EditorialFeature

Reforming criminal justice system

The Imran Khan’s government has announced reforming of much needed criminal justice system to ensure speedy justice and do equal justice to the poor and to the rich. The government institutions, though, have been set up to support and stand with sufferers, but, here the culprit or accused is like a darling child of the law and the complainant or plaintiff stumbles.
For those who may not know, Pakistan’s criminal laws and procedures drafted in the mid-19th century by its colonial rulers often strikes a discordant note. Above the serious repercussions for domestic, the irresponsiveness and ineffectiveness of criminal justice system has serious repercussions for regional and international security too.

Changes and structure reforms in legal system was the need of hours. The proposed draft shows that over 700 amendments have been introduced in Criminal Procedure Code 1898, Pakistan Penal Code 1860, Qanun-e-Shahadat 1984 to make the justice system more responsive to citizen needs. Among them, formation of a statute of an independent prosecution service, forensic laboratory, and prison rules were significant reforms.

The reforms are aimed at strengthening the criminal justice system of Pakistan from police reforms and investigative process to prosecution. The investigators are poorly trained and lack access to modern investigation tools. Similarly, prosecutors, also poorly trained, are not closely involved in investigations.

Law Enforcement

There is no doubt that these newly introduced amendments are commendable in every way but a question is its implementation. The extent to which these laws can be enforced is because the change or amendment of the law is not such a big deal. The real work is law enforcement and unfortunately the laws have not been implemented in this country from day one. It happens today. Sometimes the constitution in this country is called a piece of paper, sometimes the law is distorted for personal or group interests and sometimes the laws are changed overnight and the same laws are restored to their original form after taking benefit.

Therefore, it is the responsibility to make practical steps for its implementation rather than confined to merely hallow slogans. The most of the works of this government are for this purpose. The track record shows that its government performance confined to popular measures and announcements. But they deserve real praise only when the fruits of these amendments reach to common man, not just making headlines.

At present, the law-and-order situation has worse than before 2018. Even now that the common man has lost faith in this system. So, every second or third person is trying to take the law into their own hands.
In any case, it is to be expected that the present government as well as future governments will try to implement these amendments, in their spirit, and ensure their effective implementation. As I argued, justice and nation’s progress will not be ensured unless and until the supremacy of law and rule of law. And if we look, this is exactly the situation in our beloved country, that is why seven decades later, our problems, today, have become more serious than ever.

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