Can Usman Buzdar reform police culture in Punjab?

Inspector-General (IG) Punjab Police, Shoaib Dastagir, has reportedly developed severe differences with Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore, Umar Shaikh, and has refused to perform duties in his presence.

police culture in Punjab

Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan on Tuesday directed Chief Minister of Punjab (CM) Sardar Usman Buzdar to bring reforms in the provincial police department. The premier clarified that no one will be allowed to take the law into their hands in Punjab. Strict action will be taken against those involved in criminal activities, he told Buzdar.

The statement came after federal and Punjab governments had decided not to transfer Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore after differences emerged between him and Inspector General (IG) Punjab Shoaib Dastgir.

According to the official of the Centre, the appointment of CCPO was made after due consideration and the government cannot take decisions against law and merit. Meanwhile, sources claimed that CCPO Lahore had contacted IG Punjab to resolve differences but IG Punjab Shoaib Dastgir did not respond.

Read more: Punjab, Sindh continue to evade police reform

On the other hand, IG Punjab did not come to the office for the second day, and the schedule of his meeting was also not announced. Sources claimed differences between IG and the CCPO remain unresolved even after a meeting with Chief Minister of Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar.

PTI wants to reform police culture in Punjab

The PTI promised, before coming into power, to reform the police and make it a model institution. But after assuming the offices, the party has failed to introduce any change which might have impacted the performance of the police across the province. It has disappointed many of PTI’s supporters who were expecting to live in a ‘Naya Pakistan’.

Analysts maintain that PTI’s government did not focus on reforming the police. Abdul Sattar, columnist and journalist, recently noted that “Let us begin with the independence of the police department and the current ruling elite’s claim to put an end to political influence. Soon after the government came into power, the DPO of Pakpattan was transferred – some say for merely doing his duty – something that shocked many admirers of Khan.

The ex-IG of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Nasir Durrani, who was tasked to carry out reforms in the Punjab police, resigned after what critics said was interference by politicians. This further fuelled suspicions about the claims made by the new government; and later developments seemed to have vindicated them.

The Islamabad police came under tremendous pressure when reportedly people belonging to federal minister Azam Swati’s side beat up a poor family close to the minister’s farmhouse. Interestingly the minister admitted to having encroached upon a few kanals of CDA land.”

Read more: Police Service: Challenges & Reforms

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