Jurists can help foster peace between India, Pak: Iftikhar Chaudhry

India and Pakistan have been unable to maintain normal neighbourly relations since their inception, Pakistan`s Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has said.

Islamabad: India and Pakistan have been unable to maintain normal neighbourly relations since their inception and jurists from both sides can help foster peaceful interaction that leads to "real time trust and harmony", Pakistan`s Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has said.

Many issues have "dogged" the India-Pakistan relationship but "there is no issue in the world which cannot be resolved through peaceful negotiation", Chaudhry said during an interaction yesterday with a visiting delegation of over a hundred Indian lawyers.

"Unfortunately, both India and Pakistan have not been able to maintain normal neighborly relations since their inception...Jurists, being the most law-knowing and mature people, can play their role in not only creating the environment for peaceful interaction between the two neighbours but also ensuring that such interaction is translated into real time trust and harmony," the Chief Justice said.

The judiciary in both countries have a "common cultural, social and colonial background, draw inspiration from the same source of jurisprudence and follow the democratic principles of rule of law and supremacy of the constitution", he remarked.

"Given the peculiar evolution of democratic institutions in our two countries, we can learn from each other`s jurisprudence.

"The Supreme Court of India has rendered unprecedented benchmark judgments in the field of public interest litigation," said Chaudhry, who has been using the court`s suo motu powers for a drive against corruption that has been criticised by some legal experts.

Interaction between the jurists of India and Pakistan "will go a long way in understanding each other better and demystifying a lingering sense of mistrust and apathy towards each other", Chaudhry said.

The visiting delegation is led by Adish Agarwala, chairman of the All India Bar Association.

Agarwala is also president of the International Council of Jurists that presented its International Jurists Award to Chaudhry earlier this year.

Chaudhry lauded the All India Bar Association for "playing a key role for upholding the rule of law and constitutionalism".

He highlighted the role of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan in mobilising lawyers for the cause of constitutionalism.

Addressing a news conference in the National Press Club, members of the Indian delegation called for fresh efforts to resolve disputes between India and Pakistan, including the issue of Kashmir, to ensure prosperity of the people of both countries.

The Indian delegation urged members of the Supreme Court and Islamabad High Court Bar Associations to help build an enabling environment to resolve bilateral disputes.

Agarwala said the delegation had discussed several proposals with Pakistani lawyers, including a proposal to declare the Line of Control a permanent international border.


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