Consultative Workshop on Police-Prosecutors Cooperation

19 March 2019, Quetta. Police investigators and Prosecutors are the vital stakeholders of the criminal justice system. Their combined, effective contribution is of core value in enhancing the conviction rate in courts of law. This outcome ensures the creation not only of enhanced community confidence but of a favourable environment for the country's economic, political, and social growth. In 2017, UNODC in collaboration with the Government of Balochistan conducted an institutional capacity assessment of the criminal justice institutions in the province. This exercise was comprehensively conducted, with extensive consultative sessions attended by all tiers of criminal justice stakeholders, and successfully developed a 'Rule of Law Roadmap for Balochistan. The document was processed through relevant bureaucratic and political channels for ensuring due ownership. GoB after deliberation endorsed the subject roadmap. A key requirement cited in the document was enhanced cooperation between the police and prosecution departments. It was acknowledged that both departments had recently invested a great deal in this regard but that more cohesion was required. This relationship needed to be based   on a system of checks and balances; shared values and ethos; and better communication and coordination, for achieving the common goals of timely removal of lacunae and improved conviction rates from the courts.

In this connection, UNODC in collaboration with the Balochistan Prosecution Department organized a one-day workshop. The purpose was to discuss those issues which factored negatively in the establishment of a close and coordinated working relationship between both departments. The participants were also given ample opportunity to propose measures for improvement towards achieving maximal conviction rates in the courts, and renewed public confidence in the provincial criminal justice system and law enforcement departments.

Senior Balochistan Govt officials present at the workshop's commencement were the Inspector General Balochistan Police, Secretary Prosecution Department, Prosecutor General, DIG Quetta, DIG Headquarters, SSP Investigation, AIG Legal, and AIG Training. In his welcome remarks Mr Tariq Khosa, former IG Balochistan and DG FIA stated, 'Whenever we talk about police, prosecution plays an important role in terms of collaboration and facilitation, and also acts as a check while taking the investigations to the court: and for that their cooperation, their SOPs, and their understanding of each other's roles is very important; and opportunities like these by UNODC help in devising policies to ensure quality investigation and effective prosecution.' Secretary Prosecution Dr Umer Baber in his opening remarks also emphasized that 'We need to build the capacity of Police and Prosecution to work together and ensure effective cooperation before, during, and after the investigation. UNODC has always responded to the needs of the Prosecution Department of Balochistan; and we look forward to working   together for the betterment of investigation and prosecution in the province.' While giving his keynote address Inspector General Balochistan Police Mr Mohsin Hassan Butt noted that 'Police and Prosecution have separate roles to play in the justice system, and yet the ultimate issue of innocence or guilt cannot be achieved without both parties working together. Understanding each other's place in the system aids greatly in fostering a culture of respect for each other's roles, and how they can complement one another.' He concluded, ' I thank and appreciate UNODC in organising this workshop, and the efforts taken by them in implementing the Rule of Law project. This would go a long way in improving the overall criminal justice system, and would immensely benefit the people of Balochistan.' The Police and Prosecution Departments gave presentations on The Legal and Operational Situation of Police-Prosecutors Cooperation in Balochistan. The Legal Officer Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Prosecution Service Mr Zafar Abbas Mirza presented The Experience of Police-Prosecutors Cooperation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and how Balochistan could benefit from lessons learnt in KP during the drafting of SOPs for the two departments' coordination in criminal cases.

The most interesting event was the group work, in which the participants were divided into working sub-groups to deliberate upon the challenges and recommend solutions to overcome them. The sub-groups were given different themes, and the opportunity to present their respective workings to the complete house. In his closing remarks Mr. Tariq Khosa observed that 'The challenges and recommendations which came out of these groups were very genuine and based on the ground realities. These recommendations would be shared with the relevant forums to enhance the capacity of Police and Prosecution in Balochistan to ensure effective and timely justice to the citizens.' A decision was unanimously reached that a followup workshop would be conducted to draft Standard Operating Procedures based on the deliberations and recommendations of this workshop on Police-Prosecutors Cooperation.