Sindh amends policing rules to bar immediate arrest of people named in criminal cases

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Karachi: The Sindh government has approved a proposal to bar the police from arresting anyone merely on the basis that his or her name has been mentioned in a criminal case or First Information Report (FIR).

A meeting of the Sindh cabinet held on Saturday with Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in the chair approved the proposal to amend the police rules in the province to this effect.

“There was a lacunae in the criminal justice system of Pakistan that gives the impression that it becomes obligatory upon the police to arrest any person if his name is mentioned in an FIR,” said Adviser to Sindh CM on Law and Environment, Barrister Murtaza Wahab, in his video message after the cabinet meeting.

He said that because of this lacunae, several innocent people were arrested by the police.

“Such innocent persons after arrest have to spend time in the lock-up of the police stations and later in jail. This creates extra burden on the state as the prison management is a major obligation of the government,” said Wahab.

He said that such undue detentions also create burden on the judiciary as the courts hear the cases related to the bail applications of such imprisoned people named in the FIR.

He said the Sindh government had decided to reform the criminal justice system to remove this lacunae.

“A proposal was prepared to amend the police rules to make sure that anyone named in the FIR is not immediately arrested. Instead police will arrest the accused only under certain conditions,” said the Sindh Law Adviser.

These conditions include:

1. Presence of credible evidence against the accused showing his implication in a criminal act.

2. The accused would abscond if he remained free.

3. The accused would intimidate the witnesses to a crime incident, or the accused nominated in the FIR would tamper with the evidences of the case.

Wahab said that in certain conditions, the investigating officers of the police would now seek due permission from their superiors before arresting anyone mentioned in a criminal case.

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