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‘Provision of justice is not the state’s priority’

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‘Provision of justice is not the state’s priority’
Athar Minullah

Justice Athar Minallah says the justice reforms project is for those
who do not have access to the high court

Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah said that there is injustice in the judiciary but the institution has never been the priority of the state.

Addressing the justice reforms project, Justice Minallah said when there is injustice within the Patwari and the police station, the courts are the only ray of hope for the people.

However, he said there is no justice in the judicial system. “Perhaps, the state has no priority. District courts were set up in shops in commercial areas and the rights of lawyers and judges are also being violated,” he said.

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Speaking about the plea of prisoners, the chief justice said the prisons are also overcrowded. “Can every questioner get justice within a specified period?” He asked.

Justice Minallah highlighted that the justice reforms project is to provide justice. “Most people in this country cannot go to courts,” he added.

Talking about district courts, Justice Minallah said that Islamabad’s district courts are being set up in commercial plazas.

“I can happily say that the previous government laid the foundation of the District Courts Complex at our request. It understood our burden and now the complex is nearing completion,” the chief justice informed BOL News.

Explaining the justice reforms project, he said: “For those who do not have access to the high court, this project is for them,” adding: “This project is for the original stakeholders, which we got from the Constitution.”

“We were aware of the problems but we were not experts in institutional reforms. We knew that a large section of the country did not have access to justice,” he said, adding: “We thought a lot about what to do, but we did not understand.”

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Justice Minallah also said that an effective judicial system is essential, but justice does not only depend on the courts. “A person affected by the injustices of Patwari and the police station comes to the court,” he said.

Talking about the longstanding cases, he said: “I have a case that has been pending for more than 50 years. Both the petitioner and his wife have passed away and in all these years, the case has been sent to the Supreme Court six times.”

Highlighting the problems being faced by the prisoners in jails, he said: “There is injustice in our prisons too. Who will give justice to the person who spent 12 years in jail and was later acquitted that year?”

Mentioning the confiscation of land by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) 50 years ago, the IHC chief justice said the victims of Islamabad are still awaiting compensation. “The victims have not been compensated to-date,” he added.

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