Arrests constitute one of the most important duties of a police officer and the same is carried out either to prevent the commission of an offence or to arrest persons who are suspected of having committed an offence or where a person is likely to abscond or fail to appear during investigation.


The term arrest has not been defined by the Cr.P.C, however, a formal arrest authorizes the detention of an individual for a period of twenty-four hours in which the investigation is conducted. The power to arrest an accused is an ultimate step in the process of investigation. The investigating officer, after collecting evidence, may arrest the accused. Chapter XVI of the Police Rules provide details about the arrest and the certificate of identification of an accused that is to be added in a case file. As soon as a person is arrested or detained, the constitutional guarantees of presenting him in a court of law within twenty-four hours and his right to counsel are set in motion. In cases involving cognizable offences the police have the power to arrest the accused persons without any warrant. 

If it is necessary to delay the arrest of the accused, its process has been outlined under section 26.2 of the police rules. Rules 26.2 and 26.9 also provide further guidelines to the police officers involved in investigation of crimes requiring them not to unnecessarily interfere with the liberty of suspects “until the investigation is sufficiently complete” and “the facts justify arrest”. 

As per Article 10(1) of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, the arrested person must be informed that they have been arrested, even if this is obvious. In light of this, there are three things that must be conveyed to the person being arrested at the time of arrest: 

  • That they are under arrest and have been deprived of their liberty 
  • The nature of the offence (for example if they are arrested for terrorism-related offences) 
  • Where and when the offence was committed


When an arrested person is either concerned in or suspected of having committed a cognizable offence and an investigation cannot be completed in twenty-four hours, then the police can request the magistrate for physical remand.


The basic concept of bail is the release of a person from the custody of police and delivery into the hands of sureties, who undertake to produce him in Court whenever required to do so. Whether bail is to be granted to the individual after an arrest depends on whether he is suspected of an offence that is bailable or non-bailable amongst other factors. A suspect/accused can make a bail application(s) to a court before or after his/her arrest. The effect of a pre-arrest bail (interim bail) is that the police cannot arrest the suspect till the date given in the bail order or the conditions mentioned in the bail order are still in place.

To learn more, explore the Handbook of Criminal Investigation in Pakistan, 2021