It is high time that Pakistan’s institutions and Pakistanis, especially the legal fraternity, realise the ignorance that plagues the prioritisation and acknowledgement of the crippling issues of our legal system—especially in regards to reform in the judicial and criminal system. The chaos that is ensuing from a flawed and outdated system is causing a rift in an already fragmented society and creating discontent amongst the masses as the rich can get away with anything through bribes and clout whereas the poor find it difficult to even file a simple First Information Report (FIR). These loopholes must be addressed immediately to avoid further collapse of a system that continues to claim innocents.

All stakeholders must come together for development and the implementation of comprehensive policies and legislation which give the legal system of Pakistan the capacity to provide easy, accessible and swift justice to its citizens, whether rich or poor, without any discrimination. Additionally, they must also strive to create a sense of certain punishment for anyone who was to commit a crime since it has been found to increase the effectiveness of laws in deterring crime and establishing order.

Reforms should be backed with meaningful research which keeps in view social challenges and the constraints of the legal system. Currently, in Pakistan, there is a huge dearth of research in criminology, the study of social behaviours involving crime and the relationship between punishments and their effect on crime. The research that is available centres around western countries and may not be useful for Pakistan in the same way as our culture, traditions, societies, values, beliefs and other factors which govern our social behaviour vary vastly from west. There is a need for a national research centre consisting of multi-disciplinary committees that employ the expertise of professionals in the fields of law and justice, criminology, public policy, psychology, mental health, social behavioural sciences, neurosciences, economics, theology, computer sciences and computer forensics in conducting substantive research surrounding law in Pakistan. Based on their findings, the research body should suggest recommendations to the Ministry of Law and Justice for the introduction of new laws as well as for refinement of existing ones so that they remain relevant to the evolving nature of crimes.

Law enforcement agencies, academia and those involved with research and criminology should be introduced to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning systems as they both come together to successfully meet the need to address issues around the criminal justice system. The Artificial Neural Network (ANN) has been used by researchers to measure the fairness of the judicial system in predicting the outcome of the death penalty for death row inmates. Additionally, these systems and networks can facilitate law enforcement agencies in improving cyber security, enhancing situational awareness and policing as well. They can also be utilised by criminal justice professionals to analyse case law history, assist in the investigative process, help discover and establish evidence accurately, predict anomalous behaviour, crime patterns and uncover criminal networks.

The writer is a student of an LLM programme. He can be reached at muhammadzamanbutt666@gmail.com.