ISLAMABAD: High ranking police officers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan said on Monday that there should be one police law across the country and databases of criminals, vehicles and weapons should be integrated.

The officers were gathered in a committee room at the Ministry of Human Rights, where a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights had been scheduled.

The meeting was delayed because most of the committee members could not reach the room. Although four members are required to complete the quorum, chairperson Munaza Hassan and MNAs Musarat Rafique Mahesar and Aliya Kamran decided to discuss the agenda items since police officials had travelled from Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to attend the meeting.

Inspector General of Sindh Police (IGP) A.D. Khawaja said that provincial police could not interact with each other promptly due to separate police laws in all four provinces.

Officials from KP, Balochistan and Sindh attend NA standing committee meeting

“There should be the same police law across the country and records should be integrated. It is unfortunate that Sindh police cannot verify the registration number of a vehicle from another province,” he said.

“The time has come to integrate vehicle registration, weapons licences and criminal databases to ensure the Sindh police can immediately check if a person has a fake licence or a fake vehicle registration number,” he told committee members.

Mr Khawaja said that the Sindh police have begun sharing information on criminals with Punjab police, which is working in favour of both policies.

He said the Karachi police had arrested someone suspected of raping five girls. As the information was shared, the Punjab police also contacted the Karachi police claiming the suspect had also been involved in similar cases in Punjab.

“Moreover, Punjab is the only province that has a forensic lab. Moreover, there are fewer facilities for DNA profiling. We suggest that every big hospital should have facilities for DNA profiling.”

Mr Khawaja said they had taken steps to facilitate women and children by establishing women’s police stations and increasing salaries. A number of rescue centres were also established, he said, adding that the major issues would be addressed if the same police laws are introduced across the country.

Additional Inspector General of Balochistan Police (AIG) Jehanzeb Jagozai also agreed with the views of Mr Khawaja, and said it would be a great support to police if the database is integrated.

A Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police representative also agreed with the proposal and said the provincial police should have access to the other police databases.

“We have introduced Vehicle Verification System (VVS) due to which it has become possible to know that if vehicle was stolen from Punjab or the federal capital,” he said.

Ms Hassan said that although the tenure of the government will end soon, they would recommend integrated databases for all police departments.

Mr Khawaja said all the provinces were using different database software and recommended that there should be the same software for all provinces to merge their data into a national database.

“However, things are quite complicated, as we have asked the [National Database and Registration Authority] and cellular companies to give us access to know about callers who call us to seek help, but even that access has been denied,” he said.

Earlier, a representative of the ministry said things were still bad, as police pressure victims to reconcile with suspects’ families while victims do not have access to police.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2018