Insaf Network Pakistan (INP) launched a Study titled “Voices of the Unheard: Legal Empowerment of the Poor in Pakistan” along with The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on the 23rd of October, 2012, at Serena. The statistics and the interesting results were brought forth in front of international donors, implementing partners, government stakeholders, community representatives and media. The eminent personalities included Dr. Muhammad Shoaib Suddle Federal Tax Ombudsman / President Forum of Pakistan Ombudsman, Jean Luc Stalon Country Director (a.i) UNDP, Akhtar Hussain Vice Chairman, Pakistan Bar Council, Pervaiz Ali Chawla, DG Federal Judicial Academy, Farrah Pervaiz Saleh Chairperson Insaf Network Paistan and Mikko Lainejoki Country Director UNOPS.
Voices of the Unheard: Legal Empowerment of the Poor in Pakistan research finds that when it comes to justice sector, the poor and vulnerable prefer to remain ‘below the radar of the state’. Upwards of 75% of the poor have no contact with the police and more than 84% of them have never contacted the courts. The police was not even among the top 5 preferred institutions in Balochistan when it was about approaching for help against threats to personal security. Similarly, for threats to property, the majority would turn to informal mechanisms rather than the Land Revenue department for help.
The Study involved a random survey of 10,322 poor and vulnerable households across 31 districts in all 4 provinces and GB, as well as 92 Focus Groups with 1,120 poor and vulnerable participants, including 339 women. To define problems in their policy and institutional context, as well as to develop possible solutions, the Study also included 8 Consultative Workshops with supply-side stakeholders including judiciary, police, lawyers, NGOs, and government officials at the provincial and national levels. Finally, 3 case studies on urban slums were undertaken in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore to provide insights into urban poverty and their problems of legal exclusion and disempowerment.