Support for mediation can be traced to the era of Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Islamic history supports ADR as one of the modes used for conflict resolution. The idea of having elders of the village and households resolve disputes amongst communities has been part of the cultural framework of Pakistan since its inception. In keeping with modern times, a mediation culture has evolved in Pakistan. The State understands that ADR mechanisms are effective remedies to the prevalent disputes and problems faced by the court system. In 2017, it introduced court-annexed ADR, through legislation by the parliament.
In recognition of the importance of ADR, Pakistan has established ADR centers in Punjab, one of the largest provinces of Pakistan, and efforts to develop a federal ADR system are currently underway. With the assistance of the World Bank, the International Finance Cooperation, and the Asia Foundation, many initiatives have been undertaken for legislative reforms and the professional training of judges and mediators.
Given the backlog of cases presently faced by the courts in Pakistan, estimated to be in the range of two million, the need for support to the legal system through ADR is undeniable. The government of Pakistan is heading up many positive efforts, as are the judiciary, lawyers and the business community.