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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The great divide: How do police in Pakistan compare to the world?

Corruption is a global phenomenon. In Pakistan, however it is endemic and remains a systemic problem entrenched at all levels of society and government. The Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) identifies Pakistan as 117th out of 180 most corrupt countries.

Of all government departments, corruption within the police is of utmost concern because Pakistan represents a case where religious intolerance, sectarian, ethnic, and gender-based violence, as well as growing poverty, inequality, and crime, have led to significant deterioration of the rule of law. Deteriorating law and order also have grave consequences for economic growth and attracting foreign investment in the country.

In fact, the ‘police take bribes’ mentality is so deeply embedded within Pakistan that Pakistani citizens seem to have presumed that the same trend exists beyond borders.

Pakistani sentenced two years for bribing officer in Dubai

A Pakistani man was jailed for two years on Sunday for offering a luxury car and his Rolex watch to a police officer in Dubai. A local court ordered that the 40-year-old be deported after serving his jail term as well as Dh140,000 fine.

Official police records showed that the man, who was arrested in June 2020 and could speak Arabic, had offered the officer Dh50,000, a Mercedes, Rolex watch and Dh20,000 monthly salary if he helped him to escape prison.

“He asked me to let him contact a person and help him to escape the prison for a bribe. He offered Dh50,000, a Rolex, Mercedes and a monthly salary to help him whenever he was arrested in the future,” the officer was quoted by Gulf News as saying, citing police records.

The policeman asked him for time to think about the offer and alerted his director. “He asked me to make a phone call to a person to bring advance money for the bribe and that he will give me the rest after he escapes the prison.”

The report stated that the arrested man made a phone call to a man, asking him to bring Dh15,000 to Bur Dubai Police station. After an hour, two men arrived at the station and handed over the money when Dubai Police arrested them too.

Read More: NAB seeks salary details of Sindh Police officer who has properties in Dubai, UK: report

One of the two men testified that the defendant was a relative and that he called him, asking to bring the money to the police station. The third defendant claimed that he doesn’t know anything about the bribe and that he was told by the second defendant to come with him to the police station. Both were later released after being cleared of their charges at the courtroom.

Dubai police officer promoted for rejecting bribe

Early this month, an officer from the Bur Dubai Police Station was promoted for his honesty as he turned down a bribe offered by a wanted criminal. Sergeant Raed Qaid Abdulrahim had rejected the offer of Dh50,000, a luxury car, an expensive watch and a Dh20,000 monthly salary to release a wanted cybercriminal whom he had arrested.

On the other end of the spectrum, Pakistani police have been suspended from office on account of taking bribes.

Islamabad police cops suspended for taking ‘bribe’

Just last month, two officials including an inspector of traffic police had been suspended by top bosses of Islamabad police on charges of receiving chicken from a supplier as a bribe on the expressway and taking fruit for free from vendors.

The corrupt officers were shown the door by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Muhammad Aamir Zulfiqar Khan and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations Waqar Uddin Syed. Departmental inquiries had also been ordered against the two officials.

Bribery beyond borders: Too soon to jump to conclusions

While facts and figures seem to portray otherwise, it is to overstate the position if all Pakistani officers were deemed corrupt while all foreign (UAE) officers were labelled as saints. The problem lies within the individual, not the institution, and it is up to the relevant governmental authorities to ensure that this problem does not become a pandemic.