ISLAMABAD – The European Union and its partners launched a EUR20 million programme that aims to promote the rule of law and enhance the criminal justice system in Pakistan, with a specific focus on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
The launch event was held in a socially distanced setting, with many participants and key stakeholders attending virtually.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed was the chief guest on the occasion, along with EU Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara and representatives of the three UN Agencies.
Jointly implemented by UNDP, UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and UNODC, the programme, that will span from 2021 till 2025, aims to support reform processes to ensure delivery of people-centred justice, enhance access to justice for all, particularly women and less privileged/marginalized groups; and improve service delivery of the security sector in line with constitutional safeguards and international standards. The project will provide technical assistance to legal reforms and the rule of law roadmaps in KP and Balochistan.
Under this programme, special focus will be set on access to justice through free legal aid and alternative dispute resolution, as well as legal literacy for citizens. On the institutional side, the project will assist in upgrading facilities and processes to enhance citizen friendly service delivery.
On the occasion, Chief Justice Justice Gulzar Ahmed thanked the EU and UN agencies for their support and expressed his confidence in the programme. “The government of Pakistan will extend all its support to the programme, enabling it to achieve its goal.”
EU Ambassador to Pakistan Ms. Androulla Kaminara appreciated the UN agencies, provincial and federal government, and other important stakeholders for their support in strengthening the rule of law in Pakistan.
She said, “The programme builds on the long-term commitment of the EU to improving the rule of law and access to justice for all in Pakistan. The new program is part of the priorities of the EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan 2019 and financed under the EU Multi-Annual Indicative Program 2014-2020.”
KP Finance MinisterTaimur Saleem Khan Jhagra expressed the KP government’s appreciation for the programme, calling it a significant opportunity to address the various challenges faced by the province in securing citizen rights and access to justice.
UNDP Resident Representative Knut Ostby congratulated the judiciary of Pakistan under the banner of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which has been showing dedication and commitment to ensure timely, inexpensive, and quality justice services to the people.