Explore our work by: Country

Project Case Study

Modernising Pakistan’s criminal justice sector

Giving government the tools for fairer criminal justice

With a weak and outdated criminal justice legal framework, and multiple institutions involved, the Pakistani state has had limited capacity to efficiently dispense justice. Investigations can be weak, prosecutors have a limited mandate and judges have struggled to adjudicate within set timelines, leading to some 1.8 million case backlogs across Pakistani courts.

Pakistan has consistently ranked as one of the worst countries in the delivery of rule of law, ranking 105th out of 113 countries according to the World Justice Report 2017-2018.

We set out to operationalise deep structural and institutional reforms in the criminal justice sector at the federal level and in two provinces, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These reforms are the first of their type and scale.

Project info

Justice Systems Support Programme (JSSP)


  • 2016 - 2020

In 2018 the provincial government and judicial leadership in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa agreed to a rule of law reform roadmap. The Government of Punjab then agreed to a rule of law reform roadmap in January 2019. For the first time, the executive and judicial provincial leaderships will be equipped with performance indicators and data enabling them to review and coordinate multiple reform initiatives.

These performance indicators, complemented by improved standards and compliance mechanisms, will increase the use of forensic and scientific evidence by legal professionals, especially in cases of sexual violence and homicide.

Project success

  • A criminal justice reform roadmap and a costed implementation plan for the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was accepted by the judicial and executive provincial leadership.
  • KP Police’s investigation budget increased by 295%, as a result of public financial management support provided through the programme.
  • Developed a new Government of Punjab plan to hire, deploy and efficiently manage probation and parole officers, leading to greater use of non-custodial measures and reduction in prison population.
  • The Police in Punjab accepted modern standards for investigating rape crimes, equipping investigators with the knowledge to collect forensic and scientific evidence successfully.
  • A new Government of KP corrections policy to strengthen the capacity of institutions that exercise non-custodial measures and support the rehabilitation of offenders into society.

Our Work

Explore our work to transform lives by making economies stronger, societies more stable, and governments more effective.