Citing lack of security, special prosecutors have refused to plead cases against hundreds of suspects caught in targeted raids in Karachi, leaving the fate of the ongoing operation in the metropolis hanging in the balance.
According to sources, the law department had, upon the Rangers’ recommendation, appointed six lawyers as special prosecutors to plead cases against suspects arrested during the targeted operation in Karachi – which has been in full swing since September 4.
Rangers and police officials claim to have arrested hundreds of hardened criminals since, but effective prosecution, the sources said, still remains elusive.
“Six prosecutors supposed to represent the Rangers in trial courts have refused to plead their cases,” a prosecutor told The Express Tribune. “Some of them even excused themselves in writing during a recently held meeting with the Rangers high-ups,” he said.
The unwilling prosecutors have cited the lack of security for them and their families as the reason for their refusal.
“Following the brutal killing of senior lawyer Naimat Ali Randhawa, it has become obvious that any lawyer can be targeted by criminals at any moment. There’s no security for us and our families at all,” another prosecutor told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity.
When contacted, a spokesman for the Rangers denied that any of the special prosecutors had refused to plead their cases. The prosecutors themselves, however, stood firm that they would not turn up in courts on behalf of the paramilitary force.
A way out?
According to some senior officers in the government prosecution department, prosecutors from other provinces could be called to represent the Rangers if local lawyers were afraid to do so.
“The Pakistan Protection Ordinance, a federal law that has recently been promulgated by the president, has the provisions to establish federal courts in the provinces. It also allows calling prosecutors from one province to plead the state’s cases in another province,” said a top government law officer.
“Using this provision, lawyers from other provinces can be used to fill the gap left by the local special prosecutors,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2013.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