Legal experts from both India and Pakistan gathered on Tuesday to pinpoint merits and flaws in the judicial systems as well as the status of human rights in both countries.
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), Hamdard University School of Law and the India-based Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), provided them the opportunity to do this at a two-day regional workshop on judicial activism and human rights.
Speaking at the occasion, PILER’s executive director, Karamat Ali, said the living conditions of people in both India and Pakistan are terrible but the governments are still victimising fishermen to fuel political rivalry.
Advocate Colin Gonsalves, a speaker from the neighbouring country, said, “In India, 40 percent of the people earn less than Rs100 a day and this causes widespread malnutrition.” He said a that there was a tradition when prisoners used to write letters to courts and judges would turn them into petitions in an attempt to provide relief. “A court can give orders, but it cannot implement it. It is the responsibility of state to implement orders.”
In his speech, Justice (retd) Rashid Razvi, said, “Pakistan has witnessed four rules of military dictatorship and has spent little time under the democratic dispensation.”
In his speech, Advocate Faisal Siddiqi said that it is the state’s responsibility to implement judges’ orders. “In the Karachi violence and Balochistan cases, the judiciary passed order but the state did not implement it.”
Advocate Prashant Bhushan from India said in his speech that judges make laws and cited the example of police reforms by the Supreme Court in the Parkash Singh case. “Judges make laws and they should. Their judicial powers can be checked with the use of transparent accountability.”
Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid shed light on the role of the India-Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners in releasing the fishermen from jails. According to him, there are 437 Indian prisoners in Malir Jail, out of which 284 have completed their term and are waiting for repatriation. He said that they cannot return to their home countries only because of bureaucratic hurdles.