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August 1, 2020

Sindh MPAs call for detaching police from politics

Peshawar

August 1, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Sindh parliamentarians unanimously called for the de-politicisation of police in the province as the only way forward to relish the results of police reforms.

They voiced this demand while participating in a virtual session on ‘Policing Issues’ that aimed to introduce reforms in the police department with modern research mechanisms and necessary legislation, said a news release issued here. The online session was arranged by the Sustainable Social Development Organisation (SSDO), in collaboration with the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), for the Parliamentary Working Group of Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs) from Sindh, as part of SSDO’s series of consultative sessions on the issue.

The parliamentarians said a lack of policing implementation plan with unclear performance indicators and criteria encourage a culture of political influence on police, where officers are hired, transferred, promoted and demoted due to political pressure.

Executive Director SSDO Syed Kausar Abbas apprised the participants on the categorical matrix of the concept, policy and service delivery for the proposed police reforms that include matters of women and community policing, and the overall digitalization of the police department.

The participants suggested clear goal setting and roadmaps for improvements in infrastructure, trainings and budgeting by following best practices of other countries.

They said remunerations for police officers at all tiers must be reflective of the service delivery that can be achieved by incentivizing good service and penalizing negligence.

They were of the view that the digitization of police stations is still a far reality for the province and called for equipping each police station across Sindh with regards to its specific needs and demographics alongside revival of neighborhood policing and citizen participation to reduce the imbalance in the police citizen ratio in each district to fight crime. The parliamentarians were unified on improving the human face of police and their treatment of citizens with respect and dignity at all stages of investigation.

They observed that even the educated class in major cities avoid registering complaints in thanas due to fear of police treatment. They suggested to counter these issues by reducing the innumerable responsibilities put on the police force as part of every bill footed in the House and by including traffic police to help change its public perception.

They emphasized on the extensive need for psychological training of police officers, not only for better dealing with victims, especially women and children, but also for their own morale boosting and emotional intelligence.

The women parliamentarians called for a holistic inclusion of women officers at all police stations, with female police dealing equally with complainants of all genders.

They lamented the reality of one women police help desk for the whole district in some cases, with no access to justice for women victims of crime, who are already socially marginalized in rural Sindh. Syed Kausar Abbas assured the MPAs of their recommendations to be added in the evaluation of the existing laws, police reforms and research methodologies under the project ‘Police and Public Side By Side’ and stressed the parliamentarians’ role in reforming the police department across the country. The members of Parliamentary Working Group will be provided research based technical assistance to raise the issues of police reforms in the provincial assembly. The session was participated by MPAs Adeeba Hassan, Ali Aziz, Firdous Shamim Naqvi (Opposition Leader of Sindh Assembly), Hashim Raza, Nusrat Sehar Abbasi, Pir Mujeeb ul Haq, Rabia Khatoon, Dr Sanjay Gangwani, Shahzad Qureshi and Sidra Imran.