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May 15, 2019

PA body gets more time to get on same page on new police law


May 15, 2019

The scheduled sitting of Sindh’s provincial assembly on Wednesday (today) has been delayed by two days to grant more time to a select committee of the House to reach a consensus on the draft of the bill to revive the Police Order 2002 in Sindh.

If the PA body reaches an agreement, the draft is expected to be passed unanimously with the support of both the treasury and opposition benches when the House reconvenes on Friday. An order to this effect has been issued by PA acting speaker Rehana Laghari.

The select committee headed by Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahoo is likely to finalise the draft today. The provincial government has been doing its best to finalise it with the consensus of both the ruling and opposition political parties.

Another meeting

The PA body held a meeting on Tuesday, but its members belonging to the opposition political parties avoided it. Talking to the media after the meeting, information adviser Murtaza Wahab lamented that the opposition parties boycotted the meeting.

Wahab said that another meeting will be held today to let the opposition lawmakers participate in the select committee’s deliberations to finalise the draft of the bill.

He said it was beyond his comprehension as to why the representative lawmakers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Grand Democratic Alliance had decided to boycott the meeting.

He claimed that two opposition parties — the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal and the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (having a total of four legislators in the PA) — had supported the provincial government’s bid to revive the Police Order 2002 in Sindh.

He said the provincial administration has done its best to take all the stakeholders on board as it strives to restore the Police Order 2002. In this regard, the government has listened to the proposals of the civil society and the Sindh police chief.

The adviser said reforms have to be introduced to improve the policing system in the province. He claimed that the opposition had opted to stay away from the meeting of the select committee in its bid to prevent the evolution of an effective policing system.

He said the opposition has objected to the new policing law in Sindh just to do political point scoring. “It is our desire to take the opposition along with us.”

Wahab said nobody can be stopped from moving the court against the new policing law. He said the Sindh chief minister should be empowered to hold the province’s police force accountable.

He also said Sindh desires the revival of the same policing law that is currently enforced in Punjab. “The PTI raises the slogan ‘Dou Nahi, Aik Pakistan’; then why can’t the police law of Punjab be enforced in Sindh?”

The adviser said the police law enforced in Punjab envisages consultation between the inspector general of police and the CM to transfer or post officials of the province’s police force. He said the minutes of the meetings of the select committee will be circulated as per the demand of the opposition political parties, adding that the new police law will be presented in the House in the next sitting.

‘Defective version’

In a video message released after the select committee’s meeting, the PTI’s parliamentary party leader in the PA, Haleem Adil Sheikh, said the Sindh government has been attempting to impose a defective version of the Police Order 2002 in the province.

Sheikh said it is the desire of the opposition in the province to see the police become an independent institution, as it should be answerable to the government, but the government should not possess the powers to post its favourite officers in the police force.

“Whatever version of the Police Order 2002 was provided to us was a tampered and fictitious document,” claimed the PTI leader. “The Sindh government is supposed to adopt the new local government law of Punjab if it desires to impose the same police law that has been in practice in the neighbouring province.”

He said: “It is our desire that the police do not act in an unbridled manner, but at the same time, the police should not be subservient to anyone.” He also said the Police Order 2002 should be revived in the province in toto (as a whole) in accordance with the directions of the apex courts in this regard.

Sheikh said the opposition parties in the House had not been provided the minutes of the meetings of the select committee on a daily basis as demanded by them. He said the opposition parties in the PA are on the same page on the issue of adopting a new police law in Sindh in view of the court’s directives.