THE country observed a special day on Wednesday to pay homage to members of the police force who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. In Islamabad, President Arif Alvi was the chief guest at a function organised by the police and in his speech he acknowledged that the police were the front-line force against terrorism and crime. Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the next five or six months would be a challenge for the Capital Police and asked them to remain vigilant. The IG Islamabad Qazi Jamil Rehman highlighted the steps taken for the welfare of the families of the martyrs. Many such events took place across the country to highlight the gallantry of policemen and women who laid down their lives while combating crime and terrorism.

The police have a valid point when they complain that their services do not get the acknowledgement they deserve. One reason is that the police’s public dealing leads to negative acts getting highlighted much more than the positive ones. The police suffer from an image problem because they have faced years of neglect and abuse at the hands of successive governments. The politicisation of the force, insecurity of tenure, lack of training, and the traditional role that the state has assigned to the police, have all contributed to making the law enforcers a target of criticism and public mistrust. However, recent years have shown that this same force has been at the forefront of fighting terrorism and achieved remarkable success despite limited resources. Both officers and jawans of the police have displayed valour in the face of daunting odds and delivered success often at the cost of their own lives. This admirable role of the police has not garnered sufficient attention from governments and the people. It is high time therefore that the police are given due recognition for bravely taking on terrorists and prevailing against them. This recognition should translate into more resources, better emoluments, improved training, modern equipment and greater accolades. Police reform is a promise that remains unfulfilled due to the weakness of governments. The police deserve such a reform as much as the public that they are mandated to serve. Such reform would enable the police to enhance their capabilities while securing them from political manipulation and abuse. We owe it to the police to make sure such reforms are implemented sooner rather than later.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2021

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