1 st Steering Committee Meeting Rule of Law Roadmap, Sindh

19 September 2019, Karachi. Sindh's criminal justice system took a momentous step forward by consenting to specific targets designed to deliver real change for the province's people. The Rule of Law Roadmap Steering Committee (SC), comprising Government, Police, and other Criminal Justice System (CJS) institution leads, agreed on Thursday to collectively focus Sindh's reform energies on reducing in-prison overcrowding and increasing conviction rates.

Data, which informed the broad diagnostic Roadmap exercise endorsed by the Cabinet earlier on 3 August, will be used to track delivery against these targets, to hold institutions to account for implementation of their own sub-targets, and to show the public whether reforms are succeeding or not. Attended by senior officials including the Home Secretary, Secretary Social Welfare Department, Secretary Women's Development Department, DIG Sindh Police, IG Prisons, Prosecutor General, Planning and Development (P&D) and Finance representatives, and members of civil society, the Committee was chaired by the Advisor to CM on Law, Environment, Climate Change, and Costal Development, and Spokesperson Sindh Government, Mr Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui.

Mr Abdul Kabir Kazi, Secretary Home, welcomed the visiting delegation from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), lead Roadmap implementor; and the British High Commission (BHC) the programme's funding agency. Mr Kazi emphasised the new methods the Roadmap approach introduces to deliver change, including a new governance framework for RoL reforms, stating that 'we have to start using data, technology, and other modern tools in order to improve service delivery and performance management'.

While presenting the Action Plan, UNODC's new Country Representative to Pakistan, Mr Jeremy Milsom applauded the efforts of all institutions representing the CJS for agreeing targets which enable the provincial leadership to track progress, prescribe corrective action where necessary, and reward results. 

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Jouhaida Hanano, UNODC Criminal Justice Advisor, emphasised the crucial role the Home Department is playing in pursuing the reform agenda in line with the National Action Plan objectives. She emphasised the need to invest in building the capability and resources of the Delivery Unit, and to vest it with the relevant Delivery Information Management System (DIMS) to drive the reform agenda.

Representing the BHC delegation, Mr Simon Charters, Rule of Law Lead BHC, congratulated Sindh for its strong leadership in focussing on real criminal justice results for its people. He shared the province's optimism that by identifying a few strategic targets, and using data and stronger governance to propel progress, the government and judiciary are demonstrating a genuine commitment to creating a fairer criminal justice system for all. Sindh is on course for a good news story on criminal justice reform that will  challenge other provinces - which also have Rule of Law Roadmaps developed with UK support - to demonstrate similarly strong progress.

The SC participants were given a detailed briefing on Sindh's RoL Roadmap and the Sindh Action Plan, noting the targets and KPIs prepared by the TWG members of Sindh's CJS institutions.

With the concurrence and approval of the Chair, Barrister Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui, Advisor to CM and Spokesperson Sindh Govt., the following decisions were taken: -

  • A Sub-Committee of the Steering Committee headed by Secretary Law to be constituted to study the proposals submitted by the Technical Working Group and put these up to the Steering Committee, along with their recommendations, for formal approval.
  • The Sub-Committee may comprise Secretary Law (Chair) with Prosecutor General, IG Police, IG Prisons, and Deputy Director Reclamation and Probation as Members.
  • Mr Muhammad Afzal Shar, Deputy Secretary Home Department, will officiate as Lead Coordinator of Delivery Unit established in Home Department till the appointment of a suitable candidate for this position.
  • The Home Department GoS will provide space for Delivery Unit to be established at Home Department, for which the technical advisors and operational staff are onboard.

In his closing remarks, the Chairman expressed his gratitude to the UNODC and British High Commission representatives, and assured them that the Rule of Law is a major objective and of the highest priority to the Government of Sindh. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to and from the Chair. This activity was made possible with the support of the British High Commission.