Freedom of Expression Vs Administration of Justice

The Panama Case has been covered by almost all renowned newspapers and TV channels. Ever since this case is pending, the newspapers and TV channels have been extensively covering the case in an opinionated manner. Recently a specific news item appeared in a newspaper where News reporter claimed that Joint Investigation Team has not found Prime Minister guilty but his two sons. The News item has gone on to state its opinion on various issues, which were pending before the Court. On the basis of undisclosed source, the news reporter rendered his own findings on the contents of JIT Report and printed his observations on the basis of his objective assessment. Since the nature of news was such which could possibly be termed as an attempt to influence the administration of justice, the Supreme Court has issued contempt notice to the Publisher as well as the Editor of the newspaper.

Under Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, the Media and every citizen have the right to freedom of speech and expression, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, commission of or incitement to an offence. As the plain reading of the Article suggests any person including Journalists and the Press would not have any unfettered right under the garb of freedom of speech to even flout the mandate of law. There has to be some constrains and the restrains on the aspect of manner in covering the court proceedings and where such publication interferes with the administration of justice, then certainly court can take some effective measures, including the proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act.Continue reading

Insight to public procurement in Pakistan

A bird’s eye view from the lawyer’s side

Public procurement refers to the purchase by governments and state-owned enterprises of goods, services and works. As public procurement accounts for a substantial portion of the taxpayers’ money, governments are expected to carry it out efficiently and with high standards of conduct in order to ensure high quality of service delivery and safeguard the public interest. The size of public procurement is quite considerable in every country worldwide. It accounts for a significant proportion of the demand for goods and services in the nation and is increasingly considered as an attractive instrument for developing society and nation. As a matter of fact, public procurement has come to play a major role in making society better, and thus, there has been much research in public purchasing and its efficient operations.

Pakistan decided to establish Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) at the federal level, under the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority Ordinance 2002 followed by promulgation of Public Procurement Rules in 2004. The PPRA is an autonomous body endowed with the responsibility of recommending laws and regulations governing public procurements. It is also responsible for monitoring the application of procurement laws and performance of federal procuring agencies with a view to improve governance, management, transparency. The Provincial Governments have independent Acts and Rules of Public Procurement for provincially owned entities.Continue reading

But not a drop to drink

Legal aspect of ground water use by industries

Human activities can pollute groundwater, and this is where every person can help protect groundwater — both in terms of groundwater quality and quantity. There are two fundamental categories of groundwater protection: First, keeping it safe from contamination, and secondly using it wisely by not wasting it.

We all know the importance of water for the people, businesses, wild life and natural lands, all need adequate water there. Therefore it is the responsibility of Government to take sustainable measures and provide for a comprehensive water policy guidelines to ensure provision of clean water to masses.Continue reading

Private participation in power distribution

Not all is well in the world of Pakistani DISCOs

High distribution losses, less subsidy, low revenue collection, and lower applicable tariffs are considered among the main issues of Distribution Companies (DISCOs) in Pakistan. These issues are affecting cash flow of distribution companies, limiting their ability to settle their power purchase liability towards the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA). Here is the “trigger-point” of what is commonly known as “Circular Debt”. Circular Debt accrues when DISCOs fail to discharge their obligations to CPPA, the CPPA don’t pay the Independent Power Producers (IPPs), and the IPPs, in turn, cannot pay the fuel supplier – this chain of events ultimately results in increased load-shedding.

Despite the Government’s numerous efforts to curb the pilferage of electricity, the combined losses of the ten DISCOs are continuously increasing. T&D losses and theft of electricity are the main reasons of shortfall of revenue of the DISCOs. Due to the increase in demand for power generation, new power plants are added to the system. The DISCOs are responsible to deliver the power purchased from National Grid Company to the end consumers. When extra electricity units are injected in the system – percentage of T&D losses of DISCOs being stagnant – it results in the loss of more revenue for the DISCO. It is similar to a hole in the bucket: the more water you pour in, the more it will leak. In the near future it is expected that more than 7000 MWs of power will be added in the system. Considering the current state of affairs of T&D losses and pilferage, a logical result would be that the amount of circular debt will increase – at least in proportion to the percentage of increase in electricity production. Thus to evacuate the extra generation of electricity, the distribution network of the DISCOs needs to be upgraded to facilitate the system’s functioning. Similarly, if T&D losses and thefts are not controlled circular debt will continue to haunt the power sector as the Government will be required to introduce further subsidisation to run the sector.Continue reading

Know your fundamental rights

Let’s stop beating about the bush, shall we?

Now-a-days, we often come across the terms like ‘right to education’, ‘right to information’ and ‘right to protest peacefully’. Often, one feels that he has certain rights. Simultaneously, we may be told by someone, that we have certain duties towards other individuals, society, nation or the humanity. But does every human being enjoy the rights or everyone performs the duties? The answer to this perhaps is not. But most of us will agree that there are certain rights that must be enjoyed by individuals. Particularly, in a country like ours, there are rights that must be guaranteed to every citizen. For instance, if one has a right to life, it means that others do not have the authority to hurt him or her.

Thus, a right comes with an obligation to show respect for the rights of others. The obligations that accompany rights are in the form of duties. If we have the right to enjoy public facilities like transport or health services, it becomes our duty to allow others to avail the same. If we have the right to freedom, it becomes our duty not to misuse this and harm others.Continue reading

Route to competition in power market

An analysis of NEPRA Competitive Bidding Tariff (Approval Procedure) Regulations, 2016

In its endeavour to bring competition in the power market, NEPRA introduced Competitive Bidding Tariff (Approval Procedure) Regulations, 2014. After two years, the Regulator has decided to replace the existing Regulations by introducing few amendments for determination of generation and transmission tariff of electricity and has proposed NEPRA Competitive Bidding Tariff (Approval Procedure) Regulations, 2016 (“the Regulations”).

The power market in Pakistan is required to evolve to a new structure. Today’s wholesale power procurement model is based on Single Buyer Model where National Grid Company (NTDC) and Distribution Companies are mandated to procure power from generation companies. Primarily the power is procured through long term contracts by following Cost Plus tariff settings with limited incentives for generators to improve efficiency.Continue reading

Freedom vs Administration

Raising a nation

Teaching school children about human rights is now a necessity

It is universally accepted that education is considered as a precondition for a healthy democratic society. It is thus important that education includes the study of peace, human rights, and democracy as essential to society’s development. In a country such as Pakistan, violations of human rights at all levels necessitate human rights education at all school levels in general and teacher education in particular.

Human rights education is defined as training, dissemination, and information efforts aimed at building a universal culture of human rights by imparting knowledge and skills, and moulding attitudes. Theeducation is the most important tool for spreading fundamental/ human rights awareness.  In Pakistan, free and compulsory education itself has become one of the fundamental rights of children of the age of five to sixteen after introduction of new Article 25-A added in Part II, Chapter 1 of the Constitution through the 18th amendment.Continue reading