ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed presided over a meeting of the Police Reforms Committee (PRC) in the Supreme Court and directed to submit a report regarding the updated status of implementation of the committee’s report.
The judge, who is the Chairman of Law and Justice Commission, directed the Secretary Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP) to call Secretary Interior and chief secretaries of all provinces and submit a report before the next meeting.
The meeting several issues including public complaints redressal mechanism, measures taken to improve quality of investigation and result thereof, and initiatives for the implementation of recommendations of the PRC, and the tatus the reform report sent to the federal and provincial governments in 2019.
The meeting was attended by the Supreme Court judge Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Secretary LJCP Dr Muhammad Raheem Awan, serving Inspector General Police (IGPs) from all four provinces, Islamabad Capital Territory, GB, AJK and former IGP Afzal Ali Shigri, Dr Shoaib Suddle, Tariq Khosa, Tariq Pervez and Director-General National Police Bureau (NPB).
The Chief Justice asked all Inspector Generals of Police to submit their progress reports regarding Complaint Redressal Cells and District Assessment for perusal and assessment of their performance. Regarding the transparent system of arrest in cognizable offences, he said the offience should be assessed from the material on the basis of which FIR is registered out and unnecessary arrests in the conventional manner should be curtailed.
To discourage the practice of treating simple criminal cases as terrorism cases particularly in Sindh, the principle laid down in the landmark judgment of Supreme Court should be practically followed whereby terrorism is well defined for guidance of investigating agencies as well as prosecution and judiciary.
He advised that Police Department needs to improve its capabilities to restore efficacy, effectiveness and trust in people. For fair investigation, the capabilities of Investigating Officers should be critically assessed. For this purpose, the chief justice directed the IGPs to verify the degrees and certificates of the entire police force starting from the PSP officers.
He also directed DG NPB to maintain the list of competent investigating officers for specialized investigation of different crimes. He observed that the adverse image established in the society due to negative attitude of police officials needs consideration as a positive attitude is as vital for the protection of rights of the general public.
The chief justice said to ensure impartiality of the police force and to eliminate undue influence on the Police Department, it is vital that the power of posting and transfers of the police officers of every rank should be assigned to the concerned IGPs.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial emphasized that specialized training of officers for every department is essential. He said there should be complete coordination between all the stakeholders of the criminal justice sector particularly between investigation and prosecution departments to eliminate flaws in investigation which would also reduce the acquittal rate which is presently quite high,
Former IGP Dr Shoaib Suddle expressed that international practice of certification of the investigation officer should be followed to enhance the standards of investigation and in case of misconduct the officer should be decertified which itself is a big punishment.
The chief justice said that self-accountability within police department would be beneficial for the public. In case of any law and order situation, the police force should play their pivotal role to every extent so that no other force, other than civil forces is called upon to overcome the situation.