Showing posts with label Law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Law. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Khawaja Naveed Advocates for strong and free institutions to root out corruption

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

Noted lawyer and a former Judge of Sindh High Court Khawaja Naveed Ahmed has called for establishment of strong and free institutions to stop corruption from the society.
“All we need is having strong and free institutions and create an environment which does not allow any one to enter into corrupt practices as is in vogue in the western society”, he asserted while delivering his keynote address at the Harvard Law School Symposium in Boston, USA.

He was invited by the most reputed school to inaugurate the symposium on the topics of transitional corruption, state-sponsored espionage, extra-judicial and target killings.

He said corruption is a world-wide phenomenon and many countries like Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Syria etc faced or are facing historical downfalls mainly on account of corruption.

He said that years long dictatorial rules in many countries allowed corruption to make deeper and deeper inroads and it was unfortunate that corruption permeated deeply into our society as well.

He recalled that after 1988, in less than 10 years, Pakistan had four elections. It was like musical chair and two main political rivals came in to power one after the other but successive governments were dismissed constitutionally, primarily on the charges of corruption.

Khawaja Naveed said there is a perception that politicians invest heavily in the election process to get elected to the assemblies and to enter into corridors of power. The major reason behind this widespread corruption in my country and in some other countries by the politicians and bureaucracy is that it is difficult to control white collar crimes, therefore, the culprits invariably get away with their corruption and safely come out of scandals without any punishment.

Hardly there was any political eminence to get punishment for his frauds or scandals during the last 64 years, he stated adding that he had no hesitation in saying that if there is a will, it is not difficult to unearth the cases of corruption and the assets held by members of the ruling elite.

He said it was successfully done by Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau during the last decade but unfortunately all corruption cases detected were closed under a law called National Reconciliation Ordinance and which has since been annulled by the Supreme Court.

Naveed said there is no denying that corruption, lawlessness and other social evils exist all over the world. Even our neighboring country India is not free from corruption though they have very strong democratic system in their country and had no Marshal Law or military intervention during the last 64 years of its existence.

Referring to Transnational corruption, he described it a very wide topic and said Transparency International in its 2009 annual report described corruption as a spiritual or moral impurity or deviation from an idea. In economy, corruption is payment for services or material which is not a right of the recipient under law. This may be called bribery, kick back, or `Baksheesh’ in the Middle East.

He said Transparency International described political corruption as an abuse by public power, office, or resources by elected government officials for personal gain, e.g. by extortion, soliciting or offering brides
This report, he pointed out, deal in detail with police corruption, systemic corruption or endemic corruption. These corruptions are due to weaknesses of an organization or process. Discretionary powers, monopolistic powers, lack of transparency, low pay, and a culture of impunity are main causes of specific acts of corruption which include bribery, extortion and embezzlement in a system where corruption becomes the rule rather than exception.
On international level, he continued, there are instances of corruption by multinational companies who develop contact with the politicians and bureaucracy of developing countries and procure big orders from their aid money or from their funds by giving kickbacks to the functionaries. This is though not permitted under international law but is still in practice and again is very difficult to detect unless regime is changed in recipient countries.
Regarding extra judicial killings by the law enforcing agencies including police, he said it has become a big problem the world over. One of the reasons for the extrajudicial killings is the incompetence or inability of prosecution agencies in prosecuting the most wanted criminals and getting them punished from the courts of law. The criminals are so powerful that it is difficult for the law enforcing agencies to arrest them and once they are arrested it is very difficult to procure evidence against them to get them convicted from the courts of law.

According to him the witnesses dare not to give evidence against hardened criminals for fear of their own life or family elimination. The desperate and hardened criminals kill the prosecution witnesses either before their appearance before the court or after they leave the court room. This serves as sufficient warning to other witnesses either not to appear in court or give statements hostile to prosecution.
He referred to a report by the Human Rights Council on extra-judicial, summary of arbitrary executions prepared by Philip Alston on 28th May 2010 and said  he has referred to the video footage which was telecast on 10th February 2010 showing police and army officers in Nigeria forcing a number of un-armed men to lie down on the ground before shooting them in the back. One of the officers could be heard asking his colleague to shoot a man in the chest rather than head, so that he can take the victims hat.
In the same report Mr. Alston also referred to an incident of raid by Brazilian police on 27th June 2007 wherein 19 people were killed with gun shots in the back and point blank shots. In another report dated 1st June 2010 he had visited the Democratic Republic of Congo from 5th to 15th October 2009 to investigate allegations of unlawful killings.

