Syed Iqbal Haider goes candid | Pakistan Today

Syed Iqbal Haider goes candid

LAHORE: The present rulers though claim to be elected have not taken any steps for mitigating people’s suffering and now people’s faith in democracy is shaking, said former senator and human rights activist Syed Iqbal Haider.
Iqbal Haider, founding member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), was talking to Pakistan Today before leaving for India to get the 4th Mother Teresa Memorial Award, which has been conferred upon by the Global Harmony Foundation this year in respect of his four-decade-long struggle for human rights.
“There is no rule of law in the country while economic and human rights conditions are going from bad to worse rapidly as the executive has failed to run the affairs of the state,” he said. Haider said the elected government is continuously following the policies and norms of Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, which is detrimental to people’s interests as well as the state.
Referring to the prime minister and the president of Pakistan, Haider said, “The executive is not allowing the parliament to perform its basic function of exercising checks and balances against the authority abuse, while the judiciary is being called upon to indulge to perform this function.” “The executive does not even allow the parliament to be independent in its working; it functions on directions by the executive,” he said.
The rise in the number of human rights violations proves the failure of the government to govern the state, he said. “The executive is callous and indifferent to lawlessness, target killings, honour killings, and violence against women including gang rapes, burying women alive, and bonded labour.” Haider recently resigned from the office of HRCP co-chairperson owing to differences with Asma Jahangir.
He is a practicing lawyer since June 1967 and became a senator in 1991. He also remained the attorney general of Pakistan and the federal minister for law, justice, parliamentary affairs & human rights. To a question, Haider said new procedure for judges’ appointment through judicial commission was indeed more consultative and transparent but commission’s decision should not be subject to approval by the parliamentary committee.
He was of the view that it was not parliament’s job to appointment judges and if they were appointed with parliament’s approval then it would seriously damage judicial independence in future. “If the parliament does not approve appointment of ministers or civil servants or army officials then why an exception in the case of judges’ appointment?” he questioned. Speaking about the judicial activism, he said it was a result of ‘terrible’ governance by the executive, which compelled courts to come into action, to prevent the abuse of executive’ authority.
Haider said the Judicial Commission should ensure equal representation of the federating units in the Supreme Court. On retirement of a judge from Sindh, for an instance, the vacancy should be filled from Sindh, which is not being done till now, he explained.
“Delivering justice is the executive’s primary duty. People wrongly believe that dispensing justice was the duty of the courts; it is a basic obligation of the executive. If the government acts in a non-discriminatory manner, people will not require courts to seek justice,” he said. He said if the lawyers remained united they could ensure the implementation of judgments by the judiciary, which at the moment is being ‘disrespected’ by the executive.
Recalling the past, he said judges and lawyers in 1970s were more competent than those in the present times, as back then they had a good command over law and English language. He said, “Now the whole society, not only the judges and the lawyers, has degenerated because of poor education system, ignored by the bureaucracy.”
About 1200 people including Dr Afia went missing in Pakistan since 2002, and except intelligence agencies no body knew about their whereabouts, he regretted.

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  2. Barrister Gohar said:

    we are all saddened by his death. He lives all his life for the rights of others. He will always be remembered and we must prayer for him. May God bless him.

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