News Analysis |
Saeed Ghani, a prominent leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Sindh Local Bodies Minister reportedly said on Wednesday that the provincial government has no control over the police. Mr. Ghani argued that his government is eager to reform police but it does not have any control to do so.
He was referring to the killing of a toddler in police’s alleged firing; the minister told journalists that the provincial government cannot remove any cop from the post in such negligence. “The government even cannot change a Station Head Officer (SHO)”, he revealed and added that work is underway to bring reforms in the police department.
Minor Boy Dies by Police Firing
A 19-month-old boy, Ahsan, lost his life after being hit by a bullet in his chest reportedly fired by the police.
In Sindh, many police officers were killed who took part in an operation called operation clean-up in the 1990s. Since then the police department has been under the direct control of ruling parties in Sindh.
According to his father Kashif, he was boarding a rickshaw along with his child when he saw police personnel firing on the University Road; reportedly a shootout with suspected criminals. At the same moment, Kashif said, he saw blood on the clothes of his son and he rushed to the hospital, where doctors pronounced his child’s death.
Although a First Information Report (FIR) had been registered and four police were arrested too, bereaved parents of the child rejected the FIR. Mother, while talking to the media claimed that there was no crossfire and police opened fire right in front of them.
Innocent Citizens Killed by the Police
It is not for the first time that an innocent kid was mistakenly targeted by Sindh police. In February this year, a young medical student, Nimra was shot dead during an exchange of fire between police and suspected robbers in North Karachi. Initially, police rubbished the reports but a team probed the matter and held police responsible for killing the girl.
In Aug 2018, ten-year-old Amal was killed in the same manner; a police officer fired a bullet attempting to kill a robber, who had looted her family at a traffic signal a few minutes earlier. Not just that, 19-year-old Intezar in January 2018 was shot dead by police officers too, that were not in the uniform.
But given the case of Rao Anwar, who got indicted in March this year, after 14 months of murder of Naqeebullah, and is still out on bail, it seems people in Sindh will not be seeing reforms anytime soon.
In 2018, Naqeebullah Mehsud was killed along with three other people in a fake encounter led by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Malir Rao Anwar. Naqeebullah, was innocent, later probe into matter concluded. The case made headlines across the country and led to the emergence of an organized movement called Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM). Mr. Rao surrendered after being assured by the apex court that he won’t be arrested. He was arrested then given bail by a lower court.
Politicized or Incompetent Sindh Police?
Police in Sindh is considerably politicized for being involved in staged encounters across the province. In Sindh, many police officers were killed who took part in an operation called operation clean-up in the 1990s. Since then the police department has been under the direct control of ruling parties in Sindh. Recently, in a program on ARY Iqrar ul Hassan caught policemen demanding and taking bribe from poor people.
Analysts believe that Sindh police needs immediate reforms and those alleged criminals who were once made part of police department to carry out extra-legal activities should immediately be terminated from the service. Until and unless the government and other political forces in the province do not decide to de-politicize the police and not use it for political victimization, it shall continue to be involved in staging encounters and killing of innocent citizens.
Police officers involved in such killings shall be taken to task to make sure the blunders are not repeated. But given the case of Rao Anwar, who got indicted in March this year, after 14 months of murder of Naqeebullah, and is still out on bail, it seems people in Sindh will not be seeing reforms anytime soon.