Criminology and Criminal Justice System of Pakistan

Criminal law, the body of law that defines criminal offenses, regulates the
apprehension, charging, and trial of suspected persons, and fixes penalties and modes of treatment applicable to convicted offenders. Criminology is the study of crime. In this article, I am going to discuss the Criminology and the criminal justice system of Pakistan. Let’s start with understanding the nature of criminal law first.

Nature of Criminal Law

Criminal law is distinctive for the uniquely serious, potential consequences or sanctions for failure to abide by its rules. Every crime is composed of criminal elements. Capital punishment may be imposed in some jurisdictions for the most serious crimes.

Physical or corporal punishment may be imposed such as whipping or caning, although these punishments are prohibited in much of the world. Individuals may be incarcerated in prison or jail in a variety of conditions depending on the jurisdiction. Confinement may be solitary.

The length of incarceration may vary from day to live. Government supervision may be imposed, including house arrest, and convicts may be required to conform to particularised guidelines as part of a parole or probation regimen. Fines also may be imposed, seizing money or property from a person convicted of a crime.

Now let’s discuss the 5 objects that are liable for punishment under criminal law:

  • Retribution
  • Deterrence
  • Incapacitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Restoration

The jurisdiction of these objects is different in nature. Let’s discuss them individually below.


Balance the scales: Criminals ought to Be Punished in some way. This is the most widely seen goal. Criminals have taken improper advantage, or inflicted unfair detriment, upon others and consequently, the criminal law will put criminals at some unpleasant disadvantage to “balance the scales.”

Righting the balance: People submit to the law to receive the right not to be murdered and if people contravene these laws, they surrender the rights granted to them by the law. Thus, one who murders may be executed himself. A related theory includes the idea of “righting the balance.”


Individual deterrence is aimed toward the specific offender. The aim is to impose a sufficient penalty to discourage the offender from criminal behavior. General deterrence aims at society at large. By imposing a penalty on those who commit offenses, other individuals are discouraged from committing those offenses.


Designed simply to keep criminals away from society so that the public is protected from their misconduct. This is often achieved through prison sentences today. The death penalty or banishment has served the same purpose.


Aims at transforming an offender into a valuable member of society. Its primary goal is to prevent further offense by convincing the offender that their conduct was wrong.


This is a victim-oriented theory of punishment. The goal is to repair, through
state authority, any injury inflicted upon the victim by the offender. For example, one who embezzles will be required to repay the amount improperly acquired.

Criminal law concerns the system of legal rules that define what conduct is classified as a crime and how the government may prosecute individuals that commit crimes.

In instances where an individual fails to adhere to a particular criminal statute, he or she commits a criminal act by breaking the law. This is the reason that the state stands as a prosecutor against the alleged culprit.

After knowing this, it is time to understand the criminal justice system of Pakistan.

Understanding “Criminal Justice System of Pakistan”

Pakistan has a very detailed criminal law that is outdated to some extent but it tends to cover all aspects that do constitute a crime. To understand the criminal law in Pakistan one needs to understand the sociocultural phenomena of this country also.

Most of the criminal law that has been prevailing in Pakistan was introduced by the British Empire when India was a colony and Pakistan was part of it. Even then care was taken to understand the social conditions and criminal law was tried to be conditioned according to the cultural circumstances of the colony.

This is the reason that it was wilfully accepted by India and Pakistan both after
their freedom from British Empire. The Code of Criminal Procedure (V of 1898) that was implemented in the colony is still largely the prescribed criminal procedure followed by the courts in Pakistan. Similarly, the Penal Code (XLV of 1860) that was introduced in the colony is still largely followed in the shape of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Supreme Court being the apex court of Pakistan has the supreme administrative authority over the functionality of all the criminal courts of Pakistan.

When any person is apprehended for committing any crime, after investigation – that is to be completed within 14 days u/Sec. 173 of Criminal Procedure Code (Cr PC), he or she is subjected to rigorous trial in the prescribed criminal court that has jurisdiction in the said matter.

The court before the commencement of trial is duty bound to allow an alleged offender to appoint defense counsel of his / her choice under Article 10 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The Court pronounces a Charge against an alleged offender that describes the nature of the offense and the nature of the act or omission that constitutes a specific crime. Thereafter, the prosecution is given an opportunity to present evidence that it has against the alleged offender.

The defense counsel of the alleged offender is given full opportunity to cross-examine and object to the prosecution evidence, within the prescribed limits of the law. Though prosecution being the duty of the state is to be conducted by the state-appointed counsels but any person who is aggrieved by the offense can appoint his or her own prosecution counsel, in addition to the state counsels already duty bound to prosecute.

After the prosecution concludes its evidence the presiding Judge put certain questions u/Sec. 342 Cr PC to the alleged offender. These questions are very crucial as the presiding Judge gives an opportunity to the alleged offender to explain incriminating evidence against him/her. The alleged offender is also given an opportunity to appear as his own witness.

Moreover, he or she is also given an opportunity to present documentary evidence and witnesses in his or her defense. After the conclusion of defense evidence, the trial is concluded and the Presiding Judge pronounces judgment. The judgment could be acquittal or punishment.

In both cases prosecution and alleged offender has right to appeal against the judgement of the trial court. The appeal is made to the immediate superior court of the trial court.

Punishment is a universally accepted mode of retribution and deterrence. Punishment varies with the nature of the crime. Different punishments can be given for the same crime. But retrospective punishment and double punishment, in any case, is specifically prohibited by the Constitution of Pakistan.

The Constitution of Pakistan specifically demarcates the contours of Criminal Law of
Pakistan by stating unequivocally in Article 9: “No person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law”. And the Law shall never be against the universally accepted Fundamental Rights, this is specifically and explicitly enshrined in Article 8 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The fundamentals of criminal law are based on the principle of justice, equity and good conscience. They provide adequate guidelines for the formulation a rational penal policy.

In Pakistan, the major statutes relating to criminal law are the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 and the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898. Out of these two the former deals with defining all the offenses and mentioning their punishments along, the former is specifically a code of procedure.

The Criminal Procedure Code prescribes the Constitution of the Criminal Courts and
its offices and speaks of the powers of the courts. It contains various general provisions pertaining to the information to the Magistrates and Police and gives the procedure of arrest, escape,s and relating to the process to compel appearance through summons, warrant of arrest, proclamation and attachment, and other rules regarding processes.

The Criminal Procedure Code further defines the steps of submission of sentences for confirmation, execution, suspensions, remissions, and computations of sentences, previous acquittals, and convictions.

This also dictates the steps of Appeals, References, and Revisions. It further has special provisions relating to cases in which European and Pakistan British subjects are concerned and lunatics.

Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 specifies the extent of punishments against different crimes and offenses committed within Pakistan and beyond Pakistan but which by law may be tried within Pakistan and extraterritorial offenses.

The PPC further assigns the policy of general exceptions, right of private defense, abetment, and criminal conspiracy. It further requires actions against offenses against the state, relating to the Army, Navy, and Air Force and against public tranquillity.


Criminal law deals with behavior that is or can be construed as an offense
against the public, society, or the state even if the immediate victim is an individual.
Examples are murder, assault, theft, and drunken driving. Civil law deals with behavior that constitutes an injury to an individual or other private party, such as a corporation. Examples are defamation (including libel and slander), breach of contract, negligence resulting in injury or death, and property damage.

This is how the Criminology and the criminal justice system of Pakistan work together. I hope you have to understand it well as this will be helpful in preparing for your CSS examination. If you have any questions ask them in the comment section below.

Take some time to follow our Facebook page and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

See these as well:


I am interested in writing content for educational purpose.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x