National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Institute of Policy Studies (NIPS) organized the keynote talk by Dr Shoaib Suddle on the “Building Blocks of National Growth and Prosperity: Rule of Law and Accountability” this week.

A distinguished and highly decorated former civil servant, Dr Suddle, currently Chairman of the One-Man Commission for Minority Rights constituted by the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan, stated that swift, impartial delivery of justice and the uncompromising rule of law were two fundamental pillars of functional and thriving states and societies. He highlighted the timeless significance and relevance of the rule of law and justice in the context of the Quranic guidance and the ideology of Pakistan’s Founding Fathers.

Dr Suddle pointed out that public servants must be competent, ethical, independent, neutral, and sufficient in number, and must have ample resources to serve the public honestly and efficiently. He highlighted that legislative, judicial, auditing and review, and public constraints on government powers ensured proper functioning through timely accountability.

The eminent speaker maintained that all the organs of the state, including, legislature, executive and judiciary, were responsible for upholding the rule of law. He further stressed that open government was contingent upon the universality of this responsibility. He underscored that only a state characterized by openness resting on the rule of law could guarantee the fundamental rights and security of the citizens.

The veteran public servant cautioned that societies warped by the generational diffusion of corruption, especially in the dispensation of civil and criminal justice systems, were vulnerable to instability, anarchy, and polarization.

Dr Suddle further stressed that corruption was the biggest enemy of equal opportunity, and perhaps the biggest factor in the erosion of public trust in the institutions of the state, without which rewards, obligations, and sanctions could not be enforced in the state, economy, and society. He cautioned that the very survival of the state demands that public officials act in good faith and eschew bad faith in the lawful exercise of authority.

Moderated by Director NIPS Amir Yaqub and attended by veteran statesmen, think tank experts, legal experts, seasoned analysts, researchers, and students, the address was held as part of NIPS Lecture Series – 2023.

The interactive discussion following the keynote called for a series of urgent measures such as judicial reforms; civil service, especially police, reforms; non-discriminatory accountability; and constitutional precedence and observance as cast-iron anchors for socioeconomic stability of the state, national growth, and comprehensive development.

In his closing remarks, Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, Principal, NUST School of Social Sciences and Humanities (S3H) and Director General NIPS, thanked the keynote speaker and the participants for their constructive, concrete, and relevant interventions.

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