LAHORE: Reacting to the new ‘reforms’, senior officers of the Punjab police held a meeting at the Central Police Office on Wednesday night and threatened that they would resign.
The police officers stated categorically that they would prefer to leave their services rather than allowing the bureaucracy to take over the police department.
The video link conference was called by IGP retired Capt Arif Nawaz Khan after he feared “revolt” in the department. Prime Minister Imran Khan has given a go-ahead to the home departments to ‘take over control of the police’ in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad. Under the new system, the major functions of the police would be performed by the deputy commissioners (DCs) who have been given judicial powers of 22A and 22B besides authority of inspections of police stations that earlier were sole discretion of the police.
Lahore Capital City Police Officer B.A. Nasir, the regional police officers (RPOs), district police officers (DPOs), city police officers (CPOs) and others attended the meeting. They unanimously rejected the new scheme which, they said, was an attempt of the Pakistan Administrative Services to bring police under its control.
An official told Dawn the participants decided to take up the matter with Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and parliamentarians to highlight their reservations. Senior policemen authorised the IGP to meet the chief minister and bring to his knowledge their concerns. They also decided to present “factual situation” regarding the “failure” of the deputy commissioners on many fronts.
He said many senior police officers announced that they would resign if the scheme was materialised in letter and spirit.
As soon as the IGP shared the draft of the scheme with the participants, Gujranwala RPO Tariq Abbas Qureshi was the first one who raised objection and announced that he would tender his resignation. Sahiwal RPO Hamayun Bashir Tarrar, Sargodha RPO Afzaal Kausar and some DPOs endorsed his viewpoint, said the official.
He said Multan RPO Wasim Sial and another RPO, Imran Mahmood, however, differed on the resignation option and asked the senior leadership of the police to fight the case by taking the chief minister into confidence.
Lahore CCPO B. A. Nasir suggested that the police higher-ups must engage the Punjab cabinet and the media to bring facts to the fore. He said the police department should also bring alternative reforms and discuss these with the decision-makers.
Faisal Rana, the CPO Rawalpindi, said there was no precedence of any such police reforms. He pointed out that the personnel of the Rangers, FC and other law-enforcement agencies were constantly deployed in Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar to help police in controlling law and order situation and terrorism.
The Punjab police, he said, were the only one which had been successfully solving such issues at its level.
In the view of a DPO, said the official, introduction of reforms in police smacked of conspiracy when other departments including health and education were at their worst. Some police officers were of the view, he said, that the KP model of reforms introduced through former IGP Nasir Durrani was the best one.
The Punjab police should sought that to be replicated with some necessary amendments, he said.
Meanwhile, Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat held a meeting with the IGP and other senior police officers who apprised him of their concerns. The law minister assured the IGP and other senior police officers that he would play his role in addressing their legitimate demands by taking these up with the chief minister.
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2019