January 23: PILDAT organized here today a robust
and well attended briefing session entitled “Strengthening Rule of Law
in Punjab” for Members of Punjab Provincial Assembly and local media persons.
PILDAT’s Rule of Law (ROL) technical experts briefed MPAs and journalists
on key issues and reforms to strengthen ROL and access to justice in Punjab.
Participating MPAs included Ali Salman (Independent; PP-168 (Sheikhupura-Cum-Nanakana Sahib-I)); Lubna Faisal (PML-N, W-332); Dr. Nausheen Hamid, (PTI, W-356); Bushra Anjum Butt (PML-N, W-354); Farzana Butt (PML-N, W-310); Dr. Syed Waseem Akhtar (Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan PP-271 (Bahawalpur-V)); Saadia Sohail Rana (PTI, W-355); Raheela Naeem Alias Raheela Khadim Hussain, (PML-N, W-345); Waheed Asghar Dogar (PTI, PP-224 (Sahiwal-V)); Shehzad Munshi (PML-N, NM-369); Nasreen Jawaid Alias Nasreen Nawaz (PML-N, W-301); Ehsan Riaz Fatyana (PML-N, PP-58 (Faisalabad-VIII)); Malik Muhammad Waris Kallu (PML-N, PP-42 (Khushab-IV), and Muhammad Waheed Gull (PML-N, PP-145 (Lahore-IX)).
PILDAT’s ROL experts included Advocate Supreme Court and Former Governor Punjab Shahid Hamid; Senior Member, Pakistan Bar Council, Azam Nazeer Tarar; Dean, Faculty of Law & Administrative Sciences, Hazara University, Dr. Suhail Shahzad; Former SSP Police, Muhammad Ali Nekokara; and President PILDAT, Ahmad Bilal Mehboob.
The briefing session highlighted that prosecution of criminal cases has significantly increased in Punjab since independent prosecution service was introduced in 2006 in the province. All stakeholders agreed that Police-Prosecution liaison at Police Station level is a must for an effective justice system.
Participants were of the view that government
should increase funding for Police and its Investigation Branch for effective
prosecution. A general consensus emerged that Legal Aid System needs a major
overhaul for which a Free Legal Aid Authority should be established. Participants
also called upon the media to report on and advocate for the need of an effective
Key points of an ROL reform agenda presented before the MPAs included:
Allocation of funds & increase in budget for Police;
Amendment in Section 154 of Code of Criminal Procedure 1898;
Establishment of Provincial Criminal Justice Coordination Committee;
FIRs to be made simple, online & computerised;
Protection for witnesses through enactment of relevant laws to prevent resiling testimony from witnesses;
Establishment of Legal Aid Authority; and
Enactment of Public Defenders & Legal Aid Office Ordinance 2007.
The consultative session was organised by PILDAT as part of Reforms in Rule of Law in Pakistan” project, supported by Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) under the Enhanced Democratic Accountability and Civic Engagement (EDACE) project.