Pakistan’s criminal justice system has historically been a source of debate and controversy. For a long time, it has been marred with multiple issues and challenges. Despite significant legislative and judicial reforms, the system has failed to provide victims of crimes with prompt and equitable justice, and severe inadequacies continue to damage Pakistani citizens’ lives. The purpose of this article is to identify the system’s flaws and to propose appropriate system reformation strategies. Mal-administration; the rigidity of the system; corruption; a lack of resources and abuse of power have long plagued the criminal justice system. These issues have resulted in a system that is often unjust and fails to defend its citizens’ rights. Some of the primary challenges confronting victims, accused, and their families in their pursuit of justice are listed below: – The period it takes to resolve cases is one of the major problems with Pakistan’s criminal justice system. It is anticipated that it will take many years to conclude all of the pending cases due to the expanding case backlog. The delay is primarily due to a paucity of judges, prosecutors, and court personnel as well as a lack of adequate infrastructure and technology. – Another key concern in Pakistan’s criminal justice system is power abuse. Abuse can take many different forms, such as judges giving politically unpopular people harsh punishments or police officers using excessive force. The police are routinely accused of violence, torture, and extrajudicial killings during investigations and interrogations. In addition to violating the accused’s core human rights, this also erodes public trust in the legal system. – The justice system of Pakistan also suffers from the lack of effective legal aid and assistance for the accused. The majority of those charged suffer disadvantages in court because they cannot afford an attorney. The state-funded legal aid system is ineffective and ineffectual at guaranteeing fair representation to the accused. – The integrity and impartiality of Pakistan’s judicial system are undermined by the pervasiveness of corruption and nepotism. Law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and judges are routinely accused of accepting bribes, tampering with evidence, and favouring influential people or organizations. Crime victims suffer as a result, and public confidence in the justice system is also eroded. – The nation’s criminal justice system falls short of providing adequate protection for crime witnesses and victims. Since they fear reprisal or vengeance from the accused or their associates, many witnesses and victims are reluctant to testify. In addition to impeding criminal investigation and prosecution, the absence of protection for witnesses and victims also perpetuates a climate of impunity. – Lack of resources is just another significant hurdle the system must overcome. Numerous courts and police stations are understaffed, and their employees lack the tools and training they need to perform their jobs effectively. This causes protracted delays in trials and investigations, possibly leading to the long-term incarceration of innocent people. – In addition to the challenges listed above, there is a lack of transparency, political and other influence on law enforcement agencies, the absence of a community policing system, deficiencies in monitoring and evaluation of law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, an ineffective mechanism for redress of grievances, ineffective liaising between institutions involved in the system, slow evolution of laws and procedures, scantiness of supplementary training and capacity building programs for law enforcement personnel, prosecutors & judges, absence of financial autonomy to prisons, non-adoption of modern technologies in policing and judiciary are some avenues that need to be worked on. Finding solutions to the challenges listed above is achievable, but the will for improvement is the foremost requirement. As a humble student of law, I offer a few suggestions and proposals to address the challenges that are deteriorating the country’s criminal justice system: – The first step in system reform must be to confront the menace of corruption. This can be accomplished by imposing harsh penalties on corrupt officials and establishing an independent monitoring agency to investigate and prosecute corrupt officials. Furthermore, increasing the salaries of government officials is critical, as the meagre remuneration paid to law enforcement officials is insufficient to provide for their families. The state-funded legal aid system is ineffective at guaranteeing fair representation to the accused. – Think tanks should be developed for monitoring along-with intra departmental tiers for effective monitoring. For an efficient and effective judiciary and law enforcement, modern rules and procedures must also be devised with the support of these think tanks. – To improve transparency and accountability, information technology solutions should be implemented to monitor and report performance outputs and misconduct regularly. IT systems can also be utilized to fix cases; assisting in the reduction of the mountainous backlog of cases. – Key Performance Indicators need to be created and performance evaluations should be done based on these KPIs objectively. – The majority of the substantive and procedural legislation governing administration is pre-colonial. Laws must be regularly updated and modified in response to the changing dynamics of society. Offences against the lawful exercise of authority, interference with and influencing public offices, misuse/abuse of authority by public officials, and offences impacting public safety and health need serious consideration. – To stay up with global technological advances, modern techniques of criminal investigation must be used. This would directly increase law enforcement agencies’ operational capability. – Public prosecutors are a fundamental aspect of the criminal justice system; nonetheless, their presence is undervalued in the system. There is a dire need to empower this office as it can serve as a check on the investigation conducted by law enforcement agencies. – Continuous capacity-building measures and training for presiding officers of courts can increase judicial efficiency. Modern tools, such as video conferencing, can be used to make the litigation process more efficient and convenient. Soft filing can go a step further in improving the pace of justice and record keeping. – Steps should be taken to reduce the number of those awaiting trial in prison. In addition, separate jails for convicted inmates must be built. It is also vital to establish a grievance redressal system for prisons. – Parole and probation systems should be strengthened and judges should be trained in such laws. More resources need to be allocated to the parole and probation department. – To empower the judiciary to act independently and impartially, the budget and resources allocated to the judiciary must be increased, resulting in the creation of more judicial positions to reduce the backlog of cases, and ensuring that judges are appointed based on merit and not political affiliations. – The government should invest in the system by providing resources such as additional employees, sophisticated technology, and specialized training programs. Furthermore, for law enforcement personnel to work efficiently, their work timings should be reduced to 8 hours. – Police officers should get human rights and procedural justice training. This training will assist police officers better grasp their public responsibilities while ensuring that they act in accordance with the law. – The government should take steps to improve access to legal aid services, such as opening clinics in remote regions and giving financial support to organizations that provide legal aid. – Last but not least, restorative justice is an approach to dealing with criminals that focuses on fixing the harm caused by their actions rather than simply punishing them. Restorative justice programs may reduce the burden on the criminal justice system while also encouraging community involvement in the justice process. Other countries’ examples can serve as a reference for Pakistan’s efforts to modernize its criminal justice system. The United States, for example, has undergone significant transformations in recent years. Police body cams, which have been demonstrated to lower instances of police violence and increase inquiry transparency, have been deployed by many states. Additionally, some states have changed their bail laws to reduce the number of people held without bail pending trial. Another example is the establishment of an independent monitoring organization to review police misconduct in South Africa. This organization has been crucial in reinforcing public confidence in the police and holding police officers responsible for their actions. Moreover, as an alternative to merely punishing offenders, South Africa has established a restorative justice system that places an emphasis on criminal rehabilitation and repairing the damage done to victims. To summarise, improving Pakistan’s criminal justice system is a complex and multifaceted endeavour that necessitates a comprehensive strategy and collaboration from various stakeholders. A desire for improvement, adequate policymaking in this regard, and the requisite actions can convert this inefficacious system into a better one. The writer is a lawyer and can be reached at email@example.com.