No headway in police reforms

January 18, 2019


LAHORE: The special committee on much-trumpeted police reforms by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government has failed to make any headway reportedly mainly because of lack of interest by its members.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had, among other things, announced to reform Punjab Police, announcing that this would be done by Nasir Khan Durrani, the former IGP of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Mr Durrani was appointed as the head of the Punjab Commission for Police Reforms in November last year. But he resigned only next month after the Punjab government removed IGP Tahir Khan reportedly because of his desire to work independently.

The IGP was reportedly the nominee of Mr Durrani whose departure was considered a blow to the PTI’s desire of reforming Punjab Police on the pattern of its counterpart in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

The official sources informed Dawn that the committee, now headed by Law Minister Raja Basharat, has met just once since its formation. There were sittings afterwards but they were not registered as formal meetings because of the absence of the IGP.

PTI govt’s body has met only once since its inception

In the only meeting, a consultant from the British police was asked to present their police model which he submitted afterwards. The model has been discussed but with reservations, the reason is that under that model, a police station comprises senior officials of the rank of Pakistani SP. Police are under the mayor who can remove the police chief.

England has 44 different kinds of police that include Scotland Yard, Manchester police, and police for all transport. Every police station is a strong unit, having joint operation and investigation system and forensic science units under one command. In Punjab, investigation and operation wings are separate units of every police station and have two different chains of command. England has strong and totally independent two external checks on its police. One is the external inspection body which checks the professional work of police like their preparation and submission of challans before the courts. It has the authority to ask for correction and refers cases for action to another powerful and independent commission of police accountability. The commission has again powers to take action against any police official found guilty of any misconduct or corruption.

Pakistani police, under the Police Order 2002, has a police complaint authority whose job is to keep external checks on police but it is a mere recommending body.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2019