LAHORE: Former IGPs say the Punjab bureaucracy is bent upon assuming ‘illegal’ control over the police. Expressing their concern over “the crude attempt “of a section of the Punjab bureaucracy, they say the Civil Administration Ordinance 2016 is aimed at undermining the authority of the recently-elected local government representatives and placing under the deputy commissioners all district heads of the departments, including the police which is a provincial institution answerable to the government through the Inspector General of Police.

Instead of confining themselves to the role of coordination, the proposed DCs want to be the heads of the district administration as representatives of government, undermining the elected offices of mayors and chairmen of district councils. They want to gain control over the district police officers (DPOs) which amounts to a gross violation of the chain of command and authority of the police stipulated in Police Order 2002.

The proposed law will breed conflict and infighting between this section of the civil bureaucracy and police, diverting their attention from addressing public grievances to fighting their turf war. While there is always scope for improvement, it is a fact that Punjab police have bravely fought the menace of terrorism and contributed to a relatively much more secure environment as compared to other provinces. The retired IGs appealed to the Punjab chief minister and his cabinet not to accept this move by the bureaucracy to undermine democracy and local government system through promulgation of an ordinance instead of debating the matter in the provincial assembly before enacting a new law. They say such blatant violation of the constitution and the existing police and local government laws should not be allowed.

Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2016