Pro Bono & Public Interest Litigation
Public Interest Litigation
The Network members have been actively involved in strategic public interest litigation involving important constitutional and related political questions. For instance, Dr. Osama Siddique was a co-petitioner in two public interest petitions admitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2012. The first petition sought various election campaign reforms and resulted in several directions to the Election Commission of Pakistan to bring about such reforms. The second petition challenged an earlier judgment of the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court that impedes the legislative power to introduce progressive land reforms under the Constitution, by declaring such reforms un-Islamic. Dr. Siddique was also a co-petitioner in 2010 in a public interest petition arguing that the apex Court does not possess the power to review constitutional amendments, in the wake of the 18th Amendment to the Pakistani Constitution.
The Network members have appeared in various significant cases involving the constitutional interpretation and possible infringement of Fundamental Rights under the Constitution by legislative and executive actions as amicus curiae before the Lahore High Court. To cite some representative recent instances, in 2015 Dr. Osama Siddique appeared before a full bench of the Lahore High Court in a writ petition relating to the interpretation of Article 140-A of the Constitution. The interpretation of this provision raised questions regarding the design, powers and future of local governments in the country as well as the legal ambit of operations of development authorities in connection with a new signal free corridor project in Lahore. In 2013, Dr. Siddique provided such advisory services to a full bench of the Lahore High Court in deciding an election petition that raised larger and significant constitutional questions related to the interpretation and implementation of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution and also their implications for the qualifications and disqualifications, respectively, for membership of the Parliament. In 2012, Dr. Siddique assisted the Lahore High Court in deciding a writ petition that raised important issues pertaining to the legality of the establishment of the National Testing Service (NTS) by the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology and the appointment of the same by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) as the sole body for conducting various types of university entrance examinations in the country. Further, the writ generated significant queries about the capacity, rigor and transparency of such exams which in turn has a direct bearing on various aspects of higher education standards and regulation in Pakistan.