LAHORE: A couple of letters and an article have been published in your newspaper regarding proposed changes by the Punjab government to the existing Police Order of 2002. I do not know anything about such a development, however, if there is such a move afoot, one would hope that it would keep in mind the best interests of ordinary citizens. This key point seems to have been missed in the whole reforms debate, since the reforms were initiated in 2002. The thrust should be on controlling crime and on provision of security to ordinary people.
There is a perception that this seems to have been relegated to secondary place in the debate and the whole issue of reform seems to have been taken hostage by a turf war between the police and the district management group. The opportunity to make the police people friendly seems to have been wasted in this tug of war. Ideally, any change to the police laws should not have been about shifting power from one centre to another but about how to control the misuse of power by both the police and the civil bureaucracy.
There is no issue with the fact that the police should have operational independence, or that it should be efficient, but this must not lead to lack of accountability. After all, citizens have a right to demand efficient and accountable service provision from all government departments. One hopes that this would be the spirit of any proposed future reforms, not just in the police, but in the civil service as a whole.
Ahmad N Warraich
Advocate High Court
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2012.
More in LettersChildren’s rights in Pakistan