Thana culture is deeply rooted within the policing system. It has been prevalent since the colonial days and flourished thanks to the politicians, bureaucrats and influential people.

The purpose of promoting and supporting this culture, which includes rude behaviour of the police, torture, corruption, misuse of power, illegal detention and inefficiency, was to use it according to one’s desire.

On several occasions, attempts were made to change the existing Thana culture but all efforts in this regard proved futile. The major obstacles are the politicians, the bureaucracy and the police officers themselves.

Blue-eyed boys are posted in police stations who turn a blind eye to the corruption that their benefactors commit.

Such police officers misuse their powers and get involved in corruption without any fear as they have the backing of politicians, influentials and even their seniors.

Therefore, senior police officers striving for change in the Thana culture have not been satisfied with the majority of SHOs who are allegedly involved in corruption.

These SHOs have been removed but this in turn has resulted in shortage of police personnel.

For example, on July 31, 2013, six SHOs of different police stations were suspended for alleged corruption.

Later, in August, Inspector Mehboob Ahmed was appointed SHO Tarnol but was removed within a few weeks.

He had previously been suspended on July 25, 2012 on various charges including having links with the land mafia.

Likewise, Inspector Malik Akhtar, a former driver of Inspector General of Police (IGP), was appointed in charge of Kural police station in August 2013 but he too was removed within weeks.

However, removing alleged corrupt officers has now resulted in a shortage of police officials of the inspector rank due to which four police stations – Shalimar, Tarnol, Shahzad Town and Ramna – are currently working without any in charge.

There is another major issue hampering efforts for change in the Thana culture.

Some staff members of senior police officers are misleading the latter for the appointment of corrupt officers at various posts, including that of SHO. This also tarnishes the reputation of the seniors who are trying to change the culture.

For example, on January 28, 2014, the head of IGP’s special squad in Crime Investigation Department, Inspector Khalid Masood, was suspended for framing an innocent person in a fake case.

The inspector had been suspended last year while serving as SHO Kohsar police station.

He had also been demoted twice to the ranks of sub-inspector and assistant sub-inspector (ASI) due to his involvement in corruption and links with liquor mafia.

However, a police officer deployed in the office of the IGP succeeded to obtain a pardon for Mr Masood, who was then appointed back on his rank and post. This did not last long as he was once again suspended.

When contacted, Assistant Inspector General of Police (Operation) Dr Sultan Azam Temuri told Dawn that the capital police were determined to change the Thana culture.

He said there was currently no pressure from politicians and bureaucrats on the capital police regarding appointments and investigation of cases.

“If we will fail to change the Thana Culture despite the favourable circumstances, we may never get another chance,” he said.He maintained that there was a dire shortage of honest officers for the post of SHOs due to which eliminating this culture could take more time.

“We are involving complainants, witnesses, stakeholders, social partners, culprits and even police officials to comprehend the reasons behind this culture,” he said, adding that questionnaires had been distributed in this regard to collect data.

Dr Temuri added that efforts were underway to ensure the police were more accessible, courteous and polite to citizens.

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