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CM constitutes body to improve conviction rate in terror cases

CM constitutes body to improve conviction rate in terror cases

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has decided to constitute a four-member committee to improve investigation and prosecution in terrorism cases so that culprits arrested by law-enforcement agencies after a lot of hard work and sacrifices do not get off scot-free.

Expressing displeasure over low conviction rate due to poor investigation and prosecution, the chief minister said: “This cannot be tolerated.” He directed the prosecutor general to appoint more prosecutors purely on a merit basis. “I will give them additional allowances and also grant them additional salary as a reward when they will win a case,” he said.

He took these decisions on Tuesday while presiding over a meeting which was attended among others by chief secretary Siddique Memon, adviser to chief minister on law Murtaza Wahab, principal secretary to chief minister Alamuddin Bullo, home secretary Mukhtiar Soomro, prosecutor general and law secretary.

The chief minister asked the four-member committee comprising Home Secretary Mukhtiar Soomro, Prosecutor General Sher Mohammad Shaikh, Secretary Law and a DIG to be nominated by the Sindh police chief to hold monthly meetings to monitor performance of prosecution and investigation.

The chief minister directed the inspector general of police to post senior and seasoned policemen in the investigation. “This is a serious business, and it cannot be left at the mercy of inefficient and unwilling workers. Action will be taken against the SHOs and IOs concerned if a case of terrorist nature is lost in the court of law,” he said.

Sindh IG Ghulam Hyder Jamali said he had posted 23 most experienced inspectors in counter-terrorism department (CTD) to investigate terrorism cases. “This move is bound to produce good results,” he said.

Adviser to the chief minister Murtaza Wahab said most of the prosecutors were not efficient. “Their performance in the courts is very poor,” he said. On this, the chief minister directed Mr Murtaza to evaluate the performance of each and every prosecutor on a monthly basis and take action against those who failed to perform.

On a home secretary’s suggestion, the chief minister said regular meetings between SSP (Investigations) and the prosecutor general must be held to address the investigation and prosecution issues.

Mr Shah also expressed his displeasure on the release of the accused allegedly involved in murder of Professor Waheeduddin. “This was also a weakness of the investigation and prosecution,” he said.

Earlier, the chief secretary briefed the meeting about the cases decided by courts in the month of June.

He said all the 19 anti-terrorism courts disposed of 101 cases in June. Of them, accused persons in 77 cases were acquitted while 24 were convicted . “This shows 23.7 per cent conviction rate,” he said.

In the same month, he said, all the 27 district courts disposed of a total of 2,075 cases. In 1,472 of those cases, suspects were acquitted while the accused persons in 603 cases were convicted. This indicated that the conviction rate was 29.6 per cent, he added.

Similarly, there were 1,618 cases pending in four anti-corruption courts and only eight of the cases were disposed of in June, the chief secretary said. Of them, acquittal was granted in seven cases while conviction was announced only in one case. The acquittal ratio was 12.5 per cent, he added.

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2015

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