THIS is apropos of a news report, ‘Study says Pakistan must revamp police’, which was carried out by an American institute (July 23). There is no denying the fact about the importance of the police in maintaining law and order in a country.
It is still more important for Pakistan keeping in view the prevailing security situation in the country. The Inspector-General of Punjab police said recently: “We are in a state of war”.
Unfortunately, our police and security agencies have been unable to rise to the occasion. The alertness of our police can be gauged from the fact that Rehman Malik passed five checkposts in the federal capital without any stoppage. The killings in Karachi and Balochistan show the shortcomings of our police to provide security to the common people. Incidents like the Sialkot lynching and now stoning of a woman in Khanewal (the Chief Justice ordered action against the police officials concerned) pose a serious question about the credibility of the department.
If one looks deeply, the police system in Pakistan has become a breeding ground for crimes, e.g. jails. The reasons for the inefficiency of the police are: politicisation of the department, lack of proper training, flaws in our legal system, technological backwardness, non-compliance of departmental rules and regulations and feudalism.
The most important reason is corruption. According to a Transparency International report, the police department in Pakistan is the second most corrupt one after land records.
All this has resulted in an ever-increasing crime rate in the country. The situation is worse in rural areas where there has been an increase in violence against women.
Honour killings, rape, acid-throwing, vani and many more local ‘traditions’ are observed without any fear of punishment, thanks to the lack of will on the part of the police to take action against such influential people. The conviction rate is dismally low which becomes the biggest hurdle in curbing terrorism.
Pakistan is in dire need of an efficient, well-trained and morally strong police to check violence. Steps should be taken to free this department of political clout. Moreover, in areas like Karachi and Balochistan, community policing might be a good option. The revamping of the police will not only result in increased sense of security among the people but it will also decrease social crimes, especially against women. All we need is political will to transform the police into a corruption-free institution.