The incident of recent Sahiwal killings by CTD has once again proved that Pakistan is a nation of reactive people, and leaders too.
This is not the first incident of fake encounter in Punjab. In recent past, dozens of such incidents were transpired during CM Shahbaz Sharif’s regime, some of these are highlighted and some of these are swept below the carpet.
Dear reader, we need to understand the fact, the current government is not responsible for this tragedy, however, I have no hesitation in saying that the PTI government has failed miserably to handle the situation afterwards. The ministers had defended the officers of CTD, and accept their so-called view, this act of ministers was absolutely not required, and it was rightly criticized by masses. The role of IG Punjab was also dubious, and role of CM Punjab was also below average as a team leader. Put aside all these political and non-political players in Punjab, PM Imran Khan will merely be responsible if culprits are not treated according to law, after all, he is the chief selector for the team in Punjab.
Now the time has come, to formulate the policies and reform the police in a proactive manner rather than reactive.
In the whole world, police and law enforcement agencies are the symbol of peace for their citizens, but in Pakistan, unfortunately, the police is the symbol of terror for the weak. For powerful people, this police turned as an obedient student.
No government can improve the police if they lack the will. If there’s a will, there must be a way.
As a citizen and observer of other systems, I urge the government to consider the following points to improve the police culture in Punjab, especially.
- Police Governing Council (PGC): Formulate a PGC, it must take one senior officer from each division of Punjab and should be headed by IGP. The council should be formulated to ensure the lawful working of police, and keep strict vigilance on the performance of the institution, like crops commanders in Pakistan Army.
- Appointment of IGP: It should be legally restricted to select the IGP from PGC. Similar to the one in Army, as one out of three, senior most corps commander is appointed as COAS by the Government. Once IGP is appointed, his tenure must be protected. He should be allowed to work freely like COAS, the appointing authority should be restricted legally, not to intervene in the functionality of police. The rules for removal of IGP under extraordinary circumstances should be defined, for the removal IGP two-third majority of provincial assembly must have to be required.
- Appointment of subordinate officers: The IGP should be given the full authority to appoint subordinate officers in all districts and divisions. And then, IGP should be held accountable before the provincial assembly, not the Chief Minister.
- School of Ethics: All provincial governments, in particular, Punjab, must open a School of Ethics. No field officer in the police should be given a field-duty if he is not a trainee from this school. In this school, they should be trained, how to deal with honourable citizens of Pakistan after all, ordinary people are also Pakistanis. The British people in subcontinent devised a police culture, not to protect people but to suppress them and rule them. This culture is still existing, and thus required to be finished now.
- The concept of Armless Police: Keeping in view the mentality of police officers, all the field staff must have to be armless now. During some occasions, less harmful arms should be given. The concept of armless police is necessary, to ensure the safety of honourable citizens.
- Specialized Units: For specialized purpose; like counter-terrorism, mob handling, narcotics handling, and others, specials units must be formed inside the police force. The specials units should be given the arms they need.
- Training Schools: Training schools are the backbone for arm forces. Like Pakistan Military Academy, which is recognized one among the best in the world, for their training. Likewise in police, specialized training schools are essentially required, if there are some existing one, quality need to be improved.
- Quality Investigation: The quality of investigation in Pakistan is a pity, in each police station specialized investigators must be appointed. Moreover, the latest technology must be used for investigation purposes, rather than old fashioned investigation based on inhuman treatment.
- Police Station Environment: The environment of police stations in Pakistan is bit substandard. It has to be citizen friendly. So that, people don’t feel afraid, while going to police stations.
- Technology Familiar Police: All the field officers in police must be given the awareness of the latest technology. There must be camera on the shoulder of each officer so that he should be aware that whatever he is doing, it is under mentoring. They should be given Internet access, and good cell phones, so that they can share the ongoing situations with their seniors, and then real-time instructions are passed on to these field officers.
- Dispute Resolution Councils: In each police station, a dispute resolution council should be formulated. So that, ordinary disputes should be handled at the local level effectively. This concept was successfully implemented in KPK.
- Respect Citizens: This has to be the new motto of our police. Because if police respect the citizens, the trust deficit between police and citizens will be bridged, and citizens will respect the police too. As someone has rightly said, “Do respect have respect”.
Well, words remain inadequate without actions. The actions require political will. Previous governments were incompetent and had used police for their political purposes. People have a lot of hopes about PM Imran Khan, let’s wait and see can he deliver the punch?