Aqua vitoe-water of life
Why are we, 220 Million (Minus One) Pakistanis unaware or unwilling to act in favour of our Divine Inheritance?
By Anthony Williams
Black’s Law Dictionary (Ninth Edition) defines publici juris, adj. [Latin] Of public right; of importance to or available to the public <a city holds title to its streets as property publici juris>, public interest. (16c) 1. The general welfare of the public that warrants recognition and protection. 2. Some-thing in which the public as a whole has a stake; esp., an interest that justifies government regulation and public-interest law. Legal practice that advances social justice or other causes for the public good, such as environmental protection. The purpose of this article is to ask the fundamental question, “Why are we, 220 Million (Minus One) Pakistanis unaware or unwilling to act in favour of our Divine Inheritance?”
The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), was a Bronze Age civilisation (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE, mainly in the northwestern regions of South Asia, extending from what today is northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. Along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, it was one of three early cradles of civilisations of the Old World, and of the three, the most widespread]. Let’s see how myth becomes reality in Pakistan. Hamid Khan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan writes in his preamble to the book: The Great Lawyer – 106 Reported Cases of Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, compiled by Zaheer Ahmad Meer, Constitutional and Corporate Lawyer “It’s commonly perceived by the legal circles of Pakistan that Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal was not a serious lawyer and was devoted and committed exclusively to poetry, philosophy and sufism. It’s also commonly believed that he used to visit the bar premises of Lahore High Court Bar Association for spending time with his lawyer friends and to discuss politics, philosophy and literature.
This perception also gained currency due to widely believed story that Chief Justice Shadi Lal (who served as Chief Justice of Lahore High Court from 1920 to 1934) had declined elevation to Allama sahib as judge of Lahore High Court because he thought that Allama sahib was not a regular practicing lawyer before his court; reflected by his taunting but now historic remark “we know Iqbal as a poet”. Hamid Khan continues to write that “It’s said that perception is stronger than reality and the lawyers and people of Pakistan have mistakenly believed that although Allama sahib was a great poet, philosopher and Islamic scholar, yet he was not a great lawyer or jurist. Mr. Zaheer Ahmad Meer, a senior lawyer, has helped dispel this perception through hard work, profound research and dedication in compiling reported judgments in which Allama sahib appeared as a counsel. He has established that Allama sahib was a great lawyer too. By painstaking research, he has located and discovered 106 reported judgments of Allama sahib, which were reported from 1909 to 1932 in various law journals including AIR (All India Reports) and PLR (Punjab Law Reporter). “So the secret to dispel myths are “through hard work, profound research, dedication” and with the spirit of truth for public rights, public interest and through public-interest law. So let’s turn to the most public document of our nation-state, our constitution – The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which was passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan on April 10th, 1973 and has been amended 25 times since then.
A layperson can download it from the National Assembly website www.na.gov.pk and when he/she will search for the word “water” in the document, surely he/she will arrive at Article 155 of the Constitution; Complaints as to interference with water supplies – 155. (1) If the interests of a Province, the Federal Capital or any of the inhabitants thereof, in water from any natural source of supply [or reservoir] have been or are likely to be affected prejudicially by — (a) any executive act or legislation taken or passed or proposed to be taken or passed, or (b) the failure of any authority to exercise any of its powers with respect to the use and distribution or control of water from that source, the Federal Government or the Provincial Government concerned may make a complaint in writing to the Council. (2) Upon receiving such complaint, the Council shall, after having considered the matter, either give its decision or request the President to appoint a commission consisting of such persons having special knowledge and experience in irrigation, engineering, administration, finance or law as he may think fit, hereinafter referred to as the Commission. (3) Until [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] makes provision by law in this behalf, the provisions of the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1956, as in force immediately before the commencing day shall apply to the Council or the Commission as if the Council or the Commission were a Commission appointed under that Act to which all the provisions of section 5 thereof applied and upon which the power contemplated by section 10A thereof had been conferred. (4) After considering the report and supplementary report, if any, of the Commission, the Council shall record its decision on all matters referred to the Commission. (5) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, but subject to the provisions of clause (5) of Article 154, it shall be the duty of the Federal
Government and the Provincial Government concerned in the matter in issue to give effect to the decision of the Council faithfully according to its terms and tenor. (6) No proceeding shall lie before any court at the instance of any party to a matter which is or has been in issue before the Council, or of any person whatsoever, in respect of a matter which is actually or has been or might or ought to have been a proper subject of complaint to the Council under this Article. The Article 155 clearly lays the responsibility on the Government of the Day and since no work has been done by the governments since 1973 to till date; maybe The Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan, CJ Mian Saqib Nisar is right in wanting to be as active after retiring as CJ in a few months, as he is now for our public rights and social justice in the State of Pakistan. Surely he knowns that the quest for the “Tree of Life” (Immortality) is greater than what this World can offer and for the waters that flow from this tree of life, the aqua vitoe.
Anthony Williams, is the CEO of Tax Dosti and holds a Masters Degree in Political Science and is a Law Graduate (LLB).