KARACHI: Speakers at a seminar on Wednesday expressed serious concerns over the worsening law and order situation in Sindh and said that bringing reforms to depoliticise institutions, especially police, was the only way to restore peace in the province.

Against the backdrop of a renewed wave of lawlessness and kidnappings in upper Sindh, they said that the state had failed to protect its citizens and the only solution was to make police and Rangers independent.

The event — Worsening law and order situation in Sindh: sociopolitical perspectives — was organised by the Sindh United Lawyers Forum, which is associated with the Sindh United Party, at the Karachi Press Club (KPC).

A large number of lawyers, intellectuals, members of civil society attended the programme.

Former police officer Jamali demands full implementation of Police Order 2002

Speaking on the occasion, Barrister Salahuddin Ahmed said that there was no sustainable solution to combat crimes until the police department was made free and independent.

“The judiciary can only provide justice if the police present their case correctly in court. But we see that police do not file the case the way it should be despite having all proofs,” he said.

Highlighting the case of the housemaid Fatima Fariro, who was raped and killed in the haveli of an influential person in Khairpur, he said that the case had already been settled by the police, but it was only after the intervention of activists and the media that it was reopened.

Former chief of the Citizen-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) Jameel Yousuf said that police were needed for internal security as much as army was needed for external security.

“Bangladesh has made it mandatory to include 35 per cent of women in the police force,” he said and added that Pakistan must also do this as it would also improve the environment of police stations.

Talking about the riverine area dacoit gangs, senior journalist Mazhar Abbas said: “It’s not just the rulers who protect the dacoits, but everyone who will take charge will do the same.”

“These dacoits are the men of landlords and feudal lords. If you don’t stand by them, your rule won’t last for long,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, former senior police officer Ghulam Sarwar Jamali accused the rulers of a lack of commitment in solving crimes.

“In my 30 years of service, I have seen no commitment from any ruler, be it a dictator or a democratic leader,” he said, adding that legislation in the form of Police Order was introduced for the very first time in 2002 to replace colonial-era Police Act 1867, but it was never implemented completely.

“We planned to make public safety commission to curtail influence of politicians as the transfers and promotions were supposed to be on the basis of performances but it was never implemented,” he said, adding, “If we talk about interior parts of Sindh, the state does not even own their functionaries. If a policeman kills a dacoit in an encounter, jirgas punish him.”

He said the original Police Order 2002 must be implemented in letter and spirit.

Grand Democratic Alliance leader Sardar Raheem said there were sufficient laws but only lacked implementation.

“The question is, who is going to implement the laws when the entire system is corrupt and all the institutions which are supposed to maintain law and order have their vested interests,” he said.

He said the ray of hope was dying and added that the legal fraternity and the media could help steer the province out of this crisis.

KPC President Saeed Sarbazi said that the riverine area gangs were ‘launched’ like a project in the province. He demanded that political interference in the police department be ended and the department given more powers.

“Drug dens are openly operating in Golimar, Pak Colony and Jehanabad areas of Karachi. But when the police make arrests, khalayi makhlooq call and ask them to release the suspects as they are their informers,” he alleged.

In the closing speech, SUP president Syed Zain Shah said that the departments responsible for law enforcement were controlled. He said he came to know that a politician was supporting dacoits in Larkana division.

He said that local politicians and khalayi makhlooq were the patronisers of the dacoits.

He demanded autonomous institutions with accountability and no political influence to fight the menace of crimes in the province.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2023

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