Islamabad: The All parties Parliamentary Caucus on Rule of Law convened by PILDAT unanimously approved Reforms Agenda to improve rule of law and access to justice in Pakistan. The Caucus meeting held in Islamabad today discussed and finalized the reforms. It was discussed the three key area, Police, Procession and Free legal Aid, should be focused and need amendments in the laws better rule of law and access to justice. Parliamentary Caucus also hailed the suggestions of Senate Committee of the Whole for free and speedy justice in the country. Following reforms were approved by the Caucus:
Police – Allocation of funds and increase in budget: Funding is an important aspect and therefore must be allocated for proper utilisation where needed. Increasing the strength of police by 15% to bring the police-population ratio at par with the international UN standard of 1:450. Investigation costs must be provided to facilitate the investigation process. The existing annual budget allocation for Punjab Police is USD 0.79 Billion (Rs. 82.95 billion) for a population of approximately 103 million which is about 6% of the total budget of the province. Out of this police budget, 80.13 % is utilised purely for allowances, 7.57 % towards fuel charges, 2.08% to training and 10.22% to miscellaneous expenses.
Amendment in Section 154 of Code of Criminal Procedure 1898: Amend Section 154 of Cr. P. C. to ensure that after registration of FIR, subsequent actions by police must be on the basis of solid reasons/evidence to be brought on the record by police officer(s) concerned. This would lead to more effective prosecution of cases.
FIRs to be simple, online and computerised: All FIRs should be recorded in simple language, available online and computerised and be simultaneously sent to the prosecution service so as to involve the latter in the case from its very inception.
No Arrest after FIR without Evidence: FIRs should not form the basis for immediate arrest of those persons named in the FIR. In this regard specific reference may be made to the judgment of the August Supreme Court in Civil Petition # 1282 of 2014, Haider Ali v DPO Chakwal case wherein the August Supreme Court has issued as many as 15 directions including “no person should be arrested unless there is sufficient evidence available with the police to support such arrest. Where a person is unjustly deprived of his liberty, compensation will be required to be paid to him or her by the delinquent Police Officer”.
Protection for witnesses through enactment of relevant laws to prevent resiling testimony from witnesses; ensure provision of safe and secure environment for giving statements in court to strengthen prosecution of crimes and hence provision of justice.
Establishment of Legal Aid Authority: The existing forums provided for under the present legal framework have not been able to fulfil the requirements for free legal aid as per the constitutional mandate. There was a need for Legal Aid Authorities both at the Federal and Provincial levels to monitor and supervise the work of public defender services.
Enactment of Public Defenders & Legal Aid Office Ordinance 2007. The Public Defenders & Legal Aid Office Ordinance has lapsed and it is recommended that it should be enacted at both the Federal and Provincial levels.
Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, NP, Balochistan, was the convener of the Caucus. The other members of the Caucus attended the meeting are:
Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo (NP, Balochistan), was the Convenor of the PCRoL. The other members of the PCRoL who attended the meeting are: Senator Lt. General (Retd.) Abdul Qayyum (Punjab, PML-N), Senator Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari (Punjab, Independent), Senator Taj Haider (Sindh, PPPP), Sardar Muhammad Azam Khan Musakhel (Balochistan, PMAP), Senator Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar (Balochistan, PMAP), Senator Dr. Ashok Kumar (NP), Senator Jehanzeb Jamaldini (Balochistan, BNP-M), Senator Dr. Karim Khawaja (Sindh, PPPP), Mr. Shafqat Mehmood (MNA, NA-126, Lahore-IX, Punjab PTI), Dr Asma Mamdot (MNA, Na-299, Women, Punjab-XXVII, PML-N), and Dr Fouzia Hamid (Women Sindh, MQM).
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Sabahat Afsheen