Public Prosecution Department Achievements | BY SHAHIDA TAREEN

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Public Prosecution Department Achievements

An effective criminal justice system builds public confidence in rule of law and promotes fruitful achievement of goals in socio-economic and human development sectors.

Prosecution is an integral part of criminal justice system. Effective prosecution in criminal cases not only ensures timely dispensation of justice but also contributes towards forestalling recurrence of crime in the society. The present Government has placed special focus on effective prosecution of Criminal Cases.

Public Prosecution Department in furtherance of governmental emphasis has made determined efforts to attain merit-based prosecution to bring the criminals to justice by ensuring conviction in 68.07 % cases tri-able by different criminal courts in the districts of the Province during the period from 23-08-2018 to 31-12-2020.

Health and wellbeing of the public is an extremely important area which needs special focus of any government as it deeply effects the life of citizens in general.

Public Prosecution Department through its objective oriented prosecution addressed this matter effectively through its able prosecution team and distinctly secured conviction in 99.34% cases registered under Drugs Act, 1976.

For effective prosecution during trial through preparation of well-founded cases against culprits, the department has placed focus on Police-Prosecution co-ordination during course of investigation. Consequently, three types of committees have been constituted by the government.

The committee constituted at Provincial level consists of DIG (Investigation / Monitoring), Additional Prosecutor General Punjab & AIG (Legal).

Likewise, committees constituted at divisional headquarters are comprised of SSP (Investigation) or SSP Regional Investigation Branch, District Public Prosecutor and SP (Legal).

In order to improve the standard of investigation in Serious Sexual Violence (SSV) cases, the department has introduced a checklist showing the essential elements to be covered during the process of preparation of reports u/s 173 CrPC.

This check list will serve a gate keeping role in SSV cases and without its observance and collection of evidence detailed in the checklist, a case will not be received by prosecution and forwarded to the court for trial.

Successful prosecution of a case is dependent on cooperation of victim and witness of a case. Their role is crucial in securing conviction of culprits.

In most of the cases, witnesses are reluctant to come forward and join investigation process and appear before the court to give testimony against offenders.

There may be a number of reasons for this reluctance such as social pressure, family constraints and intimidation by offenders.

To provide protection to the victims and witnesses of the cases and enabling them to depose against offenders without fear, Punjab Witness Protection Act, 2018 has been enacted. The government has notified Punjab Witness Protection Board on 26-04-2019.

As required by Witness Protection Act, two witness protection units have been established for the purpose of risk assessment and to suggest appropriate measures required for protection of witnesses and other persons connected with inquiry, investigation and trial.

The Public Prosecution Department has nominated 20 prosecutors as Risk Assessment Officer for both units.

Right to fair trial along with right of recourse to a counsel are provided by the Constitution of Pakistan.

The state is under an obligation to provide legal assistance to those people who are facing a criminal charge and due to financial constraints are unable to engage a legal expert for their representation in the court.

To regulate the quantum of punishment awarded to the accused persons in consonance with the magnitude of the offence, the Punjab Sentencing Act, 2019 was introduced that secured the assent of the Assembly on 13-12-2019.

The courts are now under an obligation to advance reasons for elongated or squat terms of imprisonments.

The world is fast transforming from conventional paper work to paperless environment in all official working.

In modern era, with the help of information technology, the governments can proactively provide services that meet expectations of its citizens in the face of growing complex challenges.

The Public Prosecution Department, keeping in view the spirit of the times, has taken a step towards digitalization and introduced an integrated web-based software aimed to automate, monitor and meaningfully control the progress of cases through its stages to enable public and other stakeholders to know the fate of the case on a single click at any time.

In order to ensure smooth career progression in department, 99 Assistant District Public Prosecutor (BS-17) have been promoted to the post of Deputy District Public Prosecutor (BS-18), 08 Deputy District Public Prosecutor

(BS-18) have been promoted to the post of District Public Prosecutor (BS-19) and 08 Deputy Prosecutor General (BS-18) have been promoted to the post of Additional Prosecutor General (BS-19).

To ensure better working environment for Prosecutors, the department is in the process of construction of purpose built buildings for Prosecution offices across the Punjab.

The construction of 09 office buildings in Okara, Layyah, Sialkot, Attock, Bhakkar, MB Din, DG Khan, Sheikhupura and Sahiwal districts have been completed during the period 2018-19 to 2020-21, whereas 06 office buildings at Jhang, Mianwali, Pakpattan, Lodhran, Narowal, and Hafizabad districts are under construction which will be completed till June, 2022.

Adding to the already acquired knowledge base and improving working skills is a continuous process and plays a pivotal role for improved performance.

The department has a permanent wing in the configuration of Centre for Professional Development of Public Prosecutors (CPD).

The CPD imparted training to 3723 officers of different cadres on various important aspects of Prosecution i.e. Trial Advocacy Skills, Sentencing Policy, Charging Standards, Appeal Policy, Witness Protection Measures, Forensic Evidence, Money Laundering and Case management.

To maintain quality and ensure performance standard of Prosecutors, an independent system of accountability by way of inspection exists in the department.

Punjab Criminal Prosecution Service Inspectorate is skilfully and painstakingly shouldering the responsibility of accountability. The Inspectorate conducted 226 inspections of various prosecution offices of Punjab.

A total of 910 complaints were lodged by general public on Pakistan Citizen Portal (PCP), out of which 907 complaints were disposed of on time whereas only 03 complaints are under process at present. However, this is not the end. This is only a small beginning.

The Public Prosecution Department through its collaboration with major stakeholders of Criminal Justice System would continue its endeavours for achievement of the objective of ensuring a society based on norms of exemplary implementation of law through equitable, meritorious and time saving administration of justice.

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