April 21, 2020 Print

Alternate Solutions Institute, an Atlas Network partner based in Pakistan, released the first edition of the State of the Rule of Law in Pakistan, a report that will be released annually. The Institute hopes that this report will be a driving force for improved rule of law in Pakistan and create the necessary conditions to foster growth and prosperity.

Rule of law is the principle that the laws that bind a society together apply consistently and fairly to every member of that society, and is the first step in creating an environment conducive to freedom and prosperity. Individuals must trust in the institutions that comprise government and feel secure in their communities in order to build them up.

“Rule of law is highly critical, not simply because it allows for sound and fair principles to prevail, but mostly because it creates an environment for steady and fundamental growth to occur,” said Dr. Raza Ullah, president of the Institute.

ASI opposes a popular opinion that rule of law in Pakistan fails because of military intervention in government. Instead, they argue, that the rule of law fails because of inconsistent implementation and corruption in government and law enforcement. Strengthening public trust in these institutions will be the key to establishing rule of law.

The report consists of three main sections: issues with the rule of law in Pakistan, the importance of the rule of law, and recommendations for future action. Additionally, the report includes anecdotal incidents, available empirical data, and international reports on rule of law in Pakistan, such as data on the numbers of political prisoners, individuals tortured by police, missing persons, and police-related deaths.

Following the release of the report, ASI organized seminars around the country to allow for discussion among lawyers, scholars, and other policy professionals. The report and subsequent events were widely publicized by Pakistani media, including Dawn, Pakistan’s longest-running newspaper.

Alternate Solutions Institute has published previously on the importance of rule of law. A 2014 book, titled Pakistan’s Democratic Impasse – Analysis and the Way Forward, advocated for accountability of politicians and for strengthening of fundamental rights. In the new report, the Institute echoes these arguments, emphasizing the importance of rule of law in protecting individual freedoms.

Alternate Solutions Institute hopes that focusing on rule of law will be Pakistan’s way forward to development and prosperity. 

“We believe that we all are stakeholders in the rule of law as it affects us all,” said Dr. Ullah. “We also believe that adherence to the rule of law is the most prominent aspect of our collective life that helps us in combating poverty, addressing the menace of corruption, and promotes fair play all around.”

Read the full report.

The State of Rule of Law in Pakistan report was supported with an Atlas Network grant.