The term “rule of law” has become much more debated and also much overused by intelligentsia, scholars and advocates, among others, in Pakistani society nowadays. For lawyers, “rule of law” is a term of art which generally signifies constitutional supremacy and adherence to principles of due process.

Political scientists use the phrase to describe institutional mechanisms for policing the state and preventing abuse of power through established accountability procedures and guarantees of basic civil, human and substantive rights. The phrase is gaining popularity among economists who have come to realise that the rule of law is necessary to create a secure environment for business, investments, contracts and market transactions.

Indeed, where there is the rule of law, there will be good governance, which means accountability, transparency, free and fair elections, etc. and overall economic growth and development in the society. The essence of the rule of law can be summarised in this plain proposition: ‘Because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’, the rule of law is essential to prevent power from corrupting and absolute power from corrupting absolutely!

It is a painful reality that we live in a society where there is practically no room for the ‘rule of law”, indeed, rhetorically it has a lot of scope. In Pakistani society, there is no ‘rule of law’ only the “rule of unjust laws” exists as there is no check and balance, or accountability.

HASHIM ABRO,

Islamabad, August 1.