Why must PTI ensure Operationally Independent Police in Punjab?

The corruption in Punjab police has been the center of attention due to the spiking crime rates, PTI has finally started acting on the promises made about reforming Punjab Police.

PTI

News Analysis |

The Supreme Court of Pakistan slammed police department for being inefficient and taking bribe across the country. Justice Gulzar Ahmed gave this observation while heading a two-member bench of the apex court hearing a case of the Punjab traffic wardens.

The SC judge also slammed the police for looting those who visit police station to seek help and legal aid. “Majority of police personnel commit dacoity during night time,” Justice Gulzar remarked.

Crimes are committed because of the police. They need money and thieves and dacoits give them their shares after looting the general public

Analysts believe that the police in Pakistan has been intentionally politicized at the cost of their professional efficiency and commitment. There is only one exception in this regard that is KPK where former IG Nasir Durrani was give politically favorable environment to de-politicize police and empower them as institution. Later on, even the SC has admitted that the KP has a model police where minimum police influence is excreted.

As far as Sindh and Punjab are concerned, the police is used as political tool to win elections and maintain political supremacy in local power-structure. Reports suggest that more than 10 thousand criminals were inducted to police department in Sindh years ago.  There has been a role of MQM, now spilt into MQM-P and MQM-L, the former is the ally of the incumbent government, and PPP, ruling party in Sindh, in politicization of police across the province to target their political opponents and claim electoral victory. A Sindh-based analyst believes that “the crimes are committed because of the police. They need money and thieves and dacoits give them their shares after looting the general public.”

Read more: Naya Pakistan: PTI government finally works on reforming Punjab Police

Punjab is another example of the above-mentioned case where police is not independent. The PTI had promised to reform the police before coming to power but once it assumed the office the local political heads, commonly known as electables, told the premier that the reforming police means cutting their hands and ends their political career. Prime Minster Imran Khan was also reportedly told that Punjab is not like KPK therefore any KP-like model cannot be implemented here.

Political experts believe that it is pivotal for the PTI-led government to reform police since it promised to do so. Moreover, people have to interact with the police on regular basis so any considerable change in police department shall lead to higher level of popular legitimacy for the present government.

To reform police and to make it what Dr. Moeed Pirzada has described in his piece in 2014, an operationally independent police to establish a genuine representative democracy, the role of media, civil society and government is imperative. But the government is to take the first step and let the institution become independent.

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