Ensuring citizens’ right to fair trials and justice through police and prosecution cooperation in Balochistan

16 March 2023, Quetta - The Government of Balochistan is working to enact modern rule of law reforms so that everyone, including the province's many marginalised and vulnerable communities, can have access to justice in a timely manner. Given the regional context of fragility, conflict, and violence in Balochistan, the role of first response and investigation mechanisms must be strengthened to ensure prompt and fair justice for the citizens.

Important pillars of a society's criminal justice system include investigation officers from the police for gathering evidence and preparing the First Information Report (FIR), and public prosecutors in carrying out a due diligence process through a legal lens to accept or reject cases, or to move them to the court for disposition. Consistent communication and collaboration between these two key pillars — police and prosecution — is considered a core principle under globally accepted rules of business of the Criminal Justice System in an effort to make the best decisions about crimes and defendants. 

With funding from the US Embassy's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) held its third Consultative Workshop on Police Prosecutors Cooperation on March 15, 2023 in Naseerabad, Balochistan in collaboration with the Balochistan Police and Prosecution Department. The purpose was to advance progress from the earlier consultation to develop a consensus and shared understanding regarding how to strengthen coordination and rapport between police and prosecutors in order to eliminate existing obstacles and gaps in conducting objective and efficient investigations.

A cross-section of police, law enforcement, and district public prosecution departments were represented at the seminar, including mid-level regional police representatives and investigation officers from Balochistan Police and District Public Prosecutors from Balochistan Prosecution. 

The discussions brought to light daily issues faced by the police and the prosecution to ensure efficient investigation and responses to local crimes through fair trials. Participants exchanged experiential knowledge and lessons to identify obstacles and provide optimal solutions for enhancing meaningful cooperation and communication between police and prosecution at various phases of inquiry, such as FIR, challan preparation, and processes leading to the fair delivery of trials.

The workshop was a significant step towards successfully concluding the ongoing consultative process to test and formalize Standard Operating Procedures and institutionalized mechanisms that promote effective police-prosecution cooperation at the district level. This will eventually ensure that a transparent and legitimately accountable justice delivery process is institutionalized to serve all aggrieved citizens and communities in Balochistan.

The Police-Prosecution Workshop in Naseerabad was funded by the US Embassy's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) as part of Pakistan's Terrorism Prevention Programme (PTP2) with reference to Sindh and Balochistan.