KP govt asked to set up ATC and consumer courts in tribal districts

Rifaqatullah Razarwal

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of Prosecution figures show about 66 percent of accused in cases of terrorism were freed on account of lack of evidence and other legal grounds during first nine months of current year.

The directorate said that only 34 percent of accused were convicted in cases of terrorism during this period.

On the other hand, prosecution officials said that absence of forensic lab and other technical facilities were hampering the successful prosecution of terror accused.  Similarly, police officials also point out that anti-terrorism personnel were also not taking interest in investigations due to sense of insecurity.

Zeeshanullah, deputy director monitoring, directorate of prosecution KP, told TNN that besides forensic laboratories, the absence of CCTV cameras in main squares of province was also causing hurdles in collection of evidence. “The accused go scot free due to these issues,” he said.

Mr Zeeshan said that whenever any incident of terrorism takes place, police investigators collect forensic evidence and dispatch it to Punjab Forensic Science Laboratory for analysis and it resulted into considerable delay. He said that local police have to submit the evidence before the court within 30 days. “In such a situation how we can appear before a court without solid evidence,” he said.

Besides, he said that the safe city project was also not implemented in the project in the province. “We do not have videos and images of incidents of terrorism due to absence of safe city project,” he said. He said that a working safe city project will benefit the investigating agencies greatly.

However, he said that last year, terrorism accused conviction rate stood at 19 percent, which they have increased with great hard work to 36 percent. “We are working to further improve it,” he said.

Mr Zeeshan said that there were no eyewitnesses in cases of terrorism but investigation needs to done scientifically. He said that in scientific investigation, the investigators have to access mobile and WhatsApp messages, social media messages, call detailed records and email data with the help of telecom companies and lack of cooperation from telecom companies benefits the terrorists.

In addition to this, he said that it was also imperative to ensure protection of investigation officers and their accommodation as well.

The directorate of prosecution record showed that 13 anti-terrorism courts of the province decided 143 cases out of 778 cases of terrorism. In 48 of cases, the accused were convicted.

Dr Syed Akhtar Ali Shah, a former KP Police chief said that the Counter Terrorism Department had all the required power and resources to combat the militancy. However, he said that often their potentials are not fully realized for thorough investigation and such faulty investigations benefit terrorists.

He said that CTD was leading organization to control terrorism and has all the powers to investigate, collection of intelligence and carrying out operations under Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. He said that for the same purpose, CTD police stations have also been setup in the province and the CTD is headed by a DIG level officer.
Dr Shah said that he has not seen any police investigator collecting finger and footprints with gloves; rather, they do so with their bare hands. He said that such evidence has no importance before a court.

Besides, he said that rarely people came forward to testify in cases of terrorism in Pakistan. On the other hand, he said that even investigators live fear for their security as if what happen to him if the accused is released by a court.

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