Helpdesk Research Report: Initiatives to strengthen rule of law in Sindh


Initiatives to strengthen rule of law in Sindh: Please provide evidence of local, national or international initiatives to strengthen rule of law in Pakistan, with a focus on initiatives in Sindh. What lessons can be learnt from the literature on these initiatives, with a focus on factors contributing to success?

Helpdesk response

Key findings: As in the rest of Pakistan, there are number of concerns relating to rule of law in Sindh that include:

  • Difficulties accessing justice for the poor (Qaiserani, 2011, p. 1);
  • lack of budget allocations for bodies such as the Sindh Human Rights Commission which prevent it from functioning (Zia, 2014, p. 2);
  • dissatisfaction with the police; 39 per cent of Sindh respondents to an evaluation of legal empowerment of the poor were unhappy (Khan et al, 2012, p. x). They cited corruption, inappropriate or biased behaviour as key issues (Khan et al, 2012, p. x-xi). Other concerns with the police include that they are poorly managed, ill-equipped, poorly trained, and deeply politicised (Jamal, 2010, p. 58; Abbas, 2011, p. 7).
  • an overwhelmed judiciary (43 per cent of cases in Sindh took at least 5 to more than 10 years to resolve) (Khan et al, 2012, p. xi).
  • rights violations and violence against women and girls (Repila, 2013).

As a result, initiatives to strengthen rule of law in Sindh include: free legal aid services for the poor and marginalised, including women and youth in prisons; awareness raising and legal empowerment for the poor projects; attempts to modernise the Sindh police and Citizen Police Liaison Committees to improve relations between the public and the police; Alternate Dispute Resolution projects; trainings to strengthen knowledge of human rights, the rule of law and conflict-sensitivity in Sindh’s security and justice sectors; and the introduction of legislation to protect women’s rights.

The report also outlines a small number of lessons emerging from the literature in relation to factors contributing to success.

Full response: