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June 13, 2006

National Public Safety Commission established

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June 13, 2006

ISLAMABAD: The government of Pakistan has established the National Public Safety Commission (NPSC) under the Police Order, 2002.

Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao while addressing a press conference at the National Police Bureau (NPB) on Monday said the NPSC would oversee the functioning of the Federal Law Enforcement Agencies — Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Islamabad Police, Pakistan Railways Police (PRP), Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), Frontier Constabulary (FC) and Pakistan Motorway and Highway Police (PM&HP).

The commission would recommend to the federal government a panel of three police officers for appointment of Capital City Police Officer for Islamabad and heads of FIA, PRP, PM&HP and FC; and recommend their premature transfer for unsatisfactory performance of duties. Secretary Interior Syed Kamal Shah and NPB Director-General Dr Shoaib Suddle were present on the occasion.

The minister said the commission was a step in the government’s police reform agenda epitomised by the Police Order, 2002. The interior minister will be the chairman of the commission. “Pakistan is the only country in Asia after Japan, to have instituted the transparent system of neutral oversight of its law enforcement agencies,” he said adding that the treasury and the opposition are equally represented on a statutory commission and tasked with the responsibility of policy advice and capacity development of law enforcement with the composition of two male and one female parliamentarians from the treasury and same opus from the opposition benches. While half of the total membership of the commission goes to civil society, he added.

Making it mandatory that the six civil society members will be selected through a national selection panel headed by chief justice of Pakistan or a judge of the Supreme Court nominated by him renders the whole selection process totally transparent and credible and is a quantum leap toward improving the quality of law

enforcement in Pakistan, Sherpao said and added that one-third representation of women on the commission is also by no means a little development.

Enumerating the principal duties of the NPSC, the minister said that to oversee the implementation of policing plans prepared by the respective heads of the Federal Law Enforcement Agencies, monitor and evaluate delivery of performance targets laid down in the annual plan on quarterly basis.

The duties would require the relevant law-enforcement agency to submit to the NPSC a general report on its working in a manner prescribed by the commission, recommend reforms and modernisation of laws and procedures in respect of police, prosecution, prisons and probation services and to act as a focal point of coordination amongst the Provincial Public Safety Commissions would be responsibilities of the commission, the minister said.

The commission would consider proposals of the National Police Management Board and give its recommendations to the government, he maintained. The NPSC would facilitate the establishment and functioning of Citizen-Police Liaison Committees in accordance with the Article 168 of the Police Order 2002.

Sherpao said the commission would submit an annual report to the government and parliament including an abstract concerning performance of the NPSC during the year, a report on the functioning of the Federal Law Enforcement Agencies and a report on matters concerning general law and order in the country. It would also perform other functions in regard to the public safety and safeguarding interest of the people as may be assigned to it by the government, he maintained.

The NPSC consists of eminent individuals who would be doing their best to canalise the plans and activities of all the federal law-enforcement agencies in the best of public interest, besides providing a forum for government and civil society partnership in meeting law enforcement challenge in the country, the minister said.

The NPSC is composed as Chairman Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao (ex officio), minister for interior while the members are Lt-Col (retd) Ghulam Rasul Sahi (MNA), Begum Ishrat Ashraf (MNA), Shabina Talat (MNA), Sher Akbar Khan (MNA), Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri (MNA), Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari (MNA), Lt-Gen (retd) Moin-ud-Din Haider, Muhammad Abbas Khan, Sikandar Hayat Jamali, Sabiha Hassan Syed and Sarkar Abbas. While Shoaib Suddle would be secretary (ex-officio) of the commission.

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