United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) inaugurated the Strengthening Rule of Law in Malakand (SRLM) Project here on Thursday. The project is a collaborative initiative of UNDP and the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (GoPK). The SRLM project will also partner with United Nations Office on Drug and Crimes (UNODC) to further strengthen the project implementation with a one UN approach. The inauguration will be followed by a two day workshop on the implementation and operationalization of the project.
Present at the inauguration ceremony were Mr. Rahim Dad Khan, Senior Minister Planning and Development GoKP, Mr. Atta Ullah Khan, Additional Chief Secretary GoKP, Mr. Berend De Groot Counselor and Head of Operations European Union Delegation to Pakistan, Mr. Azhar Saeed Malik Assistant Country Director UNDP and Mr. Salim Khan, Secretary Planning and Development GoKP.
The key note address was delivered by Mr. Atta Ullah Khan who stressed the need for a greater involvement of the people in order to identify and bridge the gaps in the existing justice system. “Not only the law enforcing agencies, judiciary, prosecution and bar associations need to be consulted, but the views of the common man should also be taken into account”, he said. He went on the praise the project for its integration of both formal and informal justice mechanisms.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Guest Mr. Rahim Dad Khan stated “Malakand needs special attention from the Government, the donor community and UN agencies to enhance confidence and trust among local communities in rule of law institutions and the justice system. I am hopeful that UNDP, through the SRLM project, will strengthen both formal and informal justice mechanisms to provide the people of Malakand with improved access to a strengthened justice system”
Mr. Mr. Azhar Saeed Malik appreciated the contribution and active engagement of the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary, Secretary Planning and Development. “UNDP has worked extensively to support democratic development and the promotion and protection of rule of law in Pakistan. The Project is committed to complementing the Government’s efforts to establish writ of the state and address related gaps in the justice sector”, he said.
The SRLM project draws on UNDP’s vast global experience in supporting rule of law and justice sector programmes. The project has been designed for three years with a total cost of USD 15 million. SRLM will geographically focus on seven districts of Malakand Division including Swat, Malakand, Dir Lower, Dir Upper, Buner, Shangla and Chitral.
Project interventions related to judiciary, police, prosecution, alternate dispute resolution, access to justice and free legal aid will be undertaken in close collaboration with relevant agencies at district levels under the guidance and strategic direction of Peshawar High Court, Home, P&D, Local Government, Law, Police and Prosecution Departments. The Project will also involve bar associations, NGOs and communities in implementation.
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