ISLAMABAD -  Rule of law is fundamental for the economic, political and social development , said Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

He said this while addressing a gathering at Courtroom No 1 that was held to bid farewell to Justice Amir Hani Muslim, who will lay down his robe today.

“The rule of law is not limited to the protection of individuals’ rights and resolution of disputes in accordance with the law but also includes an independent and effective judiciary, safeguard against abuse of power and a law-abiding government,” he said.

The chief justice said that the goal of an egalitarian society cannot be achieved without establishing the rule of law within government institutions. “This can be achieved through elimination of corruption, nepotism and discrimination within institutions and strict adherence to the constitution and law,” he said.

Justice Nisar mentioned that “the fundamental rights are so sacred that Article 8 of the Constitution provides that any law or any custom or usage having the force of law, to the extent of inconsistency with the fundamental rights is void and the state was precluded from making any law which takes away or abridges such rights”.

The chief justice said that in Ali Azhar Khan Baloch’s case Justice Hani stated that under Article 184(3) of the Constitution the apex court has been bestowed with the power to enforce fundamental rights.

He said that the top court has jurisdiction under Article 184 (3) to pass appropriate orders in spite of the fact that there may be an alternate remedy. “Once the apex court exercises its jurisdiction under the Article and decides that there is indeed a question of public importance that pertains to the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights, then its decision is final and no party including the government can object to it,” the chief justice said.

He said the instances of discrimination and favouritism within governmental institutions has resulted in a violation of fundamental rights of employees. This is the main reason for the absence of good governance which weakens the state institutions.

He said that Justice Hani was the flag bearer in the struggle for the elimination of corruption, nepotism and discrimination from the institution and he had delivered a number of judgments in this regard. “Justice Hani’s judgment in the Ghulam Fareed’s case upholds the rights of meritorious civil servants and decried the blockage of promotion of deserving officers by appointments on ‘own pay and scale’ basis to a higher grade which is a practice that must be discouraged”.

“In the case regarding absorption of persons appointed on deputation or through transfer against the cadre posts due to which the civil servants appointed on merit had lost their right to be considered for promotion,” Justice Hani said while mentioning the damaging effects of absorption and how it contradicts the framework of the provincial civil structure as envisaged by the constitution and the law as it creates a parallel system which is unfortunately based on discrimination and favouritism.

Justice Hani also gave judgment on out of turn promotions, which ‘a vehicle of accelerated progression for a large number of favourite officers using various measures and means.’

Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali, Vice Chairman Pakistan Bar Council Muhammad Ahsan Bhoon and Supreme Court Bar Association President Rasheed A Rizvi also spoke on the occasion. Justice Hani thanked the apex court judges and the staff in helping him deliver his responsibilities.