Prime Minister Islamic Republic
20 November, 1994
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a matter of great honour for me to be
present on this historic occasion of the
foundation stone laying ceremony of Sindh High
Court's Larkana Bench.
The structure of this Bench will be built brick
by brick and stone by stone, after arduous
efforts just as the edifice of justice is
constructed in the soil of faith with the
efforts of the fraternity who are the guarantors
of our liberties.
Turning back the leaves of our history, I see a
great lawyer, whose lean structure belied his
unshakable strength, armed with the corpus of
He led the movement for Pakistan's birth which
was essentially legal and constitutional.
His absolute faith in the supremacy of law was
amply rewarded with the birth of Pakistan.
Such was the founder of our great nation.
Nostalgia compels me to retreat to another
shining moment of our past.
I see another great man of law who cherishes the
dream of Quaid- e-Azam's Pakistan, who speaks of
the seemingly endless poverty of his
compatriots, who resolves to defy and defeat the
forces of darkness.
Yes, I refer to the son of this very soil where
we all gather today to lay the foundation of yet
another beacon of hope and justice.
I am proud to claim the legacy of such great
pioneers, the creators and builders of this
homeland of ours.
It is a tribute to the wisdom of the founding
ours. Constitution that friends
and foes alike seek its shelter of comfort. It
is an oasis for the rich and the poor alike.
The people of Pakistan do not take liberty for
granted. They cannot afford to. They have been
denied this inherent right during many dark
years of tyranny. Today the remnants of tyrants
have been compelled to disown the legacy of
tyranny to try on the garb of democracy, attire
they seem unfit for.
Having been a witness as well as victim of the
most brutal dictatorship of our history, it
gives me immense pleasure to say that the return
of a truly representative government vindicates
the sacrifices of all those who spearheaded the
struggle for the restoration of democracy.
While that dictatorship was the darkest night of
our history, struggle for democracy was our
'finest hour'. I take this opportunity to once
again salute those members of the legal
fraternity who defied all the odds and
re-kindled the flame of liberty at the very
moment when it was sought to be extinguished.
This nation is indebted forever for your
We have so far reached half-way to the Promised
Land. Having successfully dismantled
totalitarianism now is the moment to rebuild our
society which was torn apart by the forces of
fanaticism. Your contribution will be as much
desirable and worthy in building this nation as
it was in dismantling the dictatorship.
In my perception, law and morality are
interchangeable. If there is gap between
existing legal provisions and norms of morality,
we must make efforts to bridge that gap.
Laws owe their legitimacy not to the will of the
omnipotent sovereign but to the acceptability of
the populace. I share Dworkin's view that "the
government will not re-establish respect for law
without giving the law some claim to respect".
It gives me enormous pride to observe that once
again we have a truly independent judiciary
which jealously safeguards the liberties and
rights of our citizens.
It is the rule of law which gives meaning and
content to fundamental rights and liberties. The
concept of justice, liberty and equality was
first enunciated by Islam.
The Constitution of Pakistan which is based on
the tenets of Islam provides that "to enjoy the
protection of law and to be treated in
accordance with law is the inalienable right of
However, I am compelled to say that we still
have a long way to go. Our society is still
laden with class structure where human life is
measured not by an individual's worth but by his
ancestral links and his social position which
may be totally unrelated to his merits.
The gap between affluence and poverty is far too
wide to accord us reason for comfort.
There is need to eradicate inequalities in
different groups in our society. The existing
inequalities in these groups cry for a new
equilibrium so that a more balanced social
structure can replace the discredited strata.
Law may derive its paternity from antiquity but
it must not enslave itself to the dead hand of
Law cannot change everything but it must change
what it can.
must not be regarded by law as a state
sanctified by nature.
We live in a global village of instant
communication and only an enlightened citizenry
can actively participate in its affairs.
Our laws must, therefore, cater for the needs of
tomorrow. As a great English lawyer Lord Kilmuir
said, "A law is not to be compared to a
venerable antique, to be taken down, dusted,
admired and put back on the shelf. Rather, it is
like an old and vigorous tree, firmly rooted in
history, but still putting out new shoots,
taking new grafts and from time to time dropping
dead wood. Law is not an end in itself. It is a
means whereby the state can develop and regulate
in an orderly and just manner the social system
which it desires."
The rule of law derives its augustness and its
powers from its mission to lift human beings to
its own nobility.
