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Islamabad Declaration 2014 & Concluding Address



APRIL 2014
My brother Judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan,

Hon’ble Chief Justice Supreme Court of Azad Jammu & Kashmir,

Hon’ble Chief Justices and Judges of the Federal Shariat Court, High Courts of Pakistan and the High Court of Azad Jammu & Kashmir,

Hon’ble Chief Judge Supreme Appellate Court Gilgit-Baltistan and Chief Judge, Gilgit-Baltistan,

Learned members of the District Judiciary,

Attorney General for Pakistan and Advocate Generals of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkwa, Punjab and Sindh,

Vice Chairman and Office Bearers of Pakistan Bar Council and the Provincial Bar Councils,

President and office bearers of the Supreme Court Bar Association,

Presidents and office bearers of the High Court and District Courts Bar Associations,

Eminent International delegates,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen:



You have heard my brother judges presenting the recommendations for each of the working groups of this International Judicial Conference 2014. I now propose that a summary of these recommendations set out in the following terms, may be formally adopted by this gathering as the declaration of this conference, namely the Islamabad Declaration 2014:


In respect of the Judicial Review of Administrative Actions, it is hereby declared that Judiciary, not only in Pakistan but all over the world, particularly in developing countries, strives to establish ‘constitutionalism’ by exercising the power of judicial review. This places a rational limit over the decisions and actions of other organs of the state and this spirit must be maintained and kept alive. Further, the power of judicial review may be exercised to preserve the constitution as a living and organic text by recognizing and enforcing emerging contemporary human rights such as the right to health, food, shelter and other amenities of life. The power of judicial review may also be exercised for the eradication of rent seeking behavior and encouragement of Foreign Direct Investment and other economic activities within the country. To complement the exercise of the power of Judicial Review by the Superior Courts, the District Judiciary and other judicial forums may also be strengthened so that people have access to justice at their doorstep. The exercise of suo moto jurisdiction by the Supreme Court of Pakistan may be duly structured and regulated by the Court and the principle of trichotomy of powers enshrined in the constitution be respected so that exercise of judicial powers neither hampers nor stunts executive policies. Finally, the sanctity of the people’s trust in the legislature to legislate must be kept in mind while seeking judicial review of legislative instruments.


On the subject of Role of Judiciary in Protecting Human Rights, it is hereby declared that the superior courts may not exercise a roving and supervisory role to ensure fundamental rights are complied with. They shall exercise their jurisdiction in such a way that they are not overburdened with civil and political claims. Accordingly, the subordinate judiciary may also play a pivotal role in safeguarding the fundamental rights of citizens. It is suggested that the judiciary must ensure access of speedy justice and abridge the lengthy legal procedures and hurdles faced by litigants. It is further suggested that a Court of Sessions be designated as a Human Rights court for a particular district. It is recommended that legal aid facilities may also be made available to the marginalized sections of society. It is further recommended that social, cultural and economic rights should be identified as inalienable to help foster social justice. It is also recommended that the legislature should identify structural issues resulting from social and economic disparities which pose an obstacle to the fulfillment of constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights. It is also recommended that the judiciary should remain conversant with human rights challenges being raised and addressed all over the world. It is strongly recommended that the right of fair trial and due process of law be guaranteed.


On the subject of Access to Justice in the Context of Constitutional Requirements, it is hereby declared that an empirical study in order to examine the causes of maladministration in various jurisdictions of Pakistan’s judicial system be conducted. This study should focus on identifying the primary causes of delay; means of supplementing human resource and infrastructural capacity of courts; current public perception of fairness of the judicial process; ideal service structure for judges and court staff; litigant’s ability to pay for litigation costs; sufficiency of the powers of the district judiciary for the purpose of providing proper/effective oversight of executive authorities as well as legislative, judicial and administrative measures which may be taken to provide greater access to justice to the citizens of the country. Following this study, suitable changes to the rules and culture of the Bar may be introduced in order to ensure that legal aid is provided to deserving litigants.


On the subject of the Role of the Judiciary in the Promotion of a Culture of Tolerance, it is imperative that courts must promote tolerance and be sensitive to the social, ethnic, racial and gender background of the parties and demonstrate empathy towards these considerations. It is fundamental that honest and dedicated persons who share a strong commitment to the dispensation of justice be appointed as judges. It is suggested that judicial training be imparted to judicial officers to sensitize them to the biases and prejudices plaguing the society. Finally, it is recommended that rights for protection of minorities must be effectively and meaningfully enforced.


