Salahuddin was a thief or not but his custodial death exposed the flaws of our criminal justice system. Demands of police reforms from all quarters are emanating with louder voice than ever before. Social media even till this time is flooded with the vitriolic campaigns against Police. There is a public outrage against the alleged high handedness of Police officials and everyone seems to be concerned.
Police is the most important pillar of the Criminal Justice System as the whole process of awarding justice to a victim starts from police station. Why is there a wide gulf between police and public? Why some of the police officials get involved in the gruesome practices of inflicting brutal torture to the accused? Why the wheel of corruption doesn’t stop? To find out the answers of these questions, we need to have a deeper insight of the policing and the Criminal Justice System.
Police, in any civilized country, is supposed to protect the life and property of the public. In case a crime is committed, it is the duty of Police to arrest the criminal and present him before the court along with the evidences supporting the claim that he has committed the specific crime. Police are given sufficient resources and budget to fulfill these crucial and important tasks, In Pakistan, the major problem which our police is facing is of insufficient budget. Cost of investigation is meager and the process of having it is also marred in corruption. Police vehicles don’t have enough fuel to even do proper patrolling.
Allocation of mere 10 liters petrol daily to a police mobile of a police station which covers more than 50 villages is something which facilitate corruption and induces the officials to indulge in the reprehensible practices of accepting bribes. All the investigation officers have to go to PFSA Lahore on weekly basis to submit the parcels of narcotics or weapons for forensic tests but the cost of travelling in most of the cases is not provided.
Pressure by courts and senior officers to extract recovery, which may include looted/theft money and weapon , from the accused and reliance of courts on the account of witnesses and circumstantial evidences rather than on scientific ones are some of the reasons that the colonial system of policing i s not changing and if no serious efforts are made in this regard, it will continue like this.
Instead of bashing Police which is a front line force against terrorism and criminal mafias, a serious attempt should be made to revamp the whole system which is based on the foundations of political favoritism. Punjab Police have sacrificed more than 1400 jawans and officers in the line of duty.
Due to misdeeds of few black sheep, the whole department should not be maligned. Problems faced by the Police should be addressed. There is a shortage of force which results in long duty hours for the staff. Resources are either paltry or they amount to naught. No medical facility is available to the officials or their families. Problems are numerous and the solution lies i n the commitment and serious efforts by the government to change the colonial system. Criminal laws need to be amended.
Qanoon-e-Shahadat Ordinance needs some serious changes according to the changing circumstances. Provision of investigation cost to the Investigation officer without any delay is a genuine demand of the police officials and it must be fulfilled. Police Reforms are need of the hour and if government is serious in changing ‘Thana culture’, reforms should be introduced as soon as possible.