About time somebody brought everybody’s attention to how failure of the police force to investigate cases properly later affects court judgments and the judiciary is held responsible. While that is not to say that the legal fraternity is free of any misconduct, incompetence or even corruption by any stretch of the imagination, it does highlight the fact that the main responsibility of investigating and preparing necessary reports about any crime rests with the police. And, taking the capital city police force as an example Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah was forced to lament, while hearing the petition regarding the recent mysterious disappearance of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Joint Director Sajjad Gondal, that there was still no prosecution branch in Islamabad even though it was supposed to be a model city, and that the “standard of police investigation is extremely poor.” Now the PM’ special advisor Shahzad Akbar will have to present a report about the matter to his boss the prime minister in two weeks and also submit a detailed report to the IHC in three weeks. While there is little if any chance of a thorough report being put together in such little time, it is still important to get the ball rolling.
And that is precisely what the honourable court has done. For it is not just incompetence that affects police investigation and therefore court verdicts, there is also the matter of extreme corruption and fudging of important information in official reports that has become so usual that everybody has come round to accepting things as they are.
It is also very surprising, and indeed unacceptable, that the SECP joint director was abducted and nobody as yet has any idea about what really happened; other than the few people who do know of course but nobody expects them to spill the beans. Together the police and courts are supposed to be the people’s ultimate helpline. It’s a shame really that people have been let down so badly by the two institutions whose only rationale of existence is providing them constitutionally-mandated support. It’s good of the IHC chief justice to take note of at least one of the many problems that plague the police force. This is, after all, the only way of starting the long process that is going to fix all the problems one by one. This is, as the CJ said himself, about the rights of the layman.