::Criminal Justice System in Pakistan


The term “Criminal Justice” refers to an area of knowledge devoted to controlling crime through the scientific administration of Police, Court and Rehabilitation/Correctional agencies. It is an interdisciplinary field making use of the knowledge basis of sociology, psychology, law, public policy and other related fields.

Criminal Justice is essentially an agency of social control, society considers some behaviors so dangerous and destructive that it choose to either strictly control their occurrance or outlaw them outright. It is the job of the agencies of justice to prevent these behaviors by apprehending and punishing transgressors or deterring their future occurrence. While society maintains other forms of social control, such as parental and school-based discipline, they are designed to deal with moral and not legal misbehavior. Only the Criminal Justice System maintains the power to control crime and punish criminals.

A number of academic disciplines have been drawn upon to develop insights into the causes and prevention of criminal behavior. After taking information from various disciplines and consolidated as the knowledge base for a new era of study. Understanding what knowledge is represented in this field helps us to reach a working definition of Criminal Justice study.

“The study of criminal Justice may be defined as the use of the scientific method to understand the Administration Procedures and policies of those agencies of Government charged with enforcing the law adjudicating crime and correcting criminal conduct. The study of Criminal Justice involves analyzing how there institutions influence human behavior and how they are in turn influenced by law and society.”

The basic frame work of the Pakistan Criminal Justice System is found in the Legislature, Judicial and Executives Branches of the Government. The legislature defines the law by determining what conduct is prohibited and establishes criminal penalties for those who violate the law, the Courts interpret the law and determine whether it meets constitutional requirements, the executive branch plans programs, appoints personal and exercise administrative responsibility for Criminal Justice Agencies. This can be seen herein under:–

Legislative Branch

National Assembly Senate



Law of the land the public




The state constitution grants authority to pass laws. The primary responsibility of legislatures in the Justice System is to define criminal behavior and establish criminal penalties. The law making function involves not only passing bills but also modifying and rejecting them. In addition to establishing definition of crimes, legislatures also pass laws governing Criminal Justice Procedures. These include rules and regulations involving the laws of arrest, search warrants, bail, trial Court proceedings and sentencing. Although the legislature enacts laws, most criminal procedures are established by the Higher Courts. The initiative to pass a law may come from a legislator, a criminal justice agency, a public official, or a group of citizens. The issue is first studied by a legislative committee. Lobbyists and interest group add their influence and knowledge to the discussion and contents of the proposed bill. The respective legislative houses are subsequently given the bill for a vote. In Congress and bicameral state legislatures, if the legislation is not passed in its initial form by both the House of Representatives and Senate, it is given to a joint legislative committee of both houses to work out a compromise. A compromise bill is eventually voted on by both bodies. When the bill has been passed, it is given to the chief executive for his or her signatures. If signed, the bill becomes a law. If vetoed, the bill may be dropped or referred back to the legislature for reconsideration.


Executive Power is vested in such public officials as the President, Governors, Prime Minister and Chief Ministers. They are often actively involved in criminal Justice issues. They have extensive power of appointments; they appoint judges and heads of the administration agencies such as Police Officials, Commissioners and the Chief of other several law enforcing agencies. They have also the authority to remove administrative Personnel. Another important executive function involves the power to grant pardons for crimes. The President can pardon the criminal, even if appeal of a particular criminal is dismissed from the higher appellate Court.

The control and prevention of criminal activity and the treatment and reform of criminal offenders are carried out by the agencies of Government. These public agencies created to maintain order, enforce the criminal law, provide emergency services keep traffic on streets and highways moving freely and create a sense of community safety. First is the Police Department, the system and process of criminal justice depends on effective and efficient police works, particularly when it comes to preventing and detecting crime and apprehending and arresting criminal offenders. Former Chief Justice ofUSAWarren Burger Stressed that:

“The Policemen (or women) on the beat, or in the Petrol car, makes more decisions and exercise broader discretion affecting the daily lives of people everyday and to a greater extent, in many respects, than a judge will ordinarily exercise in a week.”


“It is the part of the system that is most venerable, the most formally organized and the most elaborately circumstances by law and tradition. It is the institution around which the rest of the system has developed and to which the rest of the system is in large measure responsible. It regulates the flow of the criminal process under governance of the law. It is expected to articulate the community’s most deeply held, most cherished views about the relationship of individual and society.”

