HYDERABAD: Sindh police need to be strengthened by addressing some of its core issues like inadequate strength, lack of equipment, transparency in appointments and training in fields of investigation, including forensic sciences.
These were the issues raised at a programme titled ‘Sindh Police —The Image Crisis’ organised by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) under its Capacity Development of Sindh Police (CDSP) project here at a local hotel on Thursday.
Qaiser Mehmood, the host, said the German government was working with Sindh police for capacity building and seeking ways to improve Police Act 186, bringing it in conformity with the present day needs of policing.
He said it was a general perception that Police Order 2002 had addressed some problems under which police were made answerable, so there was a need to see whether this law could be improved.
If police remained under political influence, they would always tend to serve their masters, he said.
He said, a committee had been formed by the Sindh government to study 1861 Police Act and Police Order which come up with a draft law for police given the fact that today requirements of policing had been changed.
Today a qualified policeman in proper mental health was needed everywhere to make police people friendly as in developed countries, policing had become a service.
MQM’s MPA Dilawar Qureshi called for making police a force that could deal with today’s needs of law enforcement as challenges had increased manifold. Police were by and large facing shortage of manpower, which could be verified from each police station. They were not able to address their operational issues, he said.
Unproductive use of police had dealt a severe blow to the force as well, he said, adding that policemen were also obliged to work with defective weapons.
Dr Ashuthama, a representative of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), emphasised the need for police reforms, which had been delayed for a long, keeping people at the receiving end.
Colonial era laws governed policing in Pakistan whereas today the system had undergone massive changes so laws were to be accordingly modified, he said.
Criminal justice system could not be seen in isolation as police were a vital part of this system and gaps needed to be filled. Sensitisation to deal with human or minority rights issues was completely missing in police, he said, adding that it should be empowered as a civilian force.
Local head of Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC), Haji Yaqoob Memon, said enforcement of the Police Order 2002 with desired changes had become inevitable. Merit alone should be the criterion for jobs in police.
Today policemen who were posted from other districts in Hyderabad and vice versa had no knowledge of the area of their police stations, thus policing was compromised. Investigation had hit the lowest ebb, he said and urged that protocol duties should be tasked separately to additional police force.
Advocate Aslam Pervez said that no legislation could be fruitful unless recruitment was based on merit. He said recruitment which was the foundation of police was marred by political influence and average legislation was not going to help improve the police system.
Senior journalist Sohail Sangi observed that what mattered the most was how police were utilised by the government.
He likened police force to a ‘stick’ which could be used for supporting or hitting one’s own family members and others.
He said rulers needed to make a commitment in this regard.
Former MPA Farheen Mughal, Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry representative Ziauddin, former DIG Shaukat Ali Shah, Prof Yaqoob Chandio, Edhi volunteer Mairajuddin and DSP Sikandar Korai also spoke.
Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2014
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