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LAHORE: A new law replacing the Musharraf era Police Order 2002 prepared by the provincial home department for Punjab police has been rejected by the latter on the ground that it did not represent them, was an attempt to marginalise them and to hoodwink the high court hearing a petition on the issue.

The government officials in Civil Secretariat said on Tuesday there was no attempt to place police under civil bureaucracy. The draft act had been designed mainly to adapt the Police Order 2002 in its original shape in the light of decisions taken jointly by civil officers and police authorities at a meeting chaired by Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan sometime ago.

The major changes in it are the deletion of so many clauses of the Police Order 2002 pertaining to the federal government functions and policing in Islamabad included in the law introduced by Musharraf as chief executive for the entire country.

“Since we are now making a provincial law, we are deleting everything that is not related to us,” a senior official said.

Lahore dist will be separate general police area; RPOs abolished; IGP to directly deal with DPOs

He said under the new law the IGP would continue to enjoy financial and administrative autonomy and the status of an ex-officio secretary of the provincial government.

“The draft has been sent to the chief minister for a formal approval of the intentions to introduce it. After this [approval] the draft would be vetted by the law department threadbare and sent to the cabinet for approval for submission to the assembly,” an official of the law department said.

A senior police official said his department would fight against the draft at all forums. “The law pertains to the police department but has been made by someone else which is strange and illegal. It is the prerogative of all government departments to make laws for themselves on their own,” he said.

Officials in the Civil Secretariat said the draft law was meant to re-establish and regulate the police as a service that could efficiently prevent and detect crime and maintain public order, protect and assist the people from disorder and offences, act in accordance with law and democratic aspirations of the people, and be accountable to the people.

Police officials said it was an attempt to hoodwink the high court and police. The Lahore High Court had asked for the creation of safety commissions. But the bureaucracy was making a new law that would bring police under their control, a senior police official said.

The Police Order 2002 was a perfect document. There was a mere need to implement it in toto particularly allowing the IGP to appoint RPOs and DPOs and freeing the police department from political or administrative interventions. “There was no need for any new law. We merely need independence from political interference,” he said.

A copy of the draft law obtained by Dawn says every general police will have the following branches: General executive, legal, telecommunication, transport, sergeant, forensic, constabulary, traffic, training and criminal record.

There is no mention of the CTD, Special Branch or other existing police departments.

It says the superintendence of police throughout general police area shall vest in the “government”. The power of superintendence shall be so exercised as to ensure that police performs its duties efficiently and strictly in accordance with law.

The draft law changes the nomenclature of the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) of Lahore to Chief Metropolitan Police Officer (CMPO). It says it is the government which will appoint the CMPO and all DPOs in consultation with the Provincial Police Officer (IGP) “provided that consultation with the PPO shall not be required in the case of appointment of the CMPO where the District of Lahore has been declared to be a separate general police area.”

Police officials say this would mean creating an independent police department in Lahore within the provincial police department. As to how Lahore could be taken out of the command of the provincial police chief, they argue.

The law does not mention the Regional Police Officers who act between the IGP and the DPOs as per the Police Order 2002 meaning thereby that the IGP would directly deal with the DPOs.

Police officials also declare it impractical.

The law also changes the nomenclature of the investigation police to detective officers and officials.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2017