Who will prosecute the prosecutors?


The rule of prosecutorial immunity has wide-ranging consequences



The selection of the prosecutors is Pakistan is not transparent, and majority of them surely do not meet the criteria laid down in “prosecutors Appointment and condition of services Rules. “Pick and choose policy” can be seen in the prosecution department of all the provinces. Prosecutors in Pakistan are able to cover their wrongdoings and negligence in the courtroom behind the shield of immunity, but they should have no such shield from the public eye. Most unskilled prosecutors are never brought to justice, thanks in large part to the law of Criminal Prosecution Service Act 2009, 2006 & 2015, which holds that prosecutors cannot be sued in person capacity for any negligence on their part and for violating citizens’ fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution of Pakistan 1973, in the courtroom.


Prosecutors in Pakistan, whether working under Provincial Governments as prosecutors in Lower Courts, or working under the federal Government as Special Prosecutor FIA, Customs, Anti-narcotics or NAB etc, are certainly granted immunity for most kind of misconducts, from inappropriate uniforms, using false evidences, suppress exculpatory evidences, intentional negligence, and countless deliberate adjournments, without any fear that they will be held personally liable, even if they maliciously violate the rights of innocent people of Pakistan.


It is unjust for a person to suffer injury as a result of the malicious prosecution of legal proceedings for which there is no reasonable ground and not to be compensated for the injury intentionally caused by the person responsible for it.  Nevertheless, the option of filing a civil suit for damages against the prosecution department is available to the defendants/accused persons; however it does not serve the purpose, as the prosecutors are not personally liable for any negligence on their part.


The rule of prosecutorial immunity has wide-ranging consequences. What that means is that a prosecutor who persuades a witness – especially a Government official, appearing in the capacity of witnesses – to lie under oath, is immune from civil liabilities in his personal capacity, meaning thereby that the accused persons have no legal recourse against the prosecutors. There are clear evidences that substantial numbers of innocent people have been convicted and even sent to death row as a result of prosecutorial negligence, that virtually always goes unsanctioned and unpunished.


In October 2016, The Honourable Supreme Court has acquitted a person, convicted of murder, after ten years, on the basis of contradictory evidences however he did not live to see the day when he would be acquitted as he had already died while serving out his sentence. Additionally, in March 2017, a prosecutor representing the Punjab police, in the anti-terrorism Court, made a statement in the court that “he will guarantee the acquittal of forty two Christians charged with killing two men, if they convert to Islam”. Despondently, the concerned prosecutor was only suspended temporary by the Punjab Prosecution Department, and the concerned Bar Council failed to cancel his practicing license, for the sheer breach of the Legal Practitioners & Bar council Act.


Ensuring that prosecutors are held accountable for breaching their ethical duties is not at all a difficult task nor does it require a constitutional amendment, it would only require the implementation of Canons of Professional Conduct and Etiquette of advocates and Legal Practitioners & Bar council Act 1973 in stricto senso by the Relevant Bar Councils, Ethics and disciplinary committees, and by the Prosecutor Generals of the relevant Provinces.