His investigations focused on political killings in Kinshasa and Bas Congo. This report is spread over 113 pages and covers extra judicial killings by armed forces, death imprisons, killing of human rights defenders and journalists, vigilantism and mob justice.

Similarly another report was prepared by a Panel of eminent Jurists on terrorism, counter terrorism and human rights questions in respect of enforced disappearances and extra judicial killings or executions from 2001 to 2006 in Indonesia, Jakarta. The report covers Bali bombing on October 12, 2002 that killed 202 people and injured more than 209 people.

In Afghanistan and in Pakistan, thousands of people have been killed during the last decade by suicide bombing by the terrorists and counter terrorism by the military and police.

Khawaja said very frequently complaints come regarding missing of persons and some times they are found in Gawantanamo camp. He said these are hard facts of life and he believe that panelists of this symposium  will hold comprehensive discussions on this topic and come out with some positive solutions and suggestions for the world to follow.

Speaking about state sponsored economic Espionage, he said over the past couple of decades there have been a grown number of scholarly reports regarding economic espionage and it has become an international challenge.

He said the theft of a country’s intellectual assets and proprietary information is a cause of concern and a threat to national security of the countries. Appreciating the seriousness of this threat US Congress passed the economic espionage Act 1996.

The Economic Espionage Act (EEA) took a traditional approach to the activity at issue by treating the misappropriation of propriety economic information as theft and criminalizing it. Congress believed that by prosecuting and sanctioning those who unlawfully appropriate proprietary information, others can be deterred from engaging in such conduct. Prosecution and punishment can contribute to preventing economic espionage.

The challenge of protecting intellectual and proprietary assets has been made more difficult by the arrival of the information age and the internet. Information has become a marketable commodity with an inherent value and intrinsic self-worth.

The fact that technological progress has evolved to the point where information is stored on networks, many of which are linked together by the interest, has changed the framework relating to information protection and the legal boundaries that traditionally served to constrain the dissemination of sensitive data to non authorized users.

On the occasion Khawaja Naveed narrated some of his experiences as Judge of the High Court of Sindh and threw light on the judicial system in Pakistan.

He said from his experiences he learnt that if people are trusted and dispensed justice they will love you, will never forget you and will not allow you to be let down. 

“This is my message for today. Get justice for everyone, trust people, and love them. In return, they will give you love beyond your expectation”.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Khawaja Naveed to be keynote speaker at Harvard Law School symposium

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

Renowned lawyer and a former Judge of the High Court of Sindh, Khawaja Naveed Ahmed has been invited by the Harvard Law School, USA, for participation in the Harvard ILJ Symposium which opens on February 20. He has been honored by the Harvard Law School to open the symposium and deliver keynote address. 

The topics of Khawaja's keynote address will be transnational corruption, state-sponsored economic espionage, extra-judicial killings and target killings. He flew out of Karachi for Boston, USA, on February 18. 

The symposium will be spanned over three sessions in which the invited panelists would discuss this year's topic of State Ethics: Controlling The Behavior of Governments and Their Partners.

Khawaja Naveed Ahmed is a practicing lawyer of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and has 37 years standing at Bar. He has held the offices of Advocate General Sindh, Pakistan, and has served as the Judge of the Sindh High Court of Pakistan. Ahmed is a human rights activist and had been Chairman of the Legal Aid and Human Rights Committee of Sindh Bar Council, Pakistan, for five years. 

He also had been elected as the Senior Vice President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan. Presently, Ahmed is member of the Managing Committee of Red Crescent (Hilal-e-Ahmer). 

Khawja also writes columns as a political analyst and frequently participates in talk shows on popular T.V. Channels. He also hosts a mock trial legal education show on one of the prominent T.V. Channels. The program is very popular amongst communities in Pakistan, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Canada.

Other panelist Christof Heyns holds the degrees MA LLB University of Pretoria; LLM Yale Law School; and PhD University of the Witwatersrand. He is Professor of Human Rights Law and Co-director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at the University of Pretoria. 

Jeffrey Laurenti is senior fellow at The Century Foundation on international affairs. He has served as director for TCF’s international task force on Afghanistan in its regional and multilateral dimensions and as co-director of TCF’s peace and security initiative with the Center for American Progress. 

James Ross is Legal and Policy Director at Human Rights Watch, where he has worked since 2001. He previously worked in the Humanitarian Affairs office of Médecins sans Frontières in the Netherlands, in Bosnia for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in Cambodia for the International Human Rights Law Group, and in the Philippines for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. 

The Symposium moderator Gabriella Blum will be Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School.