The following article, “Give a Critical Overview of Pakistan’s Criminal Justice System, Highlighting its Biggest Shortcomings. Also, Give Measures to Counter it and a Relevant Case Study.“, is written by Baber Ali, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. Moreover, the article is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. Sir Kazim has uploaded his students’ solved past paper questions so other thousands of aspirants can understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.
- ✓The criminal justice system of Pakistan works under the compliance of the Pakistan Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, which are responsible for punishing the guilty and acquitting the innocent.
- ✓The Criminal justice system of the country has been suffering from the shortcomings of Mal-administration.
- ✓The system could be empowered by introducing a strong administrative system backed by inviolable policies, robust accountability and un-delayed justice.
2- Understanding the Criminal Justice System
3- The Criminal Justice System of Pakistan: A Critical Overview
- ✓The Criminal Justice of Pakistan comprises police, prosecution, and judiciary.
4- What are the shortcomings of the country’s criminal justice system?
- ✓Backlog of pending cases, leading to delayed justice
- ✓Prevailed corruption in the system
- ✓Inadequate protection for the victim and the witness
- ✓Police brutality, violating human rights
5- What measures can help the country make a strong judicial system?
- ✓To make model courts, ensuring speedy justice
- ✓To ensure a strong accountability system
- ✓To make policies, ensuring witness protection
- ✓To bring reforms to the police department
6- The Mai Mukhtaran Case
7- Critical Analysis
Answer to the Question
The Criminal Justice System refers to a system that aims to apprehend, prosecute, punish, and rehabilitate criminal offenders. Likewise, the Criminal Justice System of Pakistan comprises police, prosecution, and judiciary to apprehend the system’s objectives. In fact, beneath the country’s aspirations, there has been a plethora of challenges, such as the backlog of cases, rampant corruption in the system, inadequate protection of the victim and the witness, and brutality of the police. However, it is crucial to tackle the shortcomings by ensuring speedy justice, robust accountability, the victim’s and the witness’s protection, and reforms in the police.
Understanding the Criminal Justice System
To begin with, no society can survive long without an effective Criminal Justice System. The Criminal Justice System is a set of laws and principles applied to criminals to maintain peace and discipline in society. The system aims to punish a culprit through investigation, prosecution, trial, and sentence. Moreover, the system’s main objective is to ensure the acquittance of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty. The system is indispensable for the permanence of peace in society and upholds the supremacy of law.
A Critical Overview of Pakistan’s Criminal Justice System
Pakistan’s criminal justice system works under the rulings of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) that defines the offences, and the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which provides the mechanism to be followed for every offence under the PPC. The main actors in the procedure are the police – investigating the matter and lodging the First Information Report FIR – the prosecution, analyzing the investigation – and the judiciary – conducting a trial of the Criminal. According to the Rule of Law Index, Pakistan is ranked 130th out of 139 nations. The country has a below-par position in the supremacy of law, which is distressing for its societal peace.
Shortcomings in the Criminal Justice System of the Country
Backlog of pending cases
For a long time, the country’s criminal justice system has been marred by the repercussions of maladministration, making the system partial. By glancing at the issues, the backlog of cases in the courts stands atop. It has generated a great workload on the judges, resulting in long proceedings and delayed justice. Hence, the country’s Criminal Justice System is a glaring example of the legal maxim, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”. Due to such attitude, radicalism, terrorism, extra-judicial killings, and sectarian conflicts have prevailed in society. Thus, the courts have lost the people’s trust due to long proceedings.
The corruption in the system
Next to it, rampant corruption has hampered the country’s criminal justice system. As the judiciary and the police are the system’s main components, the downfall of these elements indicates the destruction of the country’s criminal justice system. The National Corruption Perception Survey 2023 states, “Judiciary and police are the most corrupt institutions in Pakistan.” The involvement of such institutions in corruption results in unjust, unfair, and biased decisions and investigations of criminal matters.
The Brutality by Police
Moreover, while the convict is remanded to the police, the police torture him brutally, making him admit the guilt. Sometimes, the brutality surpasses all the lines of humanity and results in fake encounters, leading to the loss of an innocent life. According to Dr Samia Shuja, the head of the emergency department of the Jinnah Hospital Karachi, since 2020, three thousand cases of half-fry (permanently disabling the culprit in one leg) have been treated at the hospital. The half-fry culture adopted by the police is a strict violation of human rights.
Inadequate victim protection
Lastly, the state has failed to protect the complainants and the witnesses adequately. Every year, a large number of extra-judicial killings take place on court premises. Indeed, it depicts the failure of the state’s institutions to give sufficient protection to the concerned people. The Human Rights Defenders of Pakistan estimate that roughly 1,000 women are killed in so-called honour killings every year. Sadly, such a huge number of deaths indicates the power-holding institutions have failed to protect the victims.
Suggestive Measures to Empower the System
Finding solutions to the challenges is the foremost requirement. To elaborate, actions on multiple fronts with vigour and unswerving commitment are required to address these woes. The following are the remedial measures for Pakistan’s criminal justice system.
The construction of Model Courts
First, the state has a dire need for model courts. The courts would be responsible for speedy trials and making decisions within a short period. Thus, it would reduce the burden of cases on other courts, resulting in non-delayed justice. Moreover, it would also help revive the lost trust of the people in the courts.
Second, to ensure a strong accountability system is a must for the country. A robust accountability mechanism can alleviate the unscrupulous elements deteriorating the country’s justice system. Moreover, it would make the people seek justice without facing any mental dither. Hence, evacuating corruption is the key to building a just and fair society.
Third, bringing police reforms is crucial for the country. A mechanism ensuring proper checks and balances of the custodial persons must be introduced. In addition, extra-judicial killings such as fake encounters and half-fry culture should be eradicated. And the one who does so must be given strict punishment. Thus, police officials must be inducted in humane ethics sessions before recruitment.
Lastly, the protection of the pleader and the witness must be ensured. Despite the presence of security personnel on court premises, the witnesses and the pleaders are threatened with their lives. Therefore, strong policies must be made to protect the victims, and the policies should be implemented with a high spirit. Moreover, security institutions should give the victims a full-time protocol. Strong legislation must be made against the one violating the laws.
A Case Study of Mai Mukhtaran Case
The profile case of Mai Mukhtaran is a relevant case study highlighting the shortcomings in the country’s criminal justice system. In June 2002, Mai Mukhtaran was sanctioned with gang rape by the local tribulation council as a form of honour-revenge. She stood up and filed suit against the 11 rapists, and the anti-terrorism court sentenced six culprits to death. However, the lady kept struggling for the death sentence of the remaining five culprits. Unfortunately, on 17 May 2019, the Supreme Court dismissed her case. The case highlights the flaws and faults in the country’s criminal justice system. However, to counter these problems, legal reforms were initiated, including changes in laws related to rape and honour crimes and improvements in witness protection.
Critically, the Criminal Justice System of Pakistan has shortcomings, keeping the system from functioning properly. The unscrupulous elements in the system have marred its essence. However, the irregularities could be overcome by constructing and implementing strong policies, empowering the Justice System, and ensuring the rule of law.
In a nutshell, Pakistan’s Criminal Justice System has been going through repercussions such as the backlog of cases, insecurity of the witnesses, rampant corruption, and violation of human rights by the police, hampering the roots of the country’s Justice System. Nevertheless, to overcome such issues, the country needs model courts, robust accountability mechanisms, police reforms, and policies ensuring witness protection. The country can empower its Criminal Justice System by adopting such remedial measures.
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