A regulatory framework is essential to govern in a smooth and efficient manner at all levels. If dominant amongst people, organizations and states are left unbridled, the risks of global catastrophe become imminent. While we have the municipal law to govern the affairs of the individuals living in a state, being living in a nation-states era, there arose a need to govern inter-state relations between the world powers.
The international law came to play its role here. After the outbreak of first world war, the League of Nations was formed with the objective of avoiding the war in the future as the humanity suffered at the hands of the chauvinism, territorial expansionism, and race to colonize people by subjecting their wishes to diktats of the colonizers.
Though the foundation of League of Nations proved to be a good omen, but it miserably failed in ensuring peace as its mandate was to avoid war, but, there were situations in which they supported neither peace nor war. Also, with the outbreak of World War 2, the organization completely lost its purpose and it was soon replaced by United Nations. It should be remembered that the Allied powers, who after emerging victorious by defeating Axis powers spearheaded the process of forming yet another global body. It was the carry on the legacy of League of Nations with mandate bit altered. More comprehensive powers were vested in the Security Council, an organ of United Nations, which has to ensure peace against the use of force or threat of use of force by any state. As the whole process was spearheaded by the Allied forces and they comfortably managed to weaken other states, they assumed the permanent position in the Security Council structure, which guarantees a veto power against any action.
Having existing as a member of United Nations, Pakistan has signed numerous treaties of bilateral and multilateral nature, which our state is bound to implement in domestic law and abide by the commitments made in these agreements. Failing to do so could cause ire among other stakeholders, which can result in tribunal awards against us, and even sanctions from the various bodies. When a state ratifies a treaty, it has to give made laws in its legislature in accordance with the context of the treaty. For example, Pakistan is a signatory to ICCPR – International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ICESCR – International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, CEDAW – Convention for Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and the list goes on to hundreds of bilateral and multilateral agreements.
This situation has put huge responsibilities on our shoulders, be it at individual and citizen. Being a citizen of Pakistan, one should abide by the laws – municipal and international. At the societal level, a role has to be played in raising awareness of the constraints and compulsions we have to adhere. For example, On numerous occasions, a hawkish lobby starts calling for waging a war against India to invade in Afghanistan to crush militants there, it must not be forgotten that global order is not regulated according to emotions or morality, there is an explicit call to respect the territorial sovereignty of states in the United Charter, failing to do so will termed an act of aggression and Security Council has the mandate to take a stern action.
The pillars of state – legislature, executive and judiciary – are liable to implement the commitments being made by the state representative in the world forums. While the legislature has to frame laws in accordance with the obligations, the executive has to dispense with the implementation part. There is a welcome development in superior judiciary where Honourable Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, has interpreted the 18th constitutional amendment to allow the National Assembly to frame laws, even if the subject has been devolved to the provinces. By acting in a coherent way, our state institutions can make a sustainable change.