LAHORE: The Prime Minister Secretariat has approved introduction of reforms at the police station level with assistant superintendents of police (ASPs) working as station house officers (SHOs) for effective administration.
Described as unprecedented by senior officials, the move seems to be result of recent criticism of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government in the wake of incidents of torture and deaths in police custody, especially in Punjab.
In the first phase, ASPs (BS-17 officers) would be posted at some police stations in Islamabad as a pilot project, an official privy to the development told Dawn.
He said after successful launch, it would be introduced in provinces, particularly Punjab which housed the largest number of police stations -- 712.
Under the decades old existing system, a sub-inspector or an inspector is posted as SHO throughout the country.
In Punjab the position is dominated by BS-14 level sub-inspectors.
The official said the PTI government believed that effective administration at police stations would address chronic issues like corruption, harassment, abuse of power, flawed investigation, wrong application of laws etc. He said the prime minister secretariat had directed the establishment division and Islamabad police chief Amir Zulfiqar to focus on better administration at police stations. He said officials concerned held some meetings recently and came to know that Islamabad police was facing acute shortage of ASPs to appoint them as SHOs.
Keeping in view the situation, the establishment division asked provinces to surrender some ASPs to the Islamabad police. In case the ED failed to have the required number of ASPs, there is a proposal to post deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) as SHOs.
Another official said this scheme was not a new step as it had been introduced earlier during the Musharraf rule when ASPs were deployed at some police stations in Karachi and Lahore but the plan failed in a few months due to different reasons.
Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2019