Protection of Human Rights and provision of justice to all the segments of society rank high among the priorities of present government and necessary amendments in the laws have been drafted within first six months of the new regime, which are ready to be tabled for parliamentary approval, stated Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Ms. Maleeka Ali Bokhari while talking to media during her two days’ official visit to Brussels.

Ms. Bokhari held meetings with several members of European Parliament and high officials of European Institutions including Vice President of European Parliament MEP Mr. Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Chair of South Asia Delegation MEP Ms. Jean Lambert, Special Envoy of EU International Cooperation and Development for Freedom of Religion or Beliefs Mr. Jan Figel, Member Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs MEP Alex Mayer, Member Committee on Employment and Social Affairs MEP Sion Simon, Member Committee on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Human Rights MEP Mr. Wajid Khan, Member Committee on Legal Affairs MEP Mr. Sajjad Karim and Member Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and Subcommittee on Human Rights MEP Baroness Nosheena Mobarik.

During these high level meetings the parliamentary secretary briefed European Parliamentarians and officials about the policies of present government to improve dispensation of justice to all and the weaker segments of society in particular. She discussed in detail various efforts aimed at bringing reforms in the legal system of Pakistan for ensuring speedy dispensation of justice.

In view of tensions between India and Pakistan Ms. Bokhari briefed the European parliamentarians and officials about Pakistan’s policy of peaceful co-existence. She said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has categorically stated that Pakistan wants peace with India and had asked for evidence from India in the context of Indian allegations regarding Pulwama incident.

Ms. Bokhari also attended sessions of 7th World Congress on Death Penalty. This was for the first time that a representative of Government of Pakistan participated in the congress. Ms. Maleeka Bokhari explained that death penalty could not be abolished from Pakistan due to complex situation of terrorism that affected innocent people of the country and resulted in the loss of 70,000 lives. She said deterrence to terrorists was important to keep the innocent

citizens safe. However lacunas in the justice system were being addressed to avoid wrong implications of innocent people particularly children and women, she added.

The Parliamentary Secretary informed that various bills have been drafted in this regard. The Legal Aid Authority Bill aims at ensuring legal assistance to everyone because at times people suffer due to non- availability of legal assistance. Similarly, Action Plan for Women includes improving conditions of women in prisons. She further informed that government was cognizant of the fact many innocent women were involved in crimes such as drug paddling due to lack of information about the tactics of criminals. She said that plugging of lacunas in the justice system was an important factor and the present government was working with full commitment to improve justice system in the best possible way.