PESHAWAR: Three years after the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Act, 2017, promised the formation of the departmental and public safety bodies to check the police’s excesses, the provincial government on Friday decided to make necessary amendments to the law to make those bodies operational.

The provincial assembly had passed the law granting operational autonomy to the police department in Jan 2017. However, the regional police complaint authorities and provincial and district public safety and police complaints commissions envisioned in the law for public oversight of the department didn’t see the light of the day.

On Friday, provincial law minister Sultan Mohammad Khan chaired a meeting on the matter. The meeting was attended by KP police chief Dr Sanaullah Abbasi and other police officials.

Mr Sultan told Dawn that the KP Police Act, 2017, required minor tweaking to make these bodies operational.

He said the enactment of the legislation had made the police department independent but it provided for public oversight of the department through public safety bodies.

Minister says KP Police Act to be amended for the purpose

The minister said unfortunately, those bodies couldn’t be formed for one reason or the other.

He said the meeting was briefed by the provincial police chief about how to make those bodies functional.

Mr Sultan said another meeting would take place to make a final decision on the matter. He said the KP Police Act 2017 would be amended to make those bodies functional.

The minister said the amendments would also align the law with the new local government law, where the district tier had been abolished.

He said the representatives of the district tier were represented in the scrutiny committees and that there existed only tehsil tier after the abolition of the district.

On March 31, 2018, the then Peshawar High Court Bar Association president, Arbab Mohammad Usman, had moved the court challenging the scrutiny committees to select independent members of provincial and district public safety commissions.

Mr Usman had pleaded the court to strike down sections 57(2)(3)(4) of the KP Police Act, 2017, saying the inclusion of judges in scrutiny committee was contrary to the principle of the separation of judiciary and executive under Section 175(3) of the Constitution.

The KP Police Act’s Section 57(2) says the high court’s chief justice will head the scrutiny committee for the selection of independent members of the provincial public safety commission, while Section 57(3)(4) deals with the selection of independent members of for capital city and district public safety commissions and scrutiny committees for capital city commission will be headed by a PHC judge and district committee by district and sessions judge.

Under 57(2) of the law, the chief ehtesab commissioner will be a member of scrutiny committee for the selection of the provincial commission, while Section 67 declares that the CIC is also a member of the scrutiny committee to select members for the regional police complaint authorities; however, KPEC has long been abolished.

Section 57(4) says the district nazim will be member of the scrutiny committee to select members of the district public safety commissions. However, the amended LG law has abolished the nazim’s office.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2020

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