ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The ninth Ministers of Justice Meeting of the Member Countries of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in Islamabad on Friday.
It was held virtually and will be addressed by the Justice Ministers of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
In his address at the Meeting, the Minister for Law and Justice Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar said that adherence to the principles of supremacy of law and accountability, shall ensure sustainable economic growth, stability and development of the SCO Member States.
The minister said that Pakistan remains committed to upholding the shared objectives of SCO for promotion of cooperation in the field of law and justice. He said that Pakistan is also determined to achieve the objectives of the SCO Development Strategy until 2025 including strengthening of regional and bilateral cooperation.
Mentioning Pakistan’s progress in the area of forensic science activities, the law minister highlighted the formation of State of the Art, Punjab Forensic Science Agency and several prefabricated satellite forensic evidence collection units in the Country.
Azam Nazeer Tarar vowed that Pakistan will continue to extend its full support and cooperation in achieving the objectives of the SCO in the field of law and Justice.
The following is the full text of Speech of the Federal Minister for Law and Justice Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar at the Ninth Meeting of the Justice Ministers of the SCO;
It is an honor for me to address the Ninth Justice Ministers Meeting of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
This forum represents the ambitions of the Member States to build prosperous and sustainable partnerships for promoting common values, interests and opportunities.
The objectives of the SCO are in complete harmony with the foreign policy goals of the Government of Pakistan, which focus on peace, stability and development.
Pakistan remains committed to upholding these shared objectives including playing an effective role in the promotion of cooperation in the field of law and justice.
SCO is also a dynamic platform to forge ties with regional partners and we will continue cooperation on the forensic activities, legal services, and supremacy of rule of law in order to achieve the goals of this august forum.
Pakistan shares with the Members of SCO deep-rooted, historical, and cultural links. Our interests and objectives interconnect across a wide range of areas and challenges. Pakistan believes that the future of our region, and the world, will feature unprecedented interdependence and enhanced cooperation.
Accordingly, promoting friendly relations and strengthening regional cooperation through enhanced connectivity and people to people contacts would help us achieve and confront our common objectives and challenges.
The coincidence of double hazards of floods and COVID is a challenging problem. Since the beginning of 2020, many regions around the World especially SCO region have been experiencing this double hazard of serious flooding and the pandemic. Pakistan too is badly affected by the COVID and the recent flooding. Around 33 million people including approximately 16 million children, have been affected by this year’s unprecedented heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan, which led to destruction of homes, farms and critical infrastructure including roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and public health facilities. It is imperative that SCO Member States should forge partnerships, revise environmental legal frameworks and formulate combine strategies to effectively combat the crises caused by the pandemic and the environment challenges. At the heart of this approach must be sustained education and communication especially among the users of natural resources, about the laws and procedures that are needed and that are set in place to facilitate effective enforcement and compliance. As we identify and focus on the emerging trends regarding the environmental rule of law, and on ways of curbing irresponsible use of the environment and natural resources, we must seek to develop a more balanced and Integrated paradigm for sustainable development, one that will balance the needs of the market with the social challenges and the opportunities the environment offers.
Forensic science today became a critical element of the criminal justice system. Forensic scientists examine and analyze evidence from crime scenes and elsewhere to develop objective findings that can assist in the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of crime or absolve an innocent person from suspicion. Exploring deep research and cooperation of the SCO Member States in this field is an utmost requirement of the time.
Here I would like to mention Pakistan’s progress in the area of forensic science activities such as formation of State of the Art, Punjab Forensic Science Agency and several prefabricated satellite forensic evidence collection units in the country.
Lastly, as today’s child is tomorrow’s future, we have emphasized on the importance of forensic knowledge in Universities as well due to which Lahore Garrison University has started building first of its kind Digital forensic Research and Service Centre (DFRSC). The SCO Member States shall also cooperate and share their knowledge and experiences in the field of Forensic Science. On our part, we are ready to share our knowledge, experience and assistance in the area of Forensic Science with other Member States. Such cooperation will promote the development of Forensic Science among the SCO Member States.
Development of the legal systems including legal education of the SCO Member States is also an important aspect and Pakistan looks forward to cooperating in the promotion and development of the Organization’s legal system. Accordingly, Pakistan is actively participating in the activities of the Expert Working Groups on forensic activities and legal Services including on the draft SCO Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil Cases. The last decade has seen an increase in the respect for the rule of law. Independence of judiciary is the bedrock of a peaceful society and rule of law. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ensures the independence of judiciary. Adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, and accountability, shall ensure long-term sustainable economic growth, stability, progress and development of the SCO Member States. Pakistan is also determined to achieve the objectives of the SCO Development Strategy until 2025 by a series of actions that include:- • increase interaction with fellow SCO Member States, strengthening of regional and bilateral cooperation and establish mutually beneficial contacts; • holding regional and bilateral conferences/events dedicated to the current legal issues of cooperation between the SCO Member States; • Improving further national laws, introducing new technologies, and exchanging information with other Member States on best practices to promote forensic activities and legal services; • continuing the work on formation of the treaty-legal base within the SCO framework on the provision of legal assistance to individuals and legal entities by further refining the draft SCO Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil Cases; and • by strengthening cooperation among SCO Member States on legal system including legal education as well as sharing of relevant knowledge and experiences.
Thank you for your kind attention and be assured that Pakistan will continue to extend its full support and cooperation in achieving the objectives of the SCO in the field of law and Justice.”