Police Reforms Through The Law and Justice Commission Of Pakistan
The talk about the justice sector’s reform in Pakistan is often apocryphal and the reason for it is clear: it does not get measured professionally and scientifically. Lord Kelvin’s axiomatic statement, “What can’t be measured, can’t be managed” may be as true to social sciences as it is to natural sciences.
In the domain of public policy, in the absence of reliable and publicly available statistics, the studies and researches published by external institutions and think-tanks have to be referred to in order to understand and examine the issues that need to be addressed in order to improve the justice sector in Pakistan.
The World Justice Project is an international organization that works for promoting the rule of law worldwide. It published a special report on the Rule of Law in Pakistan in 2017. This report, inter alia, makes two observations about the police in Pakistan: first, it records that the perception about police corruption is showing a downward trend from 88% in 2013 to 73% in 2017; secondly, it notes that the incompetence of the investigators is the most serious problem facing criminal investigative services in Pakistan. In addition to using the indicative data generated by think-tanks, the policy-making in Pakistan must also use institutional data as evidence to make decisions. Reform efforts that are not based on evidence may not yield the required level of results.
Perhaps due to this reason the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan took a different approach this time. He opted to use the institutional framework of the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP) instead of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to steer police reforms in Pakistan. Exercising this option, the Chief Justice of Pakistan met with a group of retired police officers on 8th May, 2018. In pursuance of the meeting, on 15th May, 2018, the Secretary of LJCP issued a notification constituting the Police Reforms Committee (PRC).
The PRC was made up of retired and serving police officers under the convenorship of Mr. Afzal Ali Shigri, former Inspector General of Police, Sindh. It included many distinguished police officers like Dr. Shoaib Suddle, Mr. Tariq Khosa, Mr. Iftikhar Ahmed and Mr. Tariq Pervaiz. The Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the PRC were divided into three main parts. The LJCP was declared the secretariat of the PRC and the Secretary, LJCP was to also help the PRC in its research efforts by gathering advice and opinion of senior lawyers.
The ToRs covered the following three main areas:
This part had three sub-themes. The basic point to be examined in this part was the constitutionality of police laws, especially in the context of the post-Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment (2010). The PRC was required to draft a Model Police Law that addressed ‘the challenges of the 21st Century policing that ensures the Police to be politically neutral, democratically controlled, effectively accountable, administratively and operationally autonomous and highly specialized professional community service institution’.
This part had five sub-themes and dealt with accountability and operational matters of the police. Accountability of police, both at external and internal level, was the first theme. The other themes included improvements required in the investigation system, urban policing, alternative dispute resolution in criminal cases and problems faced by the police in anti-terrorism cases.
This part related to legal system as a whole in the sense that the PRC was required to identify laws that were interrelated and interconnected with the criminal justice system and affected the working and autonomy of the police in the country.
The PRC worked very hard on the assigned task. Its findings were shared on 6th August, 2018 in a meeting under the aegis of the LJCP in which many other honourable judges of the Supreme Court also participated. Detailed presentations on all three aforementioned areas were made at the forum of the LJCP.
The work of the PRC is not final though and is under deliberation and finalization. Once published, the report of the PRC is likely to be helpful for the incumbent political government in order to introduce police reforms through legislation and later by the provision and allocation of budgetary resources in order to fulfill the obligations placed on police organizations under the law.
 The Rule of Law in Pakistan, published in 2017 by the World Justice Project. Available at: https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/Pakistan_Report_2017_Final-Online%20Version-Reduced.pdf.
 Earlier, the executive authority was used to initiate reform in police organizations in Pakistan. Since 1947, more than two dozen reform initiatives were introduced. The judiciary also participated by passing judgements that checked systemic problems besides taking suomotu action for police accountability and reform.
 Notification F. No. 2/R/Police Law/LJCP-2018 issued by Dr. Raheem Ahmed Awan, Secretary, the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan.
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