Judicial/Legal Monitoring


NCHR’s Complaint Redressal function involves a quasi-judicial role, an investigative role, and a monitoring role. This function has four types of interventions and related processes, namely:

1) NCHR’s role as an inquiring body/court (in turn on complaint or suo moto)

2) NCHR’s role as an intervener in on-going court proceedings

3) NCHR’s role as an investigator into human rights violations

4) NCHR’s role as an inspector of jails and places of detention

NCHR has the powers to call witnesses, gather evidence, require furnishing of information etc. The NCHR Act provides it the opportunity to meticulously take up important human rights issues and build a substantiated and persuasive case for rights implementation.

NCHR Complaint Redressal

Complaint Status from December 2021 to February 2024
Sr. No. Complaints/Suo Moto Numbers
1 Fresh Complaints received during the period 1774
2 Cases where Suo Motu action has been taken 396
  Total 2170
3 No. of Complaints Disposed Off 1464
4 No. of Complaints Under Process 706

*There were an additional 1968 complaints/Suo motu that NCHR received in the time between the first and current commission which have also been resolved

Jaranwala Incident

August 16th saw the ransacking of the city of Jaranwala in Faisalabad Division, Punjab. Within twenty-four hours, a mob of 1200 people, mostly youth had gutted a total of 17 churches and 40 homes with an additional 40+ houses vandalised and partially destroyed. NCHR’s team was the first to respond to the situation and visited the vandalised sites the following day to see first-hand the damage wrought, and to meet with district administration, religious leaders, and the families affected by the attacks.

A sentiment analysis by NCHR and partner CSO Bytes 4 All (B4A) revealed that a majority of the posts on twitter and Facebook during the day of the attack contained content that was inciting and inflammatory in nature. In response to NCHR and B4A reporting Facebook took action by removing the large volume of incendiary content from their platform.

NCHR penned an open letter to the Prime Minister outlining the findings of the visit and recommending strategies and policies for the government to adopt to prevents such incidents in the future.

NCHR repeatedly followed up with visits to Jaranwala to distribute relief packages to the families affected in the violence, including the distribution of Rs. 2 million to 80 families. The Commission also inspected the reconstruction of churches in the area, held meetings of interfaith harmony committees, and conducted sessions with heads of schools and colleges encouraging interfaith harmony. A helpline to report complaints faced by the Christian community was also set up. Read NCHR’s full report on this incident and the Commission’s response.

NCHR’s Jail Visits

Under the NCHR Act 2012, the Commission “may visit any jail, place of detention or any other institution or place under the control of the government or its agencies, where convicts, under trial prisoners, detainees or other persons are lodged or detained.”

Prisons in Pakistan are subject to budget restraints resulting in staff shortage, with existing staff working prolonged hours that are detrimental to their health, and outdated infrastructure and facilities at jails. Overcrowded cells, poor ventilation systems, outdated medical and educational facilities, and lack of recreational space create an abysmal atmosphere for the inmates. A large percentage of Pakistan’s prison population is still under-trial, with slow trials and discrepancies in court proceedings exacerbating the existing issue of overcrowding at prisons.

List of Jails NCHR visited across Pakistan (multiple visits):

NCHR’s Inquiry into Torture at Adiala Jail

NCHR investigated allegations of torture at Central Jail (Adiala), Rawalpindi at the behest of Chief Justice Athar Minallah on the basis of a complaint of custodial torture filed by Ms. Imtiaz Bibi before the Islamabad High Court. Following multiple visits to the jail to investigate and meet with inmates, NCHR prepared an inquiry report for the Islamabad High Court.

As a result of NCHR’s investigation and inquiry report the following actions were taken:

  • Action was taken against officials working within Adiala Jail: seven officials were removed from service; four officials were suspended for 90 days; and 38 officials were transferred out of Adiala Jail
  • Complaint cell set up and Oversight Committee for Adiala Jail notified by NCHR to inquire into complaints of torture
  • Reactivation of Implementation Commission under the Ministry of Human Rights
  • Notification of Human Rights Courts under Section 21 of the NCHR Act, 2012
  • Punjab Police developed a training module on Custodial Torture & Custodial Death to be made part of the syllabus of all promotional and mandatory courses
  • Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Act was passed
  • Amendment to the Railways Act was passed which abolished the death penalty for offences under Section 127 of the Act
  • NCHR prepared a manual for police and medico-legal examiners on the best practices of investigating torture complaints based on domestic law and international standards

Juvenile Justice at Adiala Jail

During its investigation into custodial torture at Adiala Jail, NCHR took suo moto notice of the large number of under-trial prisoners and the lack of implementation of the Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018. Out of a total of 82 juvenile prisoners 79 were under trial – 29 of whom were without legal representation which was in contravention to Section 3(1) of the JJSA, 2018. NCHR included the situation of the juvenile prisoners in its inquiry report to the Islamabad High Court.

With the help of a pro bono lawyer NCHR was able to provide under-trial inmates with legal representation leading to the release of 75 children. NCHR’s intervention and recommendations also led to the first ever Notification of Juvenile Justice Committees in Islamabad under Section 10 of JJSA, 2018.

Translate »