KARACHI: Questioning the performance of his own team, the prosecutor general, Sindh, has sought appointment of what he called competent persons as special prosecutors to plead high-profile cases, it emerged on Wednesday.

In a letter sent to the caretaker law minister and provincial secretary, Prosecutor General Dr Faiz Shah stated that incumbent additional and deputy prosecutor generals were not reluctant to work after court working hours.

He suggested the appointment of “competent persons/barristers” as special prosecutors on a monthly basis.

Dr Shah stated in the letter: “The additional prosecutors general and deputy prosecutors general are not hard working and reluctant to work after the court hours (01:30pm), the same situation is depicted from the performance of trial prosecutors.”

Sindh prosecutor general approaches law dept for recruitment of barristers on fixed monthly salaries

He maintained that the idea for recruitment and appointment of prosecutors on a permanent basis was a “guarantee for independence of the prosecution as had been happening in the international community, where prosecutor was a gate-keeper to forward the actual case based on admissible evidence while withholding the cases of insufficient evidence or gross violation of human right culminating into a frivolous case at the hands of police”.

“Nevertheless, looking to the present situation, 5 to 10 competent persons/Barristers may be appointed as special prosecutors on fix monthly basis,” he stated and explained that the appointment on a case-to-case basis would cost more.

“…If the minister for law is pleased to agree, summary may be moved to the chief minister Sindh after consultation with finance department for financial burdens of special budget,” the letter concluded.

It may be recalled that in 2017, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, had declared improper the government practice of engaging private counsel to plead their cases in court.

The 19-page judgement, authored by Justice Qazi Faez Isa who is now the chief justice of Pakistan, had stated that this practice must stop.

When contacted, Dr Shah told Dawn that the recommendation was made to hire prosecutors/lawyers on an apprenticeship basis.

Replying to another question about high-profile cases mentioned in the letter, he said that the prosecutors at the antiterrorism courts were “hard working” and there was no need to appoint special prosecutors to plead high-profile cases before trial courts.

He was of the view that special prosecutors, if appointed, would perform their duties at the prosecutor general office, located on the premises of Sindh High Court, as well as to appear before the high court, to ease the workload.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2023

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