This report focuses on a deteriorating criminal justice sector that fails to prevent or prosecute crime and protects the powerful while victimising the underprivileged. Heavily overpopulated, understaffed and poorly managed, prisons have become a fertile breeding ground for criminality and militancy, with prisoners more likely to return to crime than to abandon it.
With outdated laws and procedures, bad practices and poor oversight, the criminal justice system is characterised by long detentions without trial and few distinctions made between minor and major criminals. Prisons have nearly 33,000 more prisoners than authorised, the large majority remand prisoners awaiting or on trial. Given weak accountability mechanisms for warders and prison superintendents, torture and other abuses are rampant and rarely checked. A permissive environment, along with abysmal living conditions, has made prisons a hotbed of drug abuse, violence, and criminality. Illegal detentions by the military, by exacerbating local grievances, also create a fertile ground for militant recruitment, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.