Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Every few years, the library is High Court Bar Association Rawalpindi is shifted to a new building to discourage litigants from disturbing lawyers in library and to encourage reading habit among learned bar members. 

This is the 9.8 million rupees face lifting of the library aimed at improving the culture of research and case preparation among lawyers. Lawyers entertain their guests here, negotiate fees with their clients, eat unday-wala sandwich and have chai-cigarette. And those who want to study, can take the books to their homes or wait for the library to shift in some new building.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pakistani jails: Fast moving time machines

Almost everyone in Pakistan believes that jail authorities count day and night as two calendar days and that is the fact, according to the people, that those jailed for a certain number of years are released after spending half number of years in jail. This belief is false but the fact is not.
There is a system of remission in Pakistan’s criminal judicial system. Remissions are concessions in one’s punishment that are granted by the government on special occasions i.e. Eids, Defence Day (6 September), Independence Day (14 August), Pakistan Day (23 March), New Year (1 January) and whenever a new government comes in power. These remissions are called special remissions. They often range up to 3 months. Two Eids make it 6 months of no jail.  
Then there are general remissions. They are given to a convict on his good conduct, helping jail authorities to maintain law and order, saving a jail official from attack of fellow inmate, donating blood, getting sterilized, learning to read the holy Quran, getting education in jail etc.
The remissions originating from good conduct range up to 5 days in a month. Donating blood and getting sterilized shortens the sentence up to 3 months. Education is very beneficial. Remissions are awarded according to the percentage of marks obtained in courses or exams.
A person convicted to 4 or less months is not entitled to get remissions. The reason behind remissions is reformation of the convict. The system encourages the convicts to shorten their period in jail by their good conduct. It is like a ladder in the ladder-snake game. You do the right thing and you are sent ahead of your time in jail.
Those who are convicted in cases of espionage and terrorism are not granted remissions. A former client was given 25 years under terrorism law. His sentence will not be shortened and he would have to spend a quarter of the century in jail.

East India Company was the world’s first finger print bureau.

William Herschel was a British official. He was working for the East India Company in India. In the year 1858, he ensured to obtain palm and finger prints of the traders with whom he conducted business. William thought that the practice might compel people into keeping agreements. Pleased with the results, he wrote a letter to the inspector general of Bengal Prisons, asking the inspector general to introduce the system in the jails. However, the reply from the top jail official was not encouraging.
After some years, Edward Henry, the inspector general of Nepal police, introduced the system in jails and police stations. The Nepalese police would obtain finger prints of the accused for identification.
Who found about the uniqueness of finger prints of an individual, is unclear. William and Henry were the first ones who had an intuition that the lines on one’s palm didn’t only tell about the future but they could also link someone with his past crimes.

Why mujay must mahool mai jeenay day would ensure less drug abuse

America imposed prohibition (ban on sale of alcoholic drinks) with a national zeal in year         .The law makers thought that it would purge the society of ills of drunkenness but they were surprised to find mafias mushrooming in the country. Law and order worsened to the extent that dozens would be killed in liquor related ‘crimes’. What had been an ordinary business turned into lucrative smuggling. America tried its best to enforce prohibition, but kept on failing before powerful cartels and mafia families.
The law makers had realized that it was their mistake banning alcohol in the country. What had had remained a food commodity for centuries, they had made a drug out of it and created mafias and criminal gangs in the country. In the year 1933, the US had had enough of the prohibition, the law makers brought in the 18th constitutional amendment which ended the ban on alcohol. The prices of liquor fell overnight. All the liquor-related smuggling issues vanished, giving rise to another interesting phenomenon.  
When the former bootleggers and criminals had no way to make money, they turned to bank robberies and kidnappings. America witnessed a surge in these crimes.
Recently, many countries in the world are removing marijuana from the list of banned intoxicants. The results have been encouraging. Their trade is regularized, which gives the government a fair idea of number of drug users and the amount consumed by them. Statistics have been analyzing the data to formulate future government policies to reduce its consumption.

