Pakistan panel to review criminal case rulings since 1947

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is going to set up a commission that will allow people to file appeals on cases decided by courts since 1947, the year the country was born.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will announce the setting up of the commission which will review criminal cases and determine possible miscarriage of justice in cases, Dawn reported Wednesday.

Gilani cleared the proposal to set up the panel after a presentation by his adviser Nawabzada Ghazanfar Gul.

Gul has been working on establishing the commission after studying Britain’s Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).

It is, however, still not finalised when the proposed commission, comprising three judges, will be formed.

The media report said people will have the right to file review appeals with the commission on cases decided by courts since 1947.

If merit is found in the appeal, then the matter will be referred to the court concerned for a hearing.

There are fears that the proposed commission may be opposed by the higher judiciary whose verdicts would be reviewed by it.

Former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s hanging in 1979 is thought to be the motivating factor behind the Pakistan Peoples Party government’s move to set up the panel.

The PPP believes that the punishment awarded to Mr Bhutto was based on injustice and being a national hero he must be exonerated, a senior government official was quoted as saying.

The prime minister’s secretariat and the law ministry were jointly working on the issue, sources said.

The commission proposal is soon expected to be presented to President Asif Ali Zardari for approval.

In Britain, the commission is based in Birmingham and has a staff of about 100.

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