakistan’s judicial system operates independently of the executive branch. However, the reality is different, as the establishment wields significant influence over the judicial branch. As a result, there are doubts concerning the competence, fairness, and reliability of Pakistan’s judicial system. However, fear of contempt of court proceedings inhibit businesses and the public generally from reporting on perceived weaknesses of the judicial process.”

The Contract Act of 1872, according to the article, is the primary legislation that governs dealings with Pakistan. In certain cases, British legal judgments have also been referenced in court verdicts. “While Pakistan’s legal code and economic policy do not discriminate against foreign investments, enforcement of contracts remains problematic due to a weak and inefficient judiciary,” reads the report.

According to Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, Pakistan is rated 124 out of 180 countries, with corruption persisting owing to a lack of accountability and implementation of sanctions, as well as a lack of merit-based promotions and relatively low wages.

Bribes are classed as illegal actions under Pakistani law and are punished by law, according to the study, yet they are generally thought to be provided at all levels of government.  “Although the higher courts are widely viewed as more credible, lower courts are often considered corrupt, inefficient, and subject to pressure from prominent wealthy, religious, political figures and the establishment.

Political involvement in judicial appointments increases the government’s influence over the court system,” it says.

Read more: https://pakobserver.net/pakistan/

 

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