ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali yesterday said the country is in grip of terrorism and regretted that some political parties too are supporting terror elements for their vested interests.

Often foreign elements were found involved in the terrorist acts taking place in the country but the regrettable part was that these anti-state elements also get the internal support to perpetrate their nefarious acts.

Addressing a ceremony to mark beginning of New Judicial Year (2016-17), the CJP said all the state institutions, in view of the changing socio-economic situation, need to work in harmony and with mutual consent to face the emerging challenges.

The rule of law and supremacy of constitution is not possible in a country where justice delivery system is ineffective and people don’t have access to justice. He said it is duty of state to ensure that people get expeditious and inexpensive justice, adding, in this regard the judiciary being vital organ of the state could not abdicate its responsibilities.

Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf, Supreme Court Bar Association President Barrister Ali Zafar and Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Senator Dr Farogh Naseem also spoke during the ceremony held in Courtroom No 1 of the apex court.

The chief justice said the functions and domain of all institution are clearly defined in the Constitution. It is the duty of all institutions to perform their functions within prescribed domain, this way good governance could be established in the country, he added.

He said Quaid-e-Azam never wanted that Pakistan be a secular state, but a country where people having different religions enjoy equal rights and the state in light of Quran and Sunnah safeguard the non-Muslims. In accordance with the Quaid’s vision, complete religious freedom has been guaranteed in the Constitution under Articles 2A and 20.

The CJP observed that intolerance has penetrated in every strata of society and the nation is divided on the basis of cast, colour, and creed. The division on the basis of religion is matter of great concern, as it has destroyed peace and promoted terrorism in the society. It was the duty of all citizens to promote tolerance and harmony in order to eradicate intolerance from the society.

He said the lawyer community and judiciary is also facing terrorism. The terrorists are hitting them by bombings at courts, like in Quetta and Mardan, and targeting individuals – as was also seen in the case of kidnapping of Sindh High Court chief justice’s son. “We should condemn these acts,” he said.

After the ceremony was over, the CJP talked to the media and said: “I am not that sort of player who comes out of the crease to play big shoot, but I am the player who plays long innings. I am not the player of T-20 match, but of the test-match. In 1969 I have played in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.”

The attorney general in his remarks said it is time to establish mechanism of institutional dialogue, to bring about the sort of exchange of ideas that can transform justice system. He regretted that there is no great conversation; no concept of a meaningful dialogue between the three great pillars of state.

“We need to know that a free exchange of ideas can never compromise the independence or separation of state institutions – rather, through it the institutions can develop a greater understanding of themselves and of each other,” the AGP said.