Upholding the law

Published April 14, 2024

THE recent discord in Bahawalnagar offers a chance to reflect on the sanctity of the law and its enforcement across all ranks of our security apparatus. The episode reflects the importance of following established legal protocols and the consequences when these are bypassed. The series of events began on April 7 when police reportedly raided a serving army officer’s house over allegations his brother was in possession of an unlicensed weapon. Things soon escalated to a confrontation that captured significant attention on social media, with several videos of the alleged incidents going viral. The situation was exacerbated by actions that reportedly deviated from standard operating procedures, including allegations of illegal detention and violent confrontations between both sides. The events highlight gaps in adherence to the law and their grave repercussions. No individual, irrespective of their position or affiliation within the security forces, is above the law. Our legal frameworks are designed to protect the rights of all citizens. Strict adherence to the law must be the guiding principle that dictates all actions of not just our lawmen, but all institutions. In this instance, had the law been meticulously followed from the start, the fallout could have been averted.

It is encouraging to see that both the police and army leadership are committed to holding a transparent investigation into the matter. This willingness to hold accountable those within their respective ranks is a positive step towards reinforcing the rule of law. It is critical that these investigations be conducted impartially and their findings made public. Such transparency will not only serve justice but also restore public trust in these institutions. Moreover, this incident underscores the necessity for unity and cooperation among our security forces. The strength of a nation’s security framework lies not just in its individual components but in their ability to operate cohesively. It is essential to prioritise enhanced training in legal protocols and bolster cooperation between agencies. Additionally, establishing clear and consistent channels for communication among the multiple security bodies is vital. Ultimately, this unfortunate episode must reinforce the fact that violence serves no one, least of all the public, whom both parties are sworn to serve. Recognising this fact is vital not only for the integrity of our security forces but also for the preservation of civil liberties in society.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2024

Editorial

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