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February 8, 2017

‘Police can’t be run under oppressive British law anymore’

Karachi

 
February 8, 2017

IGP stresses need for police reform so that force can meet expectations
of present times; laments society’s silence over the killing of cops who
without Rangers or army help had dealt with violence in Karachi in 90s

The Sindh IGP pointed out on Tuesday that police were still being run under the British law of 1861 – the objective of which was to subjugate the masses to facilitate colonial rule – and it was necessary to introduce police reforms so that the force could be turned into an actual public service.

“The police department can’t rise to the occasion and meet the expectations of the 21st century until the colonial era law is changed,” police chief AD Khowaja said during an interactive session with the members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He urged the business community to lobby for police reforms so that the force could better serve the public and ensure peace and security, especially in Karachi.

 

The ‘decline’

The IGP spoke in length about the circumstances that led to the police force’s decline after the mid-90s and why it was now perceived that it was “crippled” and needed Rangers as a crutch.

He recalled that in the mid-90s, police had effectively dealt with the violence and killings in Karachi - the roots of which stemmed from the 80s.

“The police had done all that without help from the Rangers or the army. But after that, it turned into a political game,” he noted.

The IGP said many prominent police officers were killed in Karachi, not only on its streets but inside its mosques and imambargahs too.

He added that hundreds of policemen who had participated in the operation against violence in Karachi were killed one after the other but nobody spoke out for them.

“The society was silent over these killings. Two or three policemen were being murdered every day but nobody dared to raise their voice against it,” he lamented.

“While these cops were being killed, the murderers were comfortably sitting in the corridors of power.”

The police chief observed that not only were government institutions guilty of negligence but the society as a whole had given up its values and responsibilities.

 

Politicisation of police

When the IGP’s attention was drawn to the politicisation of police in the past, he told the KCCI members that he had taken certain steps to strengthen the provincial police force including its de-politicisation and recruitment of new officials on the basis of merit.

“Most of the steps I have taken are irreversible,” he maintained. “For the first time, 20,000 police officials have been selected through a system involving the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee, the National Testing Service and the Pakistan Army,” he added.

He said 4,000 of these cops would join the police force after completing their training at army facilities on February 10 and another batch of 6,000 would leave for training on February 15.

The police chief informed the KCCI members that 1,800 cops who were dismissed earlier on the orders of the Supreme Court for not meeting legal formalities were being re-inducted into the Sindh Reserve Police after passing the standard testing system as they had already completed their training. He added that this would help strengthen the reserve force.

 

Improvements

Khowaja said by June this year, reporting rooms would be set up at all police stations in Karachi. He added that the Madadgar 15 service was being completely outsourced and for the first time, an electronically linked driving licence issuance system had also been introduced.

 

Street crimes

Responding to KCCI members’ complaints about street crimes in the city, the IGP conceded that it was still a major challenge. He called for joint efforts by police and citizens to understand the different aspects of street crimes and chalk out modalities to control it.

The IGP proposed forming a focal committee of stakeholders to help police review their system for better performance. He added that the business community was a major stakeholder.

Khowaja said in Punjab all stakeholders had chalked out a plan to bring changes in the police system. “Similarly, Karachi needs educated wardens to control traffic.”

“Instead of uneducated policemen, there should be educated officers on the roads,” he added.

The KCCI members included its president Shamim Ahmed Firpo, BMG chairman Siraj Kassam Teli, former presidents Muhammad Zubair Motiwala and AQ Khalil and representatives of the city’s market associations. The IGP was accompanied by additional IG Karachi Mushtaq Mahar and other senior officers.