ISLAMABAD: This is with reference to the letter in your newspaper of July 15 titled “Punjab government’s proposed police order” by former inspector-general Dr Azhar Hasan Nadeem.
There is no doubt that the general public is not happy with the performance of our police. There are many reasons for this: historical, political, social, organisational and so on. Some people blame the departmental hierarchy for the police’s ineffectiveness in controlling crime, while others put the responsibility on politicians who use and abuse the police for their own political/personal ends. This blame game, however, leads one nowhere, least of all to any feasible solution.
After independence many commissions were set up by well-meaning governments for police reform. The last serious initiative was taken by General (retd) Pervez Musharraf who tasked Lt General Tanvir Hussain Naqvi, who was chairman of the National Reconstruction Bureau, to draft a new police law. General Naqvi, with intellectual input from selected senior police officers, prepared the Police Order 2002 to make the police force accountable and operationally independent. This law was not accepted by the powerful provincial bureaucracy, who wanted to keep the police under their thumb, mostly for ceremonial purposes. There were also some officers in the service who did not accept the law wholeheartedly, perhaps, because they were trained to work with the magistracy in dealing with situations of public disorder.
Now, the Punjab bureaucracy wants to bring in a new police order. According to Dr Nadeem, the proposed law will bring the police under complete bureaucratic control and the public will be again left high and dry.
All stakeholders, including the judiciary, should be taken on board in the police reform process. The nation deserves and needs an efficient, effective, accountable and operationally independent police.
Asghar Mahmood PSP (retd)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2012.
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