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Honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan Addresses Different Forums on 13th Conference of the Presidents of Supreme Courts of SCO Member States

May 25,2018

Addressing the Opening Ceremony of the 13th Conference of the Presidents of the Supreme Courts of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Member States today, the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar welcomed the dignitaries and said, “We are all gathered here under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to find ways to ensure greater cooperation between
member States to combat problems such as terrorism and extremism and the ilk which threaten the security of the member States. Many modern crimes such as terrorism do not respect territorial borders. In order to combat these menaces we need to forge strong bonds at all levels with other member States so that we leave no space for the offenders. Common policies, uniform laws, pooled wisdom, shared data and information: these are the weapons in our arsenal. He further added, “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.”
His lordship underlined the need of International Judicial Cooperation and said, “it is very necessary for global peace and regional security. The efforts of SCO to bring the Higher Judiciary of the member states together through this conference are very ommendable. The regional social fabric is being eroded through divisive forces. We live in an age where the “other” is viewed with suspicion. But forums such as the SCO help to counter this insularity by allowing us to make friends. As we shake hands with our counterparts from member States, as we break bread with them and converse with them, we cannot but help build closer links between our member States. The SCO will allow mutual legal assistance, the sharing of best practices, developing of regional dispute resolution mechanisms, extension of formal & informal cooperation by justice sector institutions which will advance peace and stability in this region.” Discussing the Informatization of Court Work and the Development of Smart Court, Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan gave them an over view of Court automation in Pakistan and ADR that the disposal of cases through mediation / Alternate Dispute Resolution is being encouraged. 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.”
He further added, “Investment in IT is not for the sake of modernization alone but because it enables easy access to information, increased transparency and accountability while lowering costs. In developing countries, including Pakistan, it has been recognized as an essential catalyst, which enables judiciary, as well as other sectors of society, to speed up their business processes while striving to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Commenting on geopolitical importance and key economic features of Pakistan, His lordship 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. 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. 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. 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.” Addressing the Discussion Group Improvement of Mechanism of International Judicial Cooperation in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Hon’ble 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. 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. And in this world, there is ever increasing need for cooperation. Coordinated policies between regional judicial systems will allow all of us to benefit from a regime in which we are all more secure. And I do not need to spell out that without security there can be no economic development and prosperity. This forum will allow us to take concrete steps for improved mechanisms for mutual recognition and enforcement of judicial decisions
within the member States. When decisions rendered by the judiciary of one member state are respected and enforced in another it will restrict the space for those elements in our society who work towards undermining the forces of progress.” 
His lordship 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. In Pakistan recently the Supreme Court took notice of the issue of human trafficking. Pakistan can of course formulate policies and legislation to curb this menace but this is exactly the kind of shared problem which would benefit from a coordinated approach by our member States.” His lordship 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. Alongwith the
establishment of the Joint Arbitration Center, the Arbitration Laws of the member States are required to be amended by the member States in order to avoid any conflict of law or procedure. 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. The support of the Courts is an integral part of the arbitration mechanism, as no arbitration can achieve its aims without the assistance of the domestic juridical system.” Hon’ble 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.




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