Pakistan was aspired to be an embodiment of democratic ideals. However present Policing and Criminal justice system of Pakistan reek of the Colonial era when Pakistan was under the occupation of the British Empire. Pakistan has become independent but unfortunately it has not been able to root out entrenched colonial mindset from its state apparatus and Criminal Justice System is not an exception. The State and its institution derive their legitimacy and existence from its Constitution. The State institutions are meant to exercise their authority at the direction of constitutional provisions and the subordinate laws.
The Preamble of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 clearly states that representative democracy as Pakistan’s destiny where the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, will be fully observed enabling the Muslims to order their lives in individual and collective spheres in accordance with the Constitution of Pakistan.
Pakistan is signatory to several International Covenants and Conventions concerning Fundamental right of Human such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On account of its democratic outlook the pioneers of Constitution have enshrined and codified these internationally accepted rights in Part two Chapter 1 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 and they include:
- Article 4 Rights of individuals to be dealt with Law
- Article 8 Law inconsistent or in derogation of fundamental rights to be void
- Article 9 Safeguard as to unwarranted Arrest and extra judicial detention
- Article 10a Right to fair trial
- Article 14 Inviolability of dignity of man
- Article 19A Right to Information
- ,Article 25 Equality before law
- Article 26 Non Discrimination
- Article 37 (d) Ensure inexpensive and expeditious justices.
It is said that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Pakistan is virtually experiencing the negative consequences of concentration of power in few state institutions and one of them is the Police. The extra judicial murder of a young boy as a result of engineered police encounter in Islamabad, the reckless shootout out in Sahiwal by CTD officials, the lynching of two brothers by an unruly mob and police indifference reeks of colonial era.
These tragic events cast serious doubts over the democratic stature of Pakistan. Furthermore it also reflects the grave defiance of law in our state institutional conduct. It would not be wrong to infer that Pakistan even after the passage of seven decades has not been able to protect those fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
Faltering Criminal Justice System:
Creating an enabling environment, harmonising conflicting interests, maintenance of peace, order and stability and establishment of rule of law are what constitute the raison d’être of the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system functions through a coordination of many state actors, bench, bar, law enforcement agencies and the people. The effective and efficient working of Criminal Justice lies in maintaining coordination among these actors.
The coordination gap and institutional wrangling would be fatal to the entire infrastructure of the Criminal Justice System. The Pakistan Criminal justice system is basically beset with these problems. The people by and large have lost faith therefore remain unwilling to cooperate with the police. The bench has failed to extend necessary legal protection to the witnesses despite the existence of a plethora of witness protection laws. Difficulties people experience in court while seeking justice add further insult to their injury. The bar is more concerned with making money rather than dispensation of expeditious justice to the victim. Had such a situation not existed in Pakistan, conviction rate would not have been abysmally low standing at 11 per cent according to the Ministry of Law Justice and Reform.
Defective Policing is a major stumbling block in the efficient working of the Criminal Justice system: The concept of state and police as agents of the ruling elite to dictate their whimsical and arbitrary wishes over the people have become obsolete and has replaced by the more contemporary and accepted idea of service to the people at large. The welfare state conceives the existence of Community Policing rather than force. It resonates with people and maintains strong collaboration with the community whom they are obligated to serve.
The advocates of such policing justify such a paradigm shift in policing after the promulgation of Police order 2002 and amendments in Police rules 1934 from time to time. As long as the police function on outdated lines, substantial improvement in the criminal justice system would remain elusive. The preamble of the Police order 2002 and Sindh Police Act 1861, KPK Police Act 2017 lend credence to the fact that legislature envisioned a Police thoroughly different from what existed before the partition of Sub-Continent.
Countering Defective Policing and Realisation of Community Police model:
· Introduction of robust internal and external accountability system in the functioning of Police;
· Enforcement, protection and awareness of Fundamental Rights By Bar, Bench and community;
- Capacity building of Police officials of lower grades;
- Ensuring strict adherence to Police Rules 1934 and Code of Conduct of Police
- A disciplinary and legal action against Delinquent Police Officials
There exists a disconnect between those involved in dispensation of justice and those seeking justice. Unless those lacunae are bridged through confidence building, inclusive and participatory approach, the Criminal Justice system would remain unresponsive. The radical improvement in the entire policing structure is indispensable for an effective and responsive criminal justice system. Hence, the solution lies in addressing the root cause through an indigenous approach.
Since the Criminal Justice system begins from a local police station, every corrective action must initiate from here. The fear attached with Police needs to be dispelled and replaced by cooperation, support and assistance. This can only be done through the enforcement of a strong accountability system in the lower tiers of Police.
Arbitrary decision making must be replaced by rule based decision making. Police must not be allowed to operate with impunity anymore and vigilant judicial and administrative checks are crucial to this end. The system of registration of FIR needs to be transparent, computerised, and synchronised. There exists a coordination gap and overlapping of authority among different investigative authorities particularly the Police and paramilitary forces i.e. Rangers. A clear demarcation and delineation of authority of every institution of security are the need of the hour. Besides there is a dire need to ensure that no institution be allowed to encroach upon authority of any other else.
A close liaison among these agencies constitutes a lawful alternate to fix this pressing issue. The law expects and authourises Police to control internal security, while the assistance of paramilitary and armed forces are justified only in extraordinary circumstances. While there is no denying the fact that restoration of peace and order in the streets of Karachi goes to the credit of the Rangers however their unending deployment and furtherance of stay have created complication in the administration of the criminal justice system. Police in exercise of their lawful authority must equip themselves and do everything so as to reassert their leading role in the maintenance of internal order thus obliterating the need of paramilitary forces to carry out policing. The challenges of security are no more traditional in nature hence require a holistic and contemporary approach reflecting in the criminal justice system of Pakistan. TW