ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday said that a serious dialogue and deliberation was required to assess the pros and cons of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project keeping its legal, social, cultural and economic aspects in view and suggest ways to make the multi-billion project a win-win situation for both Pakistan and China.

He said that while achieving the economic milestone in the form of the CPEC, stakeholders must also be fully equipped to deal with grey areas in the legal and administrative landscape which may hinder Pakistan from taking full advantage of the numerous opportunities provided by the project.

The chief justice said while speaking during 8th Judicial Conference 2018, organized by the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan under the auspices of the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC).

Distinguished luminaries of legal as well as other associated fields from within the country and abroad attended the first-day of the conference.

In August 2006, to mark the 50th anniversary of the apex court, the Supreme Court of Pakistan organized the first International Judicial Conference. Since then it has become a regular feature of the judicial calendar.

Justice Nisar further said that discussions in this conference will provide a chance to the participants to suggest ways for legal and economic integration at the regional level for socio-economic growth of the country which is expected as an outcome of the CPEC.

“Among other aspects, the CPEC promises direct foreign investment. A thematic session regarding the uncharted territory of economic and social integration of the two countries is planned. Experts can deliberate on how we, as a nation, can maximize the benefits of foreign direct investment that the CPEC will bring with it. It will offer the participants a unique platform to explore the issues and possible measures to cater for any unforeseen and unaddressed problem areas,” he said.

He pointed out that small businesses were expected to receive a boost from the economic opportunities of the CPEC.

“The conference will also provide a forum to deliberate upon the most effective methodology and fora for dispute resolution through commercial arbitration with the aim of developing a workable mechanism for investment treaty arbitration in inter-state disputes,” the chief justice said.

“Investor confidence and transfer of technology are directly proportionate for the protection of intellectual property and the realm of intellectual property rights needs special attention. Our friend and the CPEC partner, China, has one of the five largest patent registration offices in the world,” he said.  The chief justice hoped that the conference will also provide a chance to the participants to identify and suggest ways to remove the potential hurdles which are considered part and parcel of the foreign direct investment of this nature and magnitude.

“Therefore, one of the topics of discussion is mechanisms of alternate dispute resolution. These must be put in place before investment starts pouring in. The benefits of alternate dispute resolution have been lauded at many different platforms,” he said. ”This forum will also provide an opportunity to the stakeholders to discuss issues relating to the environment which, as a nation, we have unfortunately been lax about in the past,” Justice Nisar said.

Regarding the corporate social responsibility, the chief justice told the participants that both the environment and the citizens must be kept in mind while debating matters involving investment, growth, progress, industrialization and development of infrastructure.

Regarding the problems of delays and a backlog of cases, Justice Nisar said that the bar and the judiciary were equally responsible for the same.

“It is only when we join hands to eradicate such problems that we can rid the nation of this menace. We are all familiar with the issue of chronic delays in the dispensation of justice. Being the head of the judiciary of Pakistan, I am committed to revamping the system through various modes including judicial reforms.”

However, he said, this issue needs to be addressed by adopting a holistic and synchronized approach. “It is vital for all relevant institutions to coordinate and work together for reducing delays in the finalization of legal disputes,” he said.

“Pakistan is in the process of streamlining its legal regime and institutions in this area. But much needs to be done. We must ensure that adequate legal information is available to our citizens and business entities when it comes to venturing into business with citizens and corporations of other countries,” the chief justice said.

“Our nation is striving for a better and more prosperous Pakistan. We too are determined to contribute our share towards the socio-economic growth and development of our beloved country. We can do this by ensuring an efficient, efficacious and expeditious justice delivery system. We believe that at the foundation of a prosperous nation lies the provision of equal opportunities and with strong underpinnings of rule of law.”

Administration of justice plays a key role in the prosperity of a nation. It allows a nation and its citizens to enjoy the fruits of economic growth, he added.