Pakistan News

High court to hear petitions on prosecutor general office on 30th

PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court has fixed September 30 for hearing two important petitions, seeking direction of the court for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to set up prosecutor general office in the province at the earliest like rest of the three provinces.

The two petitions have been filed by former inspector general of police Dr Syed Akhtar Ali Shah and Prosecution Officers Welfare Association, stating that inaction of provincial government to establish office of prosecutor general was violative of the commitments made by it at different forums and superior courts.

The petitioners state that in a writ petition before the high court, it was affirmed by the provincial government that it was going to establish prosecutor general office in the province within three months but despite lapse of almost three years no step was taken in that regard.

The respondents in the petitions are Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary, secretaries of finance, law, establishment and home departments and director general prosecution.

Dr Syed Akhtar Ali Shah, in his petition, states that the issue of low quality investigation and ineffective prosecution has been discussed at various forums and even in the judgments of the superior courts but unfortunately progress in the system has remained quite slow.

He states that prosecution of cases at the appellate forums including high court and Supreme Court is being dealt with by those, who are already overloaded with civil and other cases and having no proper prosecution experience.

The petitioner says that in order to ensure quality investigation and vibrant prosecution of cases, the federal government took an initiative to establish an independent prosecution service in the provinces and on January 16, 2002 it directed the federal interior division to establish independent prosecution services in each province on fast track basis and induct fresh blood into the service.

He states that three provinces established their prosecution general offices for conducting prosecution of criminal cases in the superior courts by their prosecution officers having relevant expertise. But unfortunately, he states, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa no such office has been established till date.

The petitioner claims that it has resulted into the failure of the prosecution at the appellate forums due to lack of proper mechanism of the office of prosecutor general and absence of experienced prosecution officers in these courts. He states that apex court also took suo moto notice in 2017 regarding non-improvement in the system of investigation and prosecution.

He added that while filing comments in that case, the KP government highlighted the reasons for non-improvement of the system wherein again it cited non-existence of the prosecutor general office as the main cause.

The petitioner states that the apex court in a civil petition had also raised the issue of lack of facilities and incentives to the prosecution officers resulting into the trend of leaving the service for better opportunities.

The information secretary of Prosecution Officers Welfare Association, Zulfiqar Ali, told Dawn that apart from challenging the non-establishment of the office of prosecutor general they had also requested the court to order the government for provision of different facilities to the prosecution officers.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2020

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