'Pakistan's Experience with Formal Law: An Alien Justice' by Osama Siddique Wins Best Non Fiction Book of the Year Award 2014 at Karachi Literature Festival

'Pakistan's Experience with Formal Law: An Alien Justice' by Osama Siddique Wins Best Non Fiction Book of the Year Award 2014 at Karachi Literature Festival
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   Dr. Siddique Receives KLF Award for his Book February 12, 2014 Dr. Osama Siddique, Associate Professor, Shaikh Ahmad Hassan School of Law, won the award for the best non-fiction book of the year at the Karachi Literature Festival 2014 (KLF) for his  book "Pakistan's Experience with Formal Law: An Alien Justice". Sponsored by Oxford University Press and Habib Bank Limited as well as several additional co-sponsors, the fifth edition of the KLF  –   the largest annual literary event in the country  –   was held at the Beach Luxury Hotel in Karachi from February 7-9, 2014. The festival attracted thousands of literature enthusiasts, writers, scholars, artists, journalists and intellectuals from all over Pakistan as well as several foreign countries. Dr. Siddique’s book was selected for the award from amongst several nominations by a panel of  judges comprising of eminent Pakistani critics, writers and academics. The award was  announced at the opening ceremony of the KLF on February 7 which was attended by a large and diverse audience from all walks of life as well as leading diplomats from the Consulates of Germany, France, Italy, Brazil and Britain; major corporate sponsors; prominent publishing houses; and a cross section of the country’s literati, intelligentsia and opinion -makers. In his acceptance speech Dr. Siddique emphasised the vital importance of solid research based scholarly literature as a pathfinder in the beleaguered Pakistan milieu; the diverse experiences and perceptions that had stimulated and driven the book project; and his deep appreciation for the warm reception that his book had received. He dedicated the award to the memory of his late father, to whom he ascribed the inspiration and education that had informed his writing. The hardback international edition of Pakistan’s Experi ence with Formal Law: An Alien Justice was published by the prestigious Cambridge University Press (CUP) in June last year under CUP’s ‘Cambridge Studies in Law and Society Series’ which is edited by some of the leading international legal scholars. This was followed a few months later by a South Asian Paperback Edition, also published by CUP. An Urdu translation is planned to follow towards the end of this year. The book grew out of Dr. Siddique’s doctoral research at Harvard Law School as well as his several years of practical experience as an appellate court lawyer and policy advisor for justice sector reform. It traces and analyses the fascinating evolution of the contemporary Pakistani legal and court system through Pakistan’s colonial and post -colonial history; the nature of its relationship with the society it sets out to regulate during these eras; its impact on ordinary Pakistani citizens; the various attempts at its reform as well as their successes and failures; and, its possible future shape and form. The book has three distinct but interrelated parts. It endeavours to determine: (1) background historical factors that have led to the current nature of the Pakistani legal and court system; (2) its contemporary features and characteristics; and (3) officially expressed and implemented intent for its reform as well as a critical evaluation of such reform endeavors. The analysis conducted in these sections then leads to certain projections about the possible future of the Pakistani legal and court system. The book has several distinctive features and themes of wide inter-disciplinary interest, including the identification and discussion of the absence of necessary linkages between the scholarship that discusses the impact of colonialism on Indian law and the post-colonial law reform debates in South Asia, as well as the jarring disconnects between various significant areas of debate in the social science scholarship on the impact of law on society and the narrower preoccupations of the purely doctrinal legal scholarship. This in turn raises several important questions of historical as well as theoretical implication that ought to interest not just legal academics, jurists and practitioners but also the social scientists who study the complex impact of law on society and vice versa, especially in the context of rampant legal disempowerment in developing countries, but also in the context of enclaves of resilient legal disempowerment in developed countries. In addition, the book employs a variety of empirical methods for gauging the actual everyday experiences of ordinary citizens with post-colonial formal justice systems. Though surveys and other empirical methods are routinely used in social sciences they have been very rarely used in the legal scholarship on post-colonial developing countries. Therefore, the exciting and path-breaking methodologies adopted in the book provide new ideas and approaches for legal research as well as telling insights into the operation of the law in actual practice, especially  given its debilitating social milieu which is characterised by a vast spectrum of social, cultural, economic and political disempowerments. Furthermore, the book provides an analytical typology for and exhaustively discusses the various historical approaches to law reform in Pakistan and undertakes a critical evaluation of how internationally funded justice sector reform programs are actually designed and implemented in developing countries  –     by showcasing and exploring Pakistan’s historical experience with the same. This aspect of the book ought to be of great interest to not just mainstream legal scholars and social scientists interested in South Asian legal systems in particular and legal systems of developing countries in general but also to international and regional policy practitioners involved in the design and implementation of justice sector reform as well as their governmental and civil society counterparts.
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