Our system of justice is based on the rule of law, which is, in fact, enshrined in our constitution through the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It means that the law applies to everyone – no one is above the law. And the law must be the same, regardless of race, gender, status or any other consideration. If nobody is above the law, then fair trials are the only way to prevent injustice and are an essential part of a just society. Every person accused of a crime whether guilty or innocent should be given a fair trial. Without fair trials trust in government and the rule of law collapses. The concept of the right to a fair trial is not new in Pakistan and even across the globe; it has long been recognised as a basic human right. Despite this, it is a right that has been abused in countries across the world, with devastating human and social consequences. In 2010, article 10-A was included in the Eighteenth Amendment, which entails the right to a fair trial. However, to date, the expected result is far from what was envisioned. If we talk about Pakistani society, people accuse each other on personal grounds without any evidence or actual criminal activity. The role of police within this period is very crucial but due to their ineffectiveness, the falsely accused are forced to endure lengthy trails in court. I believe that the state should provide protection to its citizens but in the present era, the role it plays is very debatable. For example, the human rights watch declared that the prisoners who have been hanged from April 2015, to date, mostly had unfair trials, which were conducted well below the minimum standards set by international law. In many cases, the prisoners on death row were not provided lawyers and even the trials conducted were not fair. I remember one case in particular in which right to a fair trial was denied to the accused Shafqat Hussain. He was a juvenile when his trial was held and his conviction was based on a coerced confession, which is a violation of the international rights to a fair trial. A barrier that sometimes hinders the right to a fair trial is the lack of financial resources. At times, the path to acquiring justice needs monetary assistance. For instance, not everyone has the resources to hire a lawyer Frankly speaking, the law has been passed but its implementation needs improvement. When i spoke to the general public and asked them for there opinion, they said that within Pakistan no one gets a fair trial because of issues within the judicial system. The Constitution gives every citizen the right to be dealt with in accordance with the law, it ensures equality before the law, and safeguards the right of an individual against unlawful activity. More specifically, in the context of a ‘fair trial’, the constitution makes provisions to protect individuals against illegal deprivation of life and liberty, including arresting and detaining; and in such a case, the arrestee or detainee has to be informed of the reason for his/her arrest, they have the right to consult and be defended by a counsel of their choice, as well as having the right to be produced before a magistrate within twenty-four hours of the arrest. There are many factors which affect the fairness of a trial; one such factor is the role of the police in ensuring that the right to a fair trial is available to every citizen. According to legal experts, the right to a fair trial commences as soon as a person reports a crime and interacts with the police. The second barrier that sometimes hinders the right to a fair trial is the lack of financial resources. At times, the path to acquiring justice needs monetary assistance. For instance, not everyone has the resources to hire a lawyer. The state is silent on the issue of providing legal aid, which is a necessary step to ensure that all individuals have representation in the court of law. Thus, i want to urge the newly elected government of Pakistan to make sure the right to a fair trial is available to all, which in turn ends discrimination and bias. Moreover, the judicial system needs to deliver speedy justice, to make the masses believe in a just society. Lastly, if we want to improve conditions then the law must be upheld to bring peace and security to the land. It is the duty of every individual to stand up for justice, if we want to build a better nation, we must be better acquainted with the law. The writer is a social and political activist based in Lahore. He has done his Masters and MPhil in Communication Studies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, September 15th 2018.