Senior prosecutors on Friday demanded the removal of Sindh Prosecutor General Dr Faiz Shah over what they said defaming and demoralising the entire department after he wrote a letter to the caretaker law minister, seeking appointments of “competent persons” as prosecutors to plead high-profile cases.
In a joint representation to the provincial law secretary, nine additional prosecutors general regretted the prosecutor general’s “conduct and actions”, stating that Dr Faiz Shah has “always demoralised, disgraced, [and] devalued the prosecutors of district courts, special courts and higher courts, which is resulting in decreasing the ratio of conviction.”
Rejecting the contents of the letter as “baseless, misguiding and incorrect”, they said it actually was the “defamation of the prosecutor general’s office”.
“During four years’ tenure of Dr Faiz as the prosecutor general Sindh, he has never tried to address the difficulties faced by the prosecutors and no single problem of the prosecutors of districts, special and higher courts was resolved during his period for lack of ownership of the office,” read the representation.
The APGs said that the prosecutor general’s letter seeking appointment of a penal of advocates as prosecutors was against the law and a judgement of the Supreme Court. They demanded that the PG immediately withdraw the letter and resign from the post. Otherwise, they warned, they would follow every legal forum by filing petitions and observe a strike to have their grievance redressed.
Talking to The News, Additional Prosecutor General Saleem Akhtar Buriro lamented that Dr Faiz had failed to address the issues faced by prosecutors in the past four years. “There are over 1,000 prosecutors in the province, including over 30 alone at the Karachi head office to plead cases before 9-10 benches of the Sindh High Court, yet the PG wrote a letter for appointment of special prosecutors on a contract basis,” he said, adding that he didn’t bother to meet prosecutors, let alone addressing their issues.
“All prosecutors are hardworking and they plead cases to the best of their abilities,” a female prosecutor, who appears in an anti-terrorism court, said. “They work tirelessly without security despite facing life threats. Some prosecutors even travel on the same buses as the accused.”
When contacted, Dr Faiz Shah said that the prosecutors made baseless accusations against him in response to the letter he had written. He added that they harboured grudge towards him because of the letter.
In the November 10, 2023 letter to the caretaker law minister and provincial secretary, Dr Faiz Shah stated that additional prosecutors general and deputy prosecutors general were reluctant to work after court working hours.
“The additional prosecutors general and deputy prosecutors general are not hard working and reluctant to work after the court hours (01:30pm), the same situation is depicted from the performance of trial Prosecutors,” read the letter.
“The idea for recruitment and appointment of prosecutors on a permanent basis was a guarantee for independence of the prosecution as has been happening in the international community, where prosecutor is a gate-keeper to forward the actual case based on admissible evidence while withholding the cases of insufficient evidence or gross violation of human right culminating into a frivolous case at the hands of police.”
“Nevertheless, looking to the present situation, 5 to 10 competent persons/Barristers may be appointed as special prosecutors on fix monthly basis (as the case to case basis would cost very high) and if the Minister for Law is pleased to agree, summary may be moved to the chief minister Sindh after consultation with finance department for financial burdens of special budget.”