(Mis-)Judging the state? The crisis in Pakistan’s judiciary and its ramifications

Wolf, Siegfried O.

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This SADF working paper sheds light on the flaws within Pakistan’s judicial system and its ramifications for the country’s political and economic development. The paper considers judicial risk assessments for potential foreign investors looking to engage in Pakistan, especially in the context of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). After elaborating on the institutional imbroglio in Pakistan’s political system, it is argued that at no point in the country’s history was a functional, effective separation of power in place that could enable the emergence of a fully independent judiciary. Due to corruption, manipulation, and partisan interests, the judiciary branch not only failed to avoid extra-constitutional regime changes - namely military coups - but also endorsed and abetted the consolidation of illegally gained power and ancient, reactionary feudal-tribal structures. Moreover, by allowing the enactment of discriminatory (blasphemy) laws, the superior court failed to protect democratic processes in general and political & human rights in particular. Compromised by political chicanery from the two other branches of governance, internally corrupted by influential socio-economic pressure groups and religious fanatics, the judiciary is more engaged with safeguarding its corporate interests than carrying out necessary reforms to improve the efficiencies of its courts. Judicial practices are thus perceived by experts as very far indeed from the notions of justice and fair trails. They definitely fail to mirror the ‘highest standards of judicial independence’ recently claimed by Pakistani authorities. Despite the judiciary’s relative ability to preserve the rule of law, its failures certainly fail to provide an enabling environment for foreign investments. Not only the general public but also members of its highest benches doubt the judiciary’s credibility and accountability, which cannot be seen but as the clear sign of a deep crisis – a crisis that profoundly affects the country’s overall development.

Document type: Book
Publisher: South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF)
Place of Publication: Brussels
Date: 2021
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2021 11:39
Number of Pages: 22
Faculties / Institutes: Miscellaneous > Individual person
DDC-classification: Religion
Political science
Military science
Controlled Keywords: Pakistan, Rechtsprechung, Justizpolitik, Soziale Wirklichkeit, Islam
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pakistan, Justiz, Demokratie, Gewaltenteilung, Chinesisch-pakistanischer Wirtschaftskorridor, US-Außenministerium, ausländische Direktinvestitionen / Pakistan, Judiciary, Democracy, Separation of Power, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Direct Investments
Subject (classification): Law
Countries/Regions: Pakistan
Series: Themen > SADF Working Papers
Volume: 28
Additional Information: DOI: 10.48251/SADF.ISSN.2506-8202.WP28 (der Erstausgabe)