Some of the more important aspects of technology have been covered by the author on previous occasions. One important aspect is that of accountability; if this aspect is not taken care of in good time, technology cannot prosper. Can anyone endorse the way we have approached holding those in authority accountable for wastage of resources? The answer is no. This means we need to find out whether it is possible to improve upon the current methodology.

Allama Iqbal has pointed out that the power of the west arises out of their successful application of science in the form of technological achievements. Not to be forgotten is the fact that the germs for such thoughts of the Allama arose out of the thinking of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.

We need to recall how and why after the completion of Abraham’s religion by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) success came about. When there were disputes the Holy Prophet adjudicated, not as a Chief Justice nor as Auditor General, but as Chief Executive Officer. This meant accountability of the executive resided within it. This tradition was carried over by his successors. In fact, Abdul Malik bin Marwan, the 5th Umayaid Khalifa, institutionalised the process in which as CEO, he heard cases personally. One of the main causes for problems arising in Swat when it was included in the jurisdiction of Pakistani laws was the bills and the high cost of litigation and delays in settling disputes.

It is also of interest to note that when Napoleon invaded Egypt along with a 153 self-paying scholars, that he had the Quran and Fiqh translated into French absorbing its background. On smuggling himself back to France, about a year later he ensured administrative accountability was kept independent of the judicial. This system was adopted by several European countries and works very successfully. We need to revise our thoughts on this score. Even culturally it is more suitable.

It is also of interest to note that England, in the 11th-12th century, exported black-faced sheep’s’ wool to Europe to convert into cloth. The reason was that wool cloth-making technology did not exist in England. This aspect of export/import led to litigation and the Common Law Courts failed to provide “justice”. Such cases were taken away from the Common Law and handed over to the Lord Chancellor who used his common sense to arrive at a decision. It was later, most probably in 1474 CE, that this court was made superior to the Common Law Courts to provide “istehsan” or “equity”. Later, in Sir Edward Coke’s time, in about 1612 CE, this court was institutionalised and it continued independently of the judicial providing equity with morality. In the 19th century, the English judicial system was revamped and now consists of the Common Law Courts. Wool cloth manufacturing helped to actuate, this process leading to a rational way of valuation etc for purposes of excise and other duties. There are several technical aspects concerning the quality of woollen yarn which were beyond comprehension at that time.

Article 216 of the Interim Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (1972) laid the basis of formation of such complaint or “mazalim” courts whose jurisdiction would be independent of the judicial. With technology now moving/changing faster and faster, our judicial side encumbered with hybrid laws creates insurmountable problems to arrive at proper conclusions. Our Mughal rulers who inherited the “mazalim/complaint court” tradition, were able to rule the subcontinent for well over three centuries.

We can be quite sure technology is going to create more and more problems, particularly for undeveloped countries, this is why we are enjoined to observe nature/phenomena and then act.

The Allama was quite clear and pointed out that a mind-set which derives its genius from monarchism, and peer-dom can be of no help. Think of the countries that were well behind us, not so long ago are far ahead of us today: Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia who have up to date Standard Operating Procedures (detailed road maps).

It would be of interest to note the exact wording of Article 216:

(1) Notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained, the Federal, Legislature may by Act establish one or more Administrative Courts or Tribunals to exercise exclusive jurisdiction in respect of:

(a) matters relating to the terms and conditions of persons in the service of Pakistan, including the award of penalties and punishments;

(b) matters relating to the imposition, levy and collection of any tax, duty cess or impost;

(c) matters relating to the claims arising from tortious action of Government, any person in the service of Pakistan, any local or other authority empowered by law to levy any tax or cess and any servant of such authority acting in the discharge of his duties as such servant;

(d) matters relating to industrial and labour disputes; and

(e) matters relating to the acquisition, administration and disposal of any property which is deemed to be evacuee property or enemy property under any law.

2) Where any Administrative Court or Tribunal is established under clause (1) no other Court, including the Supreme Court and the High Courts, shall grant an injunction, make any order or entertain any proceedings in respect of any matter to which the jurisdiction of such Administrative Court or Tribunal extends.

Readers may like to recall the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) approval of Muad’s approach to the governorship of Yemen. Effective accountability is the basis of good governance. A decision is but a moment in the process. Judicial intervention is curative, whereas administrative intervention is internalised and preventive. This is process oriented. This moves in the direction of improving performance ie productivity within existing budgets which is the type development we are looking for.