Why can’t Punjab Police beat London Police

The London police aka the Scotland Yard came into being 186 years ago. It started its work under The London Metropolitan Police Act, 1829. There were no computers, forensics, modern equipment and criminologist at that time, but London police remained committed to effective policing from its inception.
The Metropolitan Police headquarters is located in a compound which once housed Scottish royalty. Hence, the name Scotland Yard.
The British wanted the London police to be the best. Before raising the force, they listed principles which would govern the police. They envisioned that the police must be stable, efficient and organized along military lines. It must be under the government control. No indicator can determine the efficiency of police except the absence of crime. Distribution of crime news among police force was made essential.
Control on one’s temper was declared to be an indispensible quality for the police officers. The lawmakers believed that a quiet determined manner had more effect than a violent action.
The uniform was designed keeping in mind that good appearance commands respect. For the safety and security of the public, every police officer must be given a number prominently displayed on his uniform. The police headquarters must be easily accessible to the people.
To ensure quality policing, it was decided to hire the staff on probation.
Checks on the police were so strict that there were 5,000 dismissals and 6,000 forced resignations from the force during the first three years of its operation.
The Punjab Police Rules 1934, govern the police in Punjab. These rules lack everything what the Metropolitan Police possesses. Since 1934, there were a handful of dismissals and a few forced resignation. The police is still used as a personal force. Hundreds of its staff still guard the houses of wives of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. Half of the force is on VIP duty at any time.
The policing services are available for anyone with the money. You want the police to patrol your area, you have to pay them. You want the police not to patrol your area, you have to pay them.
 There is no discipline in the force. Members are often found harbouring criminals and facilitating mafias. The investigation is corrupt to its core. Investigator demands bribe from the complainant of the case to strengthen his case; and obtains favours from the accused to leave loop holes in the case for him. Things are so organized that bribe is divided among various ranks with professional zeal. Police officers are posted to various police stations with an undertaking that they would provide a specific sum of money every month to higher authority.

KPK police is undergoing a change. Ever since the PTI came into being, there has been 5,000 dismissals from the police force. Nothing disciplines a force better than dismissals. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Corruption: The lawyers way

He is asking bribes for judge
Often your lawyer would tell you that the judge is corrupt and would not decide your case in your favour until you pay him bribe. Then the lawyer would tell you that he has a connection with the judge. You will be required to pay the bribe to the lawyer or some friend of the lawyer. You will not have a one-to-one meeting with the judge. You will be given just the assurance. Often a money back guarantee is given. Since your lawyer can foresee the outcome of your case, he will keep the money in his account. If he looses the case, you get the money and if you win the case, he gets the money and the judge earns the bad name.
A person was offered such a deal. He met the judge on his own and discussed the case. The judge obtained Rs 3 million bribe from him on a Rawalpindi petrol pump and took out a small pocket sized Islamic book and took oath on the holy scripture that he would decide the case in their favour. The judge observed the oath.

He is asking gifts for the judge
The lawyer would tell his client that he is going to meet the judge in the evening or on the weekend and that he intends to take some gifts to his house. The lawyer also promises the client that the former would also discuss latter’s case there. The client is then taken to various shops. All those gifts ultimately ended up in lawyer’s house. A lawyer in Jhelum demanded a VCR for the judge. The client, who had recently returned from Saudia Arabia, provided the VCR within a suit case. The lawyer told the client that the judge not only liked the VCR but also took the suit case. Years later, the client visited the lawyer’s house and found that the VCR which was taken in the name of the judge was lying in lawyer’s TV trolley.

He is asking thousands of rupees for photocopies that are worth a few hundred.
I was conducting a case in anti-corruption court. My opponent lawyer told his client that he needs to present Indian case laws in the court as judge really likes to read Indian case laws. The lawyer asked his client to give his clerk Rs 30,000/- as the books have to be ordered from India and they would come via PIA flight. The ignorant client paid the fee. After the client was gone, the lawyer sent his clerk to the library with instructions to get the law photocopied.

He is asking for exuberant court fees again and again
Whenever a civil case is moved in the court. The law requires a certain amount of court fees. It depends on the value of the case property. The court fee never exceeds Rs 15000/- and it is always deposited in the government’s exchequer. There has been instances where lawyers charged Rs 70 or 80 thousands from ignorant female clients when the court fee was just Rs 15/-.

He has to buy books to prepare your case.
Some lawyers would tell their client that they need certain books to prepare your case. The bill demanded would usually be in thousands.