“Justice delayed is justice denied.”
In Pakistan, delayed justice seems to be the only form of justice for the common man. Nearly two million cases are pending at all levels of Pakistan’s courts for years or even decades in some cases.
The petitioners and defendants saw a ray of hope when former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry got restored but nothing really changed. They still have to go through unnecessary adjournments, re-hearings and slow progress.
Sheikh Abdul Waheed is one such examples. The litigation of his plot — that he bought on November 11, 1956 — is still pending in the SC.
According to the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP),
- Cases pending with the SC: 38,539
- Cases pending in the five high courts: 293,947
- Cases pending with the subordinate judiciary of the four provinces and the federal capital: 1,869,886
The litigation process is so slow that sometimes the third generation of the petitioners gets the final verdict in the cases.
In another case, Asif Bashir Chaudhry told a local media that his father was the original claimant of their case. However, he is fighting for it for the last 20 years since his father’s death.
Eventually, I will hand over the file of this case to my son and our third generation will be pursuing this.
In a similar case, the son of Arif (late) is fighting his case over a property dispute that happened in 1986 in Rawalpindi.
Despite orders from the incumbent Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar — who’s asked the high courts to decide a case within three months — there is a huge delay in cases from the judiciary.
Pending Cases – Judiciary
There are 1,869,886 cases pending with the judiciary.
- Cases pending in the SC: 38,539
- Cases pending in the LHC: 147, 542
- Cases pending in the Sindh High Court: 93,335
- Cases pending in the Peshawar High Court: 30,764
- Cases pending in the Balochistan High Court: 6,030
- Cases pending in the Islamabad High Court: 16,278
Similarly, for the district judiciary:
- Punjab: 1,184,551
- Sindh: 97,673
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 204,030
- Balochistan: 12,826
- Islamabad: 37,753
Mohammad Akram Sheikh, who’s a senior lawyer, said:
It appeared as if the focus of high courts and SC were the petitions related to articles 199 and 184/3 of the Constitution that gives them the power to enforce fundamental rights. The superior judiciary, however, was the appellate forum of the district judiciary.
Other legal professionals claim that the bar is also responsible for the backlog of cases.