Official inefficiency: Slow pace of police investigations delaying dispensation of justice

Incomplete charge-sheets by Pindi police run into thousands; officials cite lack of manpower, resources.


Fawad Ali August 09, 2014

ISLAMABAD:


The inability of police to ensure timely investigation of registered cases and submission of charge-sheets in courts has led to a backlog of incomplete investigations that run into the thousands.


While the victims of various crimes continue to blame the police and the judiciary for delay in resolving of their cases, the performance of Rawalpindi Police continues to get worse in terms of investigating cases and producing complete charge-sheets before the court.

In the last six months, police of the garrison city have failed to complete charge-sheets of 3,576 registered cases of a total of 9,812. Due to a lack of proper accountability, no one in the police department bothers to send a complete file of a case to the court.

Col (retd) Inamur Rahim, a lawyer, said so far not a single rape case in Rawalpindi had been decided due to lack of evidence, delay in registration of FIR, evidence tampering and lack of medical or forensic reports.



Rahim asked how a judge could decide or hear a case if it lacked proper evidence or witnesses. “It makes the job of judges difficult,” he said.

Even in simple cases such as recovery of liquor from someone’s possession, the investigation wing sends incomplete charge-sheets citing unavailability of chemical examiner’s or forensic reports, he informed.

In such cases, the victims are left with no option but to take the law into their own hands or continue visiting the courts for years.

“A separate investigation wing was created in the department – with an aim to ensuring timely investigation of cases,” said Rahim, adding that it has failed to carry out the work that was intended for it.

Former general secretary of the Rawalpindi district bar association, Malik Zaheer Arshad, said there was no check on the investigation branch.

He said it was the responsibility of the branch to register a case, collect evidence and complete investigation within the due period and submit a complete case file before the court.

“The investigation branch should be made efficient and free of corruption. Political interference should also be checked,” Arshad said.

Lawyers claim the police are bound to investigate and produce complete charge-sheets of a case within 14 days of its registration.



They said the number of pending cases was increasing due to incomplete charge-sheets and uninvestigated cases.

“The basic requirement to dispense justice is to strengthen the prosecution department which has become a distant dream in Pakistan,” said Arshad.

The police department claims it is facing immense shortage of investigation officers, resources and training.

“Every investigation officer (IO) investigates eight to 10 cases at a time. It is thus not possible for them to complete the investigation of each and every case and produce a complete file before the court,” said a police official.

Besides, lack of proper training, investigation skills, non-cooperation of victims and political pressure are also some of the causes that create hurdles in investigation processes, according to police officials.

Rawalpindi City Police Officer Humayun Bashir Tarar was unavailable for comments.

Data available with The Express Tribune showed dismal police performance regarding THE investigation of cases. Around 9,812 cases were registered in 30 police station of Rawalpindi District of which only 30 per cent of the cases were investigated.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2014.

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