The Supreme Court has been informed by the Sindh High Court (SHC), which is responsible for monitoring anti-terrorism courts and makes policy guidelines for the early disposal of criminal trials, that many terrorism-related cases have been pending undecided in the provincial judiciary for as long as eight years.
According to statistics, 152 terror-related trials and 57 criminal trials have taken as long as eight years, because the prosecution and the lawyers fail to implement the apex court’s national judicial policy aiming to clear the piles of cases. According to section 19(VII) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, the court is obligated to decide a case within seven days of the charges being framed.
A senior lawyer explained that, “The cases that are required to be decided within days have been pending for years. The state machinery, which includes the prosecution department, the specialized counter-terrorism agencies and the lawyers, is not letting the masses benefit from the national judicial policy.”
Some lawyers believe that the legal fraternity as well as the prosecuting agencies are to be blamed equally for delayed justice.