False testimonies and delays in court proceedings are the major bottlenecks in prompt delivery of justice in criminal cases in the country, Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa has said.
Addressing a ceremony in Karachi on Friday, the CJP said reforms in police system was the need of the hour, without which, improvement in society was not possible.
Lamenting the issue of false testimonies, he quoted an anecdote from the colonial era. “In 1925, a British judge of the Lahore High Court remarked that in every part of the world, a dying declaration had sanctity attached to it. But it is only the sub-continent where people even on death bed falsely accuse their opponents such that their suffering continues, even after their death.”
The CJP said that in almost every murder case in Pakistan, only close relatives, ie father or son of the deceased come out as witnesses. He wondered how close relatives of the victim could be present even in deserted areas.
Justice Khosa opposed a former CJP’s ruling on false testimonies. “In 1951 Justice Munir Malik of “doctrine of necessity” fame believed that accepting false statement was necessary to convict an accused… it was a wrong approach which destroyed the social fabric of the society.”
He added that it may take some time and result in the acquittal of a few hundred people but false testimony under any circumstances will not be accepted. “False in one respect; false in all respects,” he said.
The top judge warned investigative officers of the police that if they were found involved in producing false witnesses, they too will be prosecuted.
The CJP said the prevailing justice system had partially improved with the establishment of model courts in twelve districts across the country. He termed it a revolutionary step to end the pendency of the cases, saying that within a period of eight months, around seven thousand cases of murder and narcotics were disposed of.