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In the line of fire

Published Nov 28, 2012 12:05am


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IT is unfortunate that society’s lack of respect for the police obscures the fact that men of the force regularly risk their lives in their attempt to carry out their duties in an increasingly violent country. They do this with poor training and equipment — a situation that renders them a prime target for a variety of violent elements. Take the example of Karachi, where, as reported, more than 100 policemen have been gunned down so far this year. Similarly, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, over 600 police personnel are estimated to have fallen in the line of duty since 2007. Many of the murdered policemen in Karachi’s case were targeted by criminal gangs, as well as sectarian and religiously motivated militants. In the past, policemen associated with the 1990s’ Karachi operations have been systematically targeted, reportedly by ethnic militants, but the sheer number of those slain this year is a matter of concern. Most of those killed were from the lower ranks.

Although such a large number of policemen have been killed while performing their duties, the Sindh police high-ups appear to be unmoved. For example, there has been no real progress when it comes to following up on the cases of murdered police personnel. What is more, when policemen are killed or injured compensation is announced, but bureaucratic hurdles are created which make it difficult for the heirs to claim financial compensation, while corrupt elements within the police also demand a cut of the money before the families have access to it. Such disregard for the welfare of policemen and their families results in a corrupt, demoralised force unable to meet the challenges of urban policing. While better training and equipment are important, what is equally vital is to assure policemen that they will be looked after if injured and that their families will be cared for if they fall in the line of duty. This may boost their morale and result in better performance. The process of compensation payment must be reformed to make the amount sufficient, while the process should not be a humiliating one that adds to the miseries of the affected families.

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Comments (6) Closed

Aniket Nov 28, 2012 11:31pm
100 policemen killed in a single city (Karachi) in a single year! Even despite the one time heights of mafia power in Mumbai, till date only one policeman has been killed in an encounter in Mumbai. The gangsters dared not touch a policeman for fear of retaliation, so feared was the police. And now the mafia is all but gone from Mumbai. Hate to say this, but the situation in Karachi is really, really bad.
Bikkar S BRAR Nov 28, 2012 10:58am
Like any other country of the third world country the police in Pakistan needs the following to face the current challenges: 1. Robust recruitment/ selection system free from favours and representation by all 2. Rigorous training including education on interpretation and implementation of law of the land 3. Equip the force with latest weapons, communication systems and vehicles 4. Better intelligence gathering 5. Rapid action teams with best mobility to deal with such situations 6. Seperate force for VIP security l 7. State funded comprehensive insurance and assured employment to the next of kin 8. Good grievance re-dressal system within the force 9. Career progression, housing and regulated duty hours 10. Prompt disposal of cases by the courts or may be special courts set up to deal with promptly 11. Zero tolerance to political or other interference I am sure the police personnel will deliver the best if the above is taken care of.
Iftikhar Husain Nov 28, 2012 11:54am
The editorial has rightly pointed out the problems facing the security people now the question is will the administration listen to it.
sturkman Nov 28, 2012 04:43pm
If higher Salaries of Police could stop Police's Bribe and Protection Money Extortion, it would have already done that because Police Salaries have risen 350% since 1948. Policemen are Class IV and their Salaries were 1/4th of Class III Government Employees. Not now, they are almost same as Class III. Should they be paid higher Salaries than Class III Employees, when they are already making 50% higher than Class III, thanks to their Bribe and Protection Money Extortion? Can anybody make sense? What the hell are we talking about here?
sturkman Nov 28, 2012 05:42am
But nobody had begged them to join Armed Forces or Police. If they are not Beggars and those Jobs are really dangerous, how come Non Punjabis are not offerred those jobs as much as Punjabis are?
Pradeep Nov 28, 2012 09:42am
1) A better training, a better pay and better laws to have criminals behind bars is what?s all needed now. 2) A comprehensive insurance cover to police personal and complete educational care to children will definitely keep them motivated.