ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan today launched the first criminal law reforms with amendments in the existing law to improve the rule of law and justice in the society.
Addressing the ceremony, PM Khan said, “A nation can not prosper without the rule of law and the new legal reforms is Pakistan’s first step in establishing it.”
The amendments in the law are aimed at reducing the time of case trials, increasing witness protection, and preserving evidence via technology.
PM Khan called this a “historic” attempt at improving Pakistan’s criminal justice system. “Our common men need it the most because they are ones suffering.”
After independence, Pakistan inherited British laws, but over the time, our legal system has deteriorated, he said.
Khan said, “Today, the system that was supposed to uplift the nation just benefits the elite. It’s the underprivileged people who are in jails. What is their crime? Just that they are poor.”
Prime Minister said the government will ensure that the state serves justice to the people who deserve it the most.
He said there are over nine million Pakistanis abroad who are Pakistan’s asset, but they are scared of investing in the country because of weaknesses in the rule of law. “With a proper legal system we will be able to attract these investments and prevent further loans from IMF.”
PM Khan also gave the example of Reko Diq case in which Pakistan has to pay a fine of $6 billion. “If out justice system had been strong, we could have earned billions from the project.”
Law Minister highlights new amendments
Earlier, Law Minister Farogh Naseem gave a brief insight at the main amendment introduced in the criminal law.
- Police budget to be allotted to prevent hindrances in investigations. the money will be trickled down so that it reached police stations. An audit will regularly conducted to ensure it as well.
- Bachelors degree mandatory for SHOs. Police to increase capacity building. Sub-inspectors to be promoted to the post of SHO.
- SP can register an FIR.
- Criminal cases to be completed within 9 months
- Modern technology to be used for preserving evidence
- Ensuring witness attendance and protection.
- Plea bargains to be introduced.
- In some cases, complainant will be barred from attending every hearing. They will be able to send someone else on their behalf.
Naseem said that the law is not just to be implemented by the prime minister, but also the judiciary, lawyers, police, and, most importantly, the general public.