Oxfam and LASOONA organize conference on improving rule of law

Staff Reporter

PESHAWAR: A provincial consultative conference was organized by Oxfam in collaboration with LASOONA - Society for Human and Natural Resource Development on improving the rule of law in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at a local hotel here on Wednesday. The conference convened the members of provincial assembly, policy makers, legislators, academia, justice providers and media to collectively reflect and review the challenges that women, minorities and marginalized communities face in accessing justice in the province.

Addressing the audience, the Special Assistant to Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Minority Affairs Wazir Zada, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion, emphasized on the significance of access to justice for marginalized groups, particularly the women and minorities. During his speech, he stressed that improving the rule of law was the utmost priority of the government, saying that the contribution of civil society in promoting the rule of law at community level was a very good development.

The Special Assistant to CM also assured the government’s support in improving the citizens access to justice system and stressed that the civil society should play a key role in the provincial government’s contribution to improve the situation of rule of law, adding that the supremacy of the constitution and maintaining law in the country was the responsibility of the government which would be fulfilled at every cost.

The conference started with a welcome note by Azam Khan, Executive Director LASOONA. In his address, he appreciated the significant contribution of justice providers who interacted with citizens at union council level and the role of Ba-Ikhtiar groups under the ARC project to improve the citizens access to justice. He further shared that the today’s discussion would contribute in paving the path for improving the supremacy of law and access to justice for marginalized groups in KP.

During the conference, a session was also arranged in which the citizen group members under the ARC Project shared their experiences and inspirational stories of working with LASOONA and Oxfam in Pakistan. Two panel discussions were held where the participants expressed their views and opinions on strengthening the situation of rule of law.

The Head of Governance and Economic Justice Pillar, Oxfam, Asma Kiran, in her closing remarks shared the importance of creating spaces like Ba-Ikhtiar groups for citizens to fully understand how they can exercise their legal rights. She also highlighted the need for a collective approach to strengthen the rule of law across the province.

The event saw participation of Prof Dr Inayat Ullah Khan, Principal Khyber Law College, University of Peshawar, Dr Riffat Sardar, Chairperson Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commission on the Status of Women, Feroz Khan, Deputy Inspector General of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police, Rakhshanda Naz, Ombudsperson KP, Amjid Ali Marwat, President Peshawar Bar Association and Wilson Wazir, Minority Member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

Here, it is to be mentioned that Oxfam in Pakistan is implementing its project, “Improved Access to Fair, Legitimate and Effective Justice in Pakistan’’ with LASOONA in Charsadda and Nowshera districts. The project focuses on citizens’ legal empowerment and strengthens confidence-building measures between the citizens and justice institutions. The residents of these two districts were also part of the conference and shared their experiences with the justice sector. During the course of the event, they presented their recommendations on improving the access to justice system.

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