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Lahore

August 10, 2018

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‘Home ministry has suggested terror clause removal from FIR against PML-N workers’

LAHORE: The outgoing caretaker Punjab Home Minister Shaukat Javed has said the Punjab Home Ministry has suggested the police to withdraw terrorism clause from the FIR’s registered against PML-N workers.

In an interview with The News, the minister said the caretaker government could only suggest the police department and not order it, as it was a matter under investigation. He said he still hopes that the terrorism clause 7-ATA would be withdrawn. The respective police officers or the Inspector General Punjab Police have the authority to order withdrawal of terrorism clause.

The Election code of conduct was formulated by the political parties themselves, our job was only to implement it. Those who were arrested were in violation of the code of conduct defines by their own political leadership, he said. The minister rejected the claim of PML-N that thousands of their workers were arrested, and said that only a little over 100 were arrested on the July 12 and 13 and all of them were released before 36 hours of detention. He, however, mentioned that there was an FIR registered against some 12,000 people who were deemed as a threat to public order at the rally, but they were never arrested.

Talking about the governance of the province over the past decade, he said: “I’ve witnessed that at the managerial level, a lot of improvement is visible in Punjab’s governance over the past nine years through the involvement of IT systems, however, the system suffers due to excessive centralization.” The minister said after his retirement in 2009, got an opportunity to peep into the system once again after nine years as the caretaker, and observed a marked improvement in the system. “The chief minister isn’t willing to share power with the ministers, ministers are not willing to give secretaries the power, the secretaries are not willing to transfer power to their divisional officers because everyone wants to control the workings of the “Thaanedar and Patwaari”, he said and praised the KPK model of devolution.

This, he stressed, is the core reform needed, is to decentralize the system effectively down to the Local Bodies level so that the secretaries would be able to focus on policy level instead of being out in the field. “Majority of the secretaries can never be found in their offices in the secretariat where they are needed to sort out policy and procedural issues. They are out in the field, which is not their primary job, he said.

He, however, observed that the Department of Prosecution had improved a lot and was doing really good, and attributed this performance to the Secretary Prosecution. He also termed the introduction of the Front Desk at police station a revolutionary step among the measures taken over the past nine years. In his opinion, the segregation of core and non-core operation through introduction of the front desk helped in making the system more efficient. The outgoing Punjab Home Minister termed the autonomy of the police department over transfer and posting of police officials the most crucial reform needed for de-politicization of police. As long as a chief minister has the say in this, the police officials would always stay politicised, he opined.

Shaukat Javed was of the view that the political leadership in government and the media need to be educated ; number of FIRs does not essentially reflect that the crime is on the rise, it is an indicator of crime-addressed, which should be seen as a positive measure. He quoted an instance where he made sure that no FIR registration would be turned down in crimes against properties, and while the percentage of crimes registered increased by 43 percent, the perception among the public regarding the performance of the department improved noticeably.

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