Inspector General Police (IGP) Sindh AD Khawaja on Tuesday called for a change in laws inherited by Pakistan from the British colonial era in order to improve the efficiency of policing.

Addressing a joint press conference at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the IGP spoke extensively about the challenges faced by the Sindh police force.

Khawaja raised questions about the efficacy of colonial-era laws, claiming that they must be changed in order to enable the police force to serve society.

"The first thing we need to do to make the police a viable institution is to change the law," he said.

"When an institution is created, the purpose of its creation is made clear, there are rules and regulations set down for it. My question is, if society expects us to fight 21st century crime, why are we using laws from 1861?"

"The 1861 law was created by the British. They used that law to create a police 'force' not a police 'service'. It was simply a tool for them to make sure that the people of the subcontinent abide by the rules of their enslavement," he explained.

Khawaja appealed to the Chamber of Commerce to play its part "and help us change this law, and turn it into a law that helps the people."

How the police force was 'crippled'

Talking about the general perception that the police force needs the Rangers as a crutch to function effectively, the IGP said, "We need to understand how this force was brought to a stage where it seems 'crippled'."

Khawaja spoke about the police force's decline after 1995 and 1996.

"As a citizen of Karachi, I witnessed the time when the bloodshed carried over from the '80s was being eradicated between 1995 and 1996 single-highhandedly by the police. Once that operation was executed successfully, without help from the Rangers or the army, it was turned into a political game," he claimed.

"Notable police officers were killed on the streets and in the mosques of Karachi. Society was silent [over the killings] at the time. It saw for itself two or three police assassinations every day but said nothing," he remarked.

"Hundreds of police officers were killed and their killers roamed comfortably in the corridors of power," the IGP said.

"The Karachi police lost all its morale. Officers that had once brought peace to the city by putting their own safety at stake went around hiding their faces," he lamented.

"They were not ready to wear their police uniforms to and from work because they feared getting killed. This was the situation that crippled the police and brought it to this level," he added.

"But what happened has happened, we cannot dwell on the past and remain crippled," he said.

"There is a lot that cannot be seen, the picture is not clear. We are to blame for some of it, as we do not always make our perspective clear to the society," he said, speaking about about the communication gap between the police and society.

"Recently, the whole country has battled terrorism. On one hand, our army, Military Police, Rangers and police personnel are under attack; on the other, sectarian killings still occur. In all instances, it has been the police that has captured criminals and brought them to justice. I can say this with full confidence," he asserted.

"Even today, the police are working day and night to bring peace to the city. It is not that we do not have any standing in this city in the current circumstances," he added.

"Let us all come together and think of solutions. I have told you the tale of the past 150 years, but if the law does not change, the story of the next 150 years will also be the same," he said.

Opinion

Missing I.A. Rehman’s wisdom
18 Apr 2021

Missing I.A. Rehman’s wisdom

Does the state of Pakistan, all institutions included, have the political will to address the runaway intolerance in society and
Ostrich approach
18 Apr 2021

Ostrich approach

The logic of blocking social media to contain protests is flawed.
Wings of mediation
18 Apr 2021

Wings of mediation

ADR benefits could ensure the expeditious settlement of tax disputes.
Banning Mr Rizvi
17 Apr 2021

Banning Mr Rizvi

Sooner than later, fanatics start to pull their own strings.

Editorial

18 Apr 2021

More cabinet changes

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan has reshuffled his cabinet yet again in what is obviously another attempt to shore up his...
Blocking social media
Updated 18 Apr 2021

Blocking social media

FOR four hours this week, all social media platforms in the country were shut down, a measure the government said ...
18 Apr 2021

Peasant rights in Sindh

IN a seminar held in Nawabshah recently, the Sindh Human Rights Commission and Hari Welfare Association reiterated a...
17 Apr 2021

Pak-India mediation

QUESTIONS had been swirling about what and who has prompted the latest detente between Pakistan and India. Now, it...
17 Apr 2021

Energy exploration

SOME exploration and production companies want the government to prioritise offshore exploration — a high-risk...
17 Apr 2021

Professor’s removal

IN a step that will go far in sending a message of reassurance to female students and academic staff in ...