Amended law to allow plea bargain in criminal cases

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Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has defended the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government after the Transparency International (TI) ranked Pakistan low on its corruption index.

Chaudhry says Pakistan’s score has been affected because of lack of rule of law and state capture — not financial corruption.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the federal cabinet on Tuesday, he also said that the full TI report has not been published yet.

The term “state capture” denotes a type of systemic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state’s decision-making processes to their own advantage.

The information minister said the cabinet has approved amendments to the criminal law and under the amended law, criminal cases will need to be completed within 9 months.

He said that plea bargain would be introduced in criminal cases, the police SHO would be an officer with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and modern devices would be used for evidence collection and forensics.

Chaudhry said the cabinet has also approved Rs5 billion for the census. It will be completed in December this year.

The federal cabinet has also abolished the 45% regulatory duty on the import of pine nuts (chilgoza) from Afghanistan, Chaudhry said.

The decision will help reduce pine nut price, which at the moment stands at Rs6,000 per kilogram.

Chaudhry said the court proceedings of big corruption cases should be televised lives.

He said Shahzad Akbar was a strong person and he would be replaced with an equally strong accountability advisor.



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