When the rule of law breaks down, the judiciary
must also share the responsibility. Unless the
judiciary puts criminals behind bars, criminals
will hold our people hostage.
It is no use blaming the police. They catch the
villains. But it is the job of the judiciary to
punish the villains.
Many law enforcing officials have been killed by
gangsters on bail. The case of Major
Sa i is o«e recent example.
The frustration of our people at the inability
of courts to give deterrent punishment is rising
i here are calls for imposing
Article 247. The courts must defend their rights
by meeting the expectations of the people. As
far as Customs and Banking Tribunals are
concerned their rate of return is also low. We
all need to improve our performance. We as a
Government are determined to do so. We have
uncovered the yellow taxi scam, the Hudaibiyah
Engineering fraud involving one billion rupees
and arrested corrupt officials owning several
palatial homes which they could not explain
aside from the Banking case where crores went to
rig the Election of 1990.
The essence of democracy lies in its plurality.
We wish to leave a legacy of strong and stable
democratic institutions. We encourage the
opposition to actively participate in nourishing
this culture. At the same time, we cannot permit
any one to destroy these institutions. Once upon
a time the command of a dictator was the law of
That era is past.
The rule of law and its supremacy cannot be
challenged through thuggery and violence. It
shall be protected by all lawful means. No
democrat can seek to physically assault the
elected President and Prime Minister of the
land. Those who seek to do so are the enemies of
democracy and the nation. Violence, thuggery,
hooliganism will be met with the iron hands of
law. We are always willing to resolve political
differences through dialogue but the sanctity of
democratic institutions is not up for
concessions. No one, however powerful or wealthy
or well-connected he may be is above the law.
Any attempt to claim immunity from the processes
of law by any quarter is doomed to frustration.
Anyone found guilty must be prepared to face the
consequences as prescribed by the law. We shall
neither be deterred nor harassed to make
concessions on this. Our humility and
magnanimity must not be mistaken for weakness.
We are resolute in our determination to uphold
the supremacy of law.
The Bar too has a vital role to play in
strengthening the democratic institutions and
protection of liberties of the people and
thereby ensuring the rule of law. It is also the
breeding ground for many a great legal jurists.
It reminds me of America's Justice Abe Forta's
warning that 'good men make poor law work
better. Poor men will wreak havoc with good
laws.' I take comfort in saying that we have
quite a few good men.
The Bar is, therefore, an important force in our
social fabric. The sensitivity of its position
makes it imperative that its deliberations be
marked by a sense of discerning objectivity. We
expect lawyers to remain true to the call and
conscience of main profession. To enhance the
dignity of the judiciary, not scale its
contempt. We expect lawyers to think of their
clientele, the people of Pakistan, and what is
for their convenience.
So far as your problems are concerned, I fully
appreciate the limitations within which you find
yourself compelled to operate. Since most of
them are concerned with the Provincial
Government, I would recommend the Chief Minister
of Sindh to give a sympathetic consideration to
your demands and try to solve your problems.
Today is a great day for us all. The
Awami Government has fulfilled its
pledge to the people of Pakistan in requesting
the Chief Justice to have a High Court Bench in
the shadow of Moenjodaro in the heart of the
Indus Valley Civilization.
Despite financial constraints, the Federal
Government made a generous contribution to
enable this High Court Building to be
constructed. Larkana District and Division is
marked with many milestones. I am here this mort
ling to continue the traditions set by my
grandfather, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto and my father
Quaid-e-Awam Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to serve our
people, particularly the weak, the dispossessed
and the discriminated.
For generations our voice has been the voice of
the downtrodden in keeping with Islamic
traditions and values.
Values and traditions which teach us to strive
for equality, to eradicate poverty, to fight for
justice, to uphold the truth and uphold the law,
to bring a smile to those who have known misery,
to bring hope to the youth, without hope, to
bring dignity to our mothers and daughters and
to fight relentlessly, without fear, for our
convictions, even at the cost of our life.
The Pakistan People's Party to which I proudly
belong believes in freedom-Freedom of a people.
Freedom of the press. Freedom of expression,
Freedom of movement, Freedom to associate.
The most wonderful word in the world is freedom.
Without freedom there cannot be progress or
Freedom is the key to our salvation.
Freedom will bring economic progress,
electricity to our villages, gas to our homes,
and water to our children.
Freedom is the station from where we start our
journey to economic deliverance.
No journey is easy. but no goal unattainable for
those who have the will and the vision, the
determination and the strength to face all
obstacles and overcome them.