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October 12, 2018

Shehryar needs to learn without dampening his enthusiasm


October 12, 2018

Islamabad: The enthusiasm, the Minister of State for Interior, Shehryar Afridi, is showing since the day he took oath of the office is appreciable indeed. The passion and the energy with which he is striving to bring about a change in the policing, law and order control and steps to remove hurdles the general public confronts while out on the roads (police pickets) are being lauded by all, including those who may not be supporting the PTI.

The inside story of Nasir Durrani's resignation

But there are a few factors that young Shehryar Afridi needs to learn and understand which are necessary to avoid controversies, and need to be watchful not to crush too many toes.

His bold initiatives to visit the police stations in Rawalpindi were largely appreciated but as a young minister occupying the office for the first time in his life in the federal government, he was not aware that he was acting beyond his legal and constitutional jurisdiction.

Apparently, either he was not told by the people around him that he was not supposed to cross the limits of the Islamabad Capital Territory, his constitutional domain, or he might have not paid heed to the advice, if at all it was offered to him. And if he was not informed about these legalities by those who are supposed to be keeping the Minister abreast with the official protocols, jurisdictions and the command and authority powers he can exercise, then it should be considered a serious flaw, being committed advertently or inadvertently!

There is much more he can do while keeping within his domain, the Capital Territory, or even while confined to the four walls of his office. His priority should be to transform the Islamabad Police into such a model force that it should be replicated all over Pakistan. So far, it has been observed, the Minister of State for Interior seems to be not paying the level of attention towards the Islamabad Police as one would have expected of him. There prevails an uncertainty in the Islamabad Police department because the elements, which have brought a bad name to the department and have frequently come under criticism for corruption and inefficiency, are still not been touched.

He has the FIA, the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), the Passport and Immigration Department and other organisations working under the umbrella of the Ministry of Interior and not just the police. He needs to have a thorough briefing about the working and operations of these organisations and take steps to improve their efficiency too. One wonders if the Ministry of Interior has a role to play in the much trumpeted initiative to introduce police reforms in the province of the Punjab, for which the services of the former Inspector-General of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police, Nasir Khan Durrani, were acquired.

Now that the initiative has already suffered a serious setback because of the resignation tendered by Mr Nasir Khan Durrani owning to bad health condition, it has become even more necessary to find his replacement on urgent basis to keep the task going.

There are rumours afloat, like always, that only bad health is not the reason behind Nasir Khan Durrani’s resignation but there were some serious differences which compelled him to part ways from the process.

If there is any truth in it, then it should be a matter of serious concern for both, the Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has kept the portfolio of Interior Minister with him as well as the Minister of State for Interior, Shehryar Afridi. The two need to sit and ponder upon the matter because it was too obvious that the bureaucracy in the Punjab would not be so eager to accept and implement any such reforms. And that could be done only with the help some serious and dedicated senior bureaucrats from the Police Department. Serving as well as retired.

He has the Rangers and the Frontier Constabulary under him which he can utilise in a much more effective manner in the field of their actual duties as well as towards fighting terrorism and extremism in the urban areas all over the country. Obviously, here once again, his powers are restricted and he needs to receive a request from the provincial governments for deployment of Rangers or the FC anywhere in the provinces in aid of the Police.

And the most urgent and important for Shehryar Afridi is to form a group of good advisers in his ministry, comprising honest and dedicated officers, to learn the protocols and understand the system in the first place. Only vigour, enthusiasm and dedication is not going to lead him towards any meaningful goals because the hurdles and stumbling blocks in his way are too many that may leave him frustrated in the end.

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