MIANWALI: Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed the desire to see Punjab police reformed on the pattern of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police by replacing the old policing culture with a modern one to restore public confidence in the law enforcement agency.

“This is the beginning, Insha Allah. I think this is the new mindset that we call Naya Pakistan,” Mr Khan said while addressing the inauguration ceremony of a model police station here on Saturday.

He added that the politics of thana kutchery [police stations and courts] had inflicted a huge loss on the country. “The change would start from the mind.”

The opening of the model police station by Prime Minister Khan during his day-long visit to his native city of Mianwali was also a symbolic inauguration of such police stations established in different parts of Punjab.

Earlier on his arrival at the Mianwali Police Lines, a contingent of the Punjab police presented a guard of honour to him.

Inaugurates model police station in Mianwali

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Mohammad Usman Buzdar, chief secretary and the inspector general of police were present on the occasion.

Inspector General of Police Shoaib Dastgir briefed the prime minister about the project of model police stations and other measures taken by the law enforcement agency to provide facilities to complainants.

The PM assured the Punjab police chief that he as well as the chief minister would extend their all-out support to him to bring about a visible change in policing culture of the province.

Mr Khan said friendly environment at police stations could make a huge difference, as nation’s progress was linked with the confidence the police gave to the needy and distressed people.

The prime minister praised the IGP for establishing the model police station in Mianwali, equipped with token calling system and other modern facilities.

He recalled that in early days of his political career that he had started from Mianwali, most of the complaints and applications he used to receive were related to thana kutchery (police stations and courts).

Mr Khan said politicians also used to control the police by getting their crony station house officers or superintendents of police appointed in their constituencies not for any good purpose but to victimise or intimidate their opponents through fake cases. It was due to this reason that people lost trust in the police force, he remarked.

The prime minister said that remodeling of old police stations was very significant in empowering people to get their complaints lodged instead of looking for some references to approach police. “This is a huge step. I believe these model police stations would become a model for the whole of Punjab,” he hoped.

Mr Khan said that the erstwhile demoralised KP police got public trust restored in them through reforms in the system after his party came into power in the province. The people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa even staged demonstrations in favour of the KP police, he said, adding that this all happened when the PTI-led KP government depoliticised the police and recruited people on merit through the national testing system.

“This is what I want to see in Punjab. This is a huge challenge. We have developed wrong habits particularly due to the bad governance during the past 30 years,” PM Khan added.

Earlier, the prime minister unveiled the plaque of the project and also visited various parts of the police station and penned his remarks in the guest book.

He also planted a sapling at the police station in Mianwali and visited Khidmat Markaz, a mobile facilitation centre to address public complaints at their doorsteps.

In other parts of Punjab, 10 model police stations have been set up in different areas of Gujranwala region, four each in Faisalabad and Dera Ghazi Khan, three each in Rawalpindi, Sargodha and Multan, two in Sheikhupura and one in Attock.

ICT lab inaugurated

During his day-long visit to Mianwali, the prime minister also inaugurated a Huawei Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Lab at NAMAL Institute.

Mr Khan was also briefed about state-of-the-art ICT facility at the institute after its inauguration. Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, senior management of the NAMAL Institute and representatives of Huawei were also present on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2020

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