Common policies, uniform laws needed to combat extremism: CJP


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar Friday said common policies, uniform laws, pooled wisdom, shared data and information between Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member States, could be the weapons to combat extremism in the region.

Terrorism did not respect territorial borders, in order to combat the menace we need to forge strong bonds at all levels with other member states, CJP said on 13th Conference of the Presidents of Supreme Courts of SCO’s member States in China, a press release said.

While addressing the gathering ,Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said, “We are all gathered to find ways to ensure greater cooperation between member States to combat problems such as terrorism and extremism, which threaten the security of the member States.

He said, “The judiciary of the member States needs to play its part in building a strong framework in which these threats to our security can be combatted.”

He underlined the need of International Judicial Cooperation and said, “It is very necessary for global peace and regional security.”

The SCO will allow mutual legal assistance, the sharing of best practices, developing of regional dispute resolution mechanisms, extension of formal and informal cooperation by justice sector institutions, which will advance peace and stability in this region,” he added.

Discussing the Informatization of Court Work and the Development of Smart Court, Chief Justice of Pakistan gave them an overview of Court automation in Pakistan and Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) that the disposal of cases through mediation /ADR is being encouraged.

Chief Justice said that the setting up of smart courts is our long-term objective i.e. electronically operating courts aimed at strengthening e-justice services, improving access to justice through legal aid and alternative dispute resolution systems.

These smart courts will be set up in the form of commercial courts which would decide matters related to the CPEC and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on mediation / ADR techniques on a fast track basis, thus providing quick redressal to investors, which will help Pakistan reassure and give confidence to foreign investors in Pakistani courts.”

Commenting on geopolitical importance and key economic features of Pakistan, the CJP said,”It is believed to be a perfect location and an ideal market for foreign direct investment (FDI). Its huge natural resources, competitive and educated labour and specially tailored investment policies are very attractive to foreign investors, he added.

As Pakistan attracts more FDI, especially with CPEC coming to Pakistan, the inevitable investment disputes must be amicably settled through internationally recognized principles of Arbitration/ADR mechanisms which are acceptable to all the parties.

He informed the gathering that all the civil courts in Pakistan have been asked not to issue ex-parte stay orders in respect of CPEC related projects.

This initiative will improve the confidence level of foreign investors on Pakistan’s judicial system and will give a sense of protection, comfort and peace of mind whilst investing in Pakistan.

Moreover,  with respect to CPEC investment, there is a requirement of uniformity in laws, processes and mechanisms and there is a need of a forum like IFC Dubai for looking after foreign direct investment and designating special courts for hearing CPEC related disputes.

This requires further negotiation at State to State level and if necessary on the judicial level too. Therefore, I reiterate that the judiciaries of the region, especially with regard to CPEC Pak-China, need to work closely for developing mechanisms such as smart courts and information centers so that both the countries can progress hand in hand, he added.

Justice Nisar said that the sharing of legal ideas and the use of information technology by our two countries will be materially helpful for the judicial systems of both the countries.”

Chief Justice of Pakistan said, ”Pakistan has recently joined this organization and is keen to play a productive role as a member of SCO. We are also excited at the thought of the many opportunities this forum will open up to Pakistan and its judiciary to learn from the experiences and wisdom of other member States.”

As trade between member States of the SCO increases and as travel increases, there is increased need for international judicial cooperation.

He said none of us wants our countries to be safe havens for terrorists, for terrorist financing, for white collar crimes, or for cyber crimes.

These are just a few of the crimes and offences that do not respect territorial borders. The reach of such offences and offenders is not neatly confined to one country.

CJP suggested the members, “We all appoint focal persons from within our judiciaries to represent the member States at the SCO. The dedicated people will bring continuity to the work of the SCO and also help to build institutional memory within the SCO.

The designated person from each member state would prove to be an effective link between his/her state and other members of the SCO and this would lead to greater success in bringing about uniform legislation and policies.

Workshops and seminars be organized for very specific problems and issues facing member States. This is the time for practical solutions and pragmatic problem solving.

He said, ”another effective way to settle regional disputes amicably is through arbitration because arbitration proceedings are usually faster and cheaper than traditional court proceedings.

Article 2 of the Charter of the Organization (SCO) insists upon “Peaceful settlement of disputes between the member States”, therefore, it is the prime obligation of the Organization (SCO) to provide a platform to the member States to resolve their differences through peaceful settlement.

“I would suggest that the SCO may establish a ‘Joint Arbitration Center’ for the arbitral settlement of disputes amongst the member States and for effective enforcement of the award.”

Finally, member States need to vigorously enforce the resultant arbitral awards in order to strengthen the system of dispute resolution.

In Pakistan we at the Supreme Court are trying to settle the law with respect to the relationship between national courts and arbitration through our judgments.

Chief Justice of Pakistan hoped that the representatives of the member states will consider his suggestions for sharing of modern techniques and extend the required cooperation to the judiciaries of member states for efficient collaboration in dispensation of regional justice through the sharing of best practices and ideas.