ISLAMABAD  - The Chief Justice of Pakistan and Chief Justice of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Saturday signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) for bilateral cooperation, improving capacity and performance of judicial institutions by setting up performance standards.

The MoU was signed in the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee meeting held in the chair of Chief Justice/Chairman of NJPMC Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and in the committee room of the Supreme Court building.

Justice Chaudhry hoped that signing of MoU would help improve the system administration of justice in both states. "I am confident that this association and cooperation would be a hallmark for strengthening the administration of justice in both the states."

On this occasion Chief Justice AJK Muhammad Azam Khan stated that in past there was no formal interaction between the judiciaries of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan, however, after restoration of independent judiciary, the Chief Justice of Pakistan/Chairman NJPMC provided us opportunity to participate in the meetings of NJPMC and observe the impact of National Judicial Policy on the justice system.

"This informal interaction led the AJK judiciary to apply the strategies provided in the National Judicial Policy for clearing the backlog. After realising the results, we decided to institutionalise this informal interaction by signing MoU for bilateral cooperation." He hoped that this MoU will play important role in strengthening the administration of justice in the state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. He also thanked to the Members of NJPMC for their cooperation and giving opportunity to have formal interaction.

Earlier, in his keynote address, the CJP said that administration of justice is a prerequisite for rule of law in a society and the judiciary plays central role in promoting social justice by shielding the rights of every citizen.

He further stated that with each passing day the level of confidence in the judiciary is increasing and in this regard National Judicial Policy has played an important role. The chief justice said that expeditious and impartial dispensation of justice increase sense of security in a society by reducing the risk of conflicts, which has crucial role for socio-economic development.

"I feel no hesitation in saying that the National Judicial Policy has played an important role in enhancing the confidence of people in the ability of courts for resolution of their disputes. The results of the policy are encouraging and have cast good impacts on the overall system of administration of justice."

The meeting was attended by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, Judge Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Agha Rafiq Ahmed Khan, Chief Justice Federal Shariat Court, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Chief Justice High Court of Balochistan, Justice Mushir Alam, Chief Justice Sindh High Court, Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, Chief Justice Peshawar High Court, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Chief Justice Lahore High Court, Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi, Chief Justice Islamabad High Court, Justice Faisal Arab, Judge High Court of Sindh, and Registrar Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The Committee will meet again today (Sunday) to discuss the remaining agenda items.