According to new directives by the session judge of Peshawar, Ashfaq Taj, local courts will begin virtual trials of suspected criminals on an experimental basis. The intent behind this shift is the elimination of the logistics involved in moving hundreds of prisoners from jail to their respective courts. Plus, it is advocated to be a good method for keeping records. As promising as all this sounds, there are certain realities like poor internet connection, lack of computer systems, and an overwhelmed justice system that will derail the overall objective.

As of right now, the policy of virtual trials is only being implemented in Peshawar from where an average of 280 prisoners are transported from jails to the district and sessions court for their hearing. The entire process not only requires transport but extra security to maintain law and order, along with supervising the criminals. There are certain logistics that create unnecessary hardships in regards to management, and can often result in delays. So virtual trials will have some utility to them, and will create immense convenience due to which all authorities can focus on maintaining order and can work with continued momentum.

However, there are certain problems that must be addressed before such ambitious initiatives are implemented. The quality of the trial over a digital platform and in-person should not differ drastically. Each individual has a right to a fair trial and if such changes prove to be detrimental to that, the policy should be revised. Additionally, there are certain practicalities that must be considered; internet access and speed is often an issue, especially up north. Power outages are common and well performing computer systems will be needed to ensure that the entire process functions smoothly. Without installing these systems, the already overburdened judiciary will face more delays that will postpone emergent cases forward. No policy should add to this and elongate the process to getting justice so particular emphasis must be placed on the experimental stages. And should it be a success, we can think about expanding the scope of the policy to other cities.