The declaration of this conference is hereby formally adopted as the Islamabad Declaration 2014. In my capacity as the head of this apex court and Chairman of the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan I commend each and every one of you for contributing towards the ongoing journey of legal development and reform in Pakistan. I would once again like to express my profound gratitude to members of Pakistan’s superior judiciary, lawyers, public functionaries, academics, representatives of the civil society for contributing whole-heartedly to the discussions and deliberations in each of the working groups earlier today. I assure you that your efforts have not only made this conference successful and memorable for all but will also go a long way in promoting a culture of legal debate, discussion and progress in our country.


I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Organizing Committee of this conference comprising the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, Senior Puisne Judge, the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain for their unstinting guidance and support throughout the planning and execution of this conference. I would also like to appreciate Raja Akhlaq Hussain, Secretary Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan and his team for their dedication, commitment of tireless efforts for the success of this conference, the Registrar of the Supreme Court Mr. Tahir Shahbaz, who despite his recent appointment to this office, became an integral part of the team that allowed this conference to come together. I would also be remiss if I did not express my gratitude for the staff members who worked behind the scenes and remained alert and helpful despite the long hours that the conference necessitated, or if I did not appreciate the

efforts of the rapporteurs and volunteers who provided cheerful and tireless support to our esteemed delegates throughout the conference. Each one of these people were motivated by the desire to make their contribution to bolstering the system of justice in our country and for this I congratulate and commend each of you personally. In particular, my brother judges of the Supreme Court and I would like to extend a most heartfelt thankfulness to our foreign delegates who have traveled long distances to participate in this conference. This unique assemblage of judges and jurists from across the globe is a living testament that members of the legal profession throughout the world recognize and appreciate that the legal issues that plague a certain country and the trajectory that its laws may take is not a matter for that country alone but is of importance and concern to all others. The English poet John Donne had famously stated as long ago as the 16th century that, ‘no man is an island, entire of himself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main’. The universality and interconnectedness of the world that Donne had alluded to, remains a valid reality to date, indeed more so in this world of globalization and advanced technology. We, the members of the legal profession, whether we may be on the bench or part of the bar, whether we have at our disposal the use of the finest resources and institutions of the developed world or whether we are still in the process of acquiring these resources or creating these institutions, are equally part of this world. We are all proceeding on the same journey—a journey whose destination, whose ultimate dream, is the attainment of rule of law and justice in our respective countries and spheres of influence—and the actions of each one on this journey reverberate in the lives of the others. This conference is a testament to our dependence on each other for our progress and success. It is therefore imperative that we share in each others’ concerns to make the world a better, more viable place for our future generations.


Before I part with you I have a dream and a thought to share. Dreams and hopes are a prelude to visions and resolves. These are engines and catalysts of all human progress and social change. Fifty years ago Dr. Martin Luther King, a visionary and a fighter for human rights had a dream that his nation will rise up and live up to the true meaning of its creed that all men are created equal. That dream changed the course of American history. The U.S. Supreme Court which declined to give equal status to Afro-Americans in Dred Scott’s case (1857), in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) declared that black and white are equal and that there shall be no segregation in schools. There was a cultural sea change. The people elected a person of colour as their President. Let us for a change, shun individual dreams and let us instead dream as one people and for one race of humans. Let’s dream together for a world we live in, a world of globalized interdependence.


Let’s dream for a day when all the international and regional bodies forge a common goal of a universal desire of people across the globe to be governed by the rule of law;

Let’s dream for a world which treats all people equally before the law;

Let’s dream for a day when the walls of pride and prejudice, of race and colour, of caste and creed, of religion and gender, fall and people live as one race of humans;

Let’s dream for a day when the nations of the world burry their hatchets and their nuclear arsenals;

Let’s dream for a day when genocide or ethnic cleansing or waging of war becomes a distant memory;

Let’s dream and pray for a day when we live by the true meaning of Quranic command, “Let there be no compulsion in religion”; (2:256)

Let’s dream that there is a dawn when nations of the world do not ask for “whom the bell tolls” but believe that it tolls for every nation;

Let’s dream for a day when the world is liberated by law and the people are not condemned by caprice;

Let’s dream for a day when there is no midnight knock on the door or a sudden disappearance;

Let’s dream for a day devoid of show trials, of subjugation of prisoners through genetic experiments and of confessions extracted by torture;

Let’s dream for a day when people across the globe canalize their energies and resources for a better future, for peace and for prosperity;

Let’s dream for a day when innocent men and women do not die of hunger, of disease or of infliction of terror;

Let’s dream that our dreams come true, that they turn into passions, into oaths and resolves;

Let’s unite for these dreams and these visions. These dreams, these hopes, these aspirations and goals are the outcome of our common wounds and pains.

Let’s pledge to live for and live by these aspirations and goals.

Let’s defeat those who want to defeat us.

I thank you all.

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