The criminal Courts regulate the process by which the criminal responsibility of defendants accused of violating the law is determined. The Court is expected to convict and sentenced those found guilty of crimes while ensuring that the innocent are freed without any consequences and burden. The entire criminal Court process is undertaken with the recognition that the rights of the individual should be protected at all times. An accused also has the right to be given due process, or to be treated with fundamental fairness. This includes the right to be present at trial, to be notified of the charge(s), to have an opportunity to examine the witness and to have favorable witness appear.

The District Courts variously called, theCivil Court, Judicial Magistrate,Senior Civil Court, Addl. District & Sessions Court and District & Sessions Courts. They often dispense routine and repetitious justice and are burden with a heavy responsibility. They are not generally equipped to fulfill characterized by cramped Courtrooms, limited personnel, limited number of Judicial Officer, large number of pending cases, different tactic of lawyers and the habitual litigants, remain a critical problem in criminal justice administration. The High Court and Supreme Court are primarily Appellate Courts that do not conduct criminal trial. Question of fact decided in the original Court are not ordinarily reviewed in the Appellate Courts. These Courts deal with procedural errors arising in the lower Courts that are considered violations of rights guaranteed by State or the constitution. The Appellate Court has the authority to affirm, modify or reverse decision of the lower Criminal Court.


The prosecutor and the defense attorney are the opponents in what is known as the adversary system the prosecutor is the public official who represents the Government and present its case against the accused/defendant, who is charged with a violation of the criminal law. The prosecutor is known variously as a district attorney, public prosecutor and is appointed by the Government. The prosecutor is responsible not only for charging the accused with the crime but also for bringing the case to trial and to a final conclusion. The defense attorney on the other hand, is responsible for providing legal defense to the accused. This role involves two major functions.

(i)   Protecting the constitutional right of the accused, and

(ii)  Presenting the best possible legal defense for the accused.

The defense attorney represent a client from initial arrest through the trial stage, during the hearing and if needed through the process of appeal. Any person accused of a crime can obtain the service of a private attorney if he or she can afford to do so. The ultimate objection of the adversary system is to seek the truth, in this way determining the guilt or innocence of the accused from the formal evidence presented at the trial. The system ensure that the accused is given a fair trial, the relevant facts of a given case came on record and that an impartial decision is reached.


Following the criminal trial resulting in conclusion and sentencing, the offender enters the correctional system. The correction involves probation, jails and parole programs for both juvenile and adult offenders. Complicating this system is the dramatic population explosion in the country, and minimum numbers of jails. Apart from that jail system suffers from an extremely poor performance record, many offenders return to crimes shortly after spending their period of sentence. This is due to the lack of effective treatment and training programmes, poor physical environment and health conditions and the fact that offenders in many institution/jails are subjected to violence from other inmates and guards. Some of the major components of correction are discussed below:


Probation is a judicial action that allows the offender to remain in the community, subject to condition imposed by Court order, under the supervision of probation officer. It enables the offender to continue working while avoiding the pains of imprisonment. In advance countries, social services are provided to help the offender adjust in the community; counseling, assistance from social workers and group treatment, as well as the use of community resources to obtain employment, welfare and housing etc. are offered to the offender while on probation. In same countries community based correctional centers have been established for first time offenders where they live while holding a job or obtaining education.


The State reserves the right through the criminal law to hold the criminals in jails. There the jail authorities classify the prisoners. The inmates are assigned to minimum, medium or maximum security classes. Maximum security cells have high walls, barred cells, and careful security measures and have the most dangerous prisoners. Medium class may physically reasonable, more guarded cells but their inmates require less control and therefore can receive more intensive treatment, Minimum security may have separate rooms and offer inmates much freedom and good correctional programmes.


In our country the parole system is not that much established, but in other advanced countries the convicted are selected for early release on the condition that they obey a set of restrictive behavioral rules under the supervision of a parole officer. The main purpose of early release parole is to help the ex-inmate bridge the gap between institutional confinement and a positive adjustment within the community.

After their release offenders are supervised by parole authorities who help them find employment, deal with family and social difficulties and gain treatment for emotional or substance abuse problems. If the offender violate condition of community supervision, parole may be revoked and the parole may be sent back to jail for completion of his confinement period. In countries likeUSAabout 40% of all inmates receive mandatory supervised release.

By: AFTAB AHMED LONE (Additional District & Sessions Judge Balochistan)

Presently: Director (Instructions) Federal Judicial AcademyIslamabad


12 comments on “::Criminal Justice System in Pakistan

  1. sir, we have British laws in vogue, the language of the court is Englsih, law books are in English, there is nothing Islamic in British Laws and yet we say Islamic Republic of Pakistan, sir I see lot of contradiction as a law student. It should be British Republic of Pakistan, give your opinion


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