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DISTRICT BAR COUNCIL, LARKANA Address

 

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto

Prime Minister Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Larkana

3 January, 1994

 

Syed Abdullah Shah Sahib, Chief Minister Sindh,

President Larkana Bar Association,

Respected Members of the Bench and Bar,

Worthy guests, Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Assalam-o-Alaikum!

 

It is a matter of great pleasure for me to have the privilege of addressing an important Bar Association of the country. Lawyers have an important role in upholding supremacy of law in the country. They also play equally significant role in creating conditions conducive for meeting requirements of modern times for development and progress. The important issues of human rights and basic freedom are receiving maximum attention of lawyers associations. The question of resources and human needs is being given great importance all over the world. As such the lawyers community too will have to participate in development and social welfare activities.

 

Since long time, Bench and Bar have been two important pillars of judicial system. The courts owe the responsibility of forcing official agencies and organizations to function within the framework of Law and ensure supremacy of Law. This objective can be achieved only when the judiciary is free and is duly supported by a sincere but dauntless Bar. Presence of independent judiciary is an unavoidable necessity of a democratic country, and in a Federation like ours it is all the more imperative to have independent judicial system. Independence of courts helps in advancement of rule of Law. As far as superior courts are concerned, their freedom of action is guaranteed by the Constitution. The Federal Government, in pursuance of Supreme Court's decision of 31st March, 1993 has already issued a notification, although even before the pronouncement of this decision, People's Party's Government after being elected in 1988 and 1990 had decided to follow the same course. However, your government was removed and its successor government was not prepared even to allow Supreme Court the freedom of utilizing its budgetary provision according to its requirements while remaining within the limits of approved grant and withdrew the relevant orders. Let me make it clear that the Supreme Court is fully empowered to use its budgetary provision as it considers appropriate and is not supposed to seek government's permission. The provincial governments will also follow the same procedure in respect of provincial high courts. In the light of the relevant decision of the Supreme Court and in accordance with section 175 of the Constitution, Executive will be separated from Judiciary, The provincial governments are already preparing a plan to separate judicial and executive magistrates.

 

Under section 34 of our Constitution the government is bound to ensure participation of women in every sector of our national life. The number of women judges in our subordinate courts is very small. Our government is planning to appoint women judges at district level and also include some female Judges in High Courts. A legislation is under preparation to restore women's seats in National and Provincial Assemblies while for the first time nine seats will be reserved for women in the Senate.

 

Unfortunately, Pakistan remained under dictatorial regime for a long time which severely damaged democratic institutions and Parlia­mentary nature of the Constitution also suffered. Our government has constituted a Committee headed by the Minister for Law and Parlia­mentary Affairs to examine the changes made in the Constitution by the dictatorial regime and submit report to the government for further necessary action. Let us not forget that security of the country lies in upholding will of the people and democratic practices.

 

We are determined to strengthen Parliament which is the most important pillar of democracy. Parliament is the corner-stone of democratic set up. If an attempt is made to weaken the Parliament, the entire edifice of democracy will crumble down.

 

As far demands and suggestions made by you, I would like to say that circuit Benches of Sindh High Court are already functioning at Hyderabad and Sukkur. Now that Larkana has attained the status of Division, a circuit Bench should also be set up here. You will recall that in our Manifesto of 1990 Elections we had stated that with the establishment of Divisional Headquarters at Larkana, a circuit Bench will also start functioning here. The government of Sindh, in consultation with the Chief Justice of Sindh High Court, will Insha Allah soon set up a circuit Bench here.

 

With regard to the appointment of Judges, I would like to say that talented and qualified persons whether from Karachi, Hyderabad or any other part of Sindh, should be appointed Judges of the High Court. I hope the Chief Minister, while preparing list of suitable persons in consultation with the Chief Justice, will, apart from Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur, also include some names from Larkana Division.

 

As far as Banking Tribunal is concerned, I am not aware of the volume of its work in Larkana. However, a Chamber of Commerce has already been established here. Moreover, government has decided that those who fail to pay back their loans to banks, should be prosecuted and loans given to them should be fully recovered. Similarly, we have also decided that income tax defaulters should also be strictly dealt with and should be made to pay their tax dues. You will be pleased to know that ever since your government has taken over, recovery of tax dues has been accelerated as we attach great importance to recovering government dues. Let me assure you that political pressure will not be allowed to help loan or tax defaulters. No one will be permitted to use corrupt methods. We have launched moral crusade against corruption and other malpractices. We are determined to prove that big or small, rich or poor all are equal before law. This is the corner-stone of our policy. Banking and taxation are receiving maximum attention by us and I feel that a Banking Tribunal should be set up at Larkana. The government as well as Bar Council will equally benefit from it.

 

The question of Lawyers Colony in Larkana needs to be examined from administrative view point. I have already announced the establishment of a housing society in Larkana. I hope, this being a provincial matter, Chief Minister will examine the proposal and take appropriate decision. The demand for grant of interest-free loans to junior lawyers will be duly considered in the Ministry of Finance, while the request for increase in pay and allowances of Judges of junior courts will receive sympathetic consideration of the provincial administration which will have to foot the additional bill. In my opinion it is a fair demand and I will request the provincial government to consider it with due sympathy.

 

Before concluding I would like to say that I have the privilege of having long association with your Bar. After being elected Prime Minister for the second time due to your help and votes, this is my first address to any Bar Council in the country. I have been coming to your Council quite often and apart from my own relationship with your Association even the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto also enjoyed close relations with your Council.

 

I distinctly remember that during the Martial Law Regime you had decided to display Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's photograph in the Association's offices and despite heavy pressure from concerned quarters you did not change your principled stand. I am happy to note that your Association demonstrated unparallel courage and I earnestly hope that it will show the same strength of character and respect for principles in future as well.

 

I still remember that during my last visit I had announced a lump sum grant for your Council, but unfortunately, due to some procedural problems it was not given to you. Today. I am pleased to announce a grant of Rs. 5 lacs together with the earlier dues of 2 lacs, for your Association.

 

I am extremely grateful to you for inviting me to meet you.

 

Thank you very much

 

Pakistan Paindabad!

 

 

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