Dirty policing

There is a widespread acceptance that the police forces across the country are corrupt and inept

Editorial April 15, 2016
A file photo of Karachi police. PHOTO: REUTERS

There is a widespread acceptance that the police forces across the country are corrupt and inept, riddled with nepotistic appointments and politicised to the point of irrelevance. The police will lie and cheat, use torture and random violence as they go about their business and are viewed in general as unworthy of respect. Few are ever prosecuted for their crimes and misdemeanours. Most, if found out, are quietly shifted elsewhere, or placed on ‘special duties’ for an indeterminate period, usually until the dust has settled and they can resume their criminal activities. Occasionally their activities surface, and the recent revelation that over a dozen policemen were involved in cases of kidnapping in the last year and 10 of them have been booked, is particularly disturbing. It cannot be assumed that Karachi is the only the city police force thus engaged.

The abuses of power are blatant and open, such is the culture of impunity that protects corrupt police. Last November, police kidnapped three men using police vans and held them for ransom at the police station. A case has been registered against the corrupt offenders but that is as far as it has got and there seems to be no expectation of a successful prosecution. In other instances, police have posed as members of the Counter Terrorism Department (which is itself investigating cases of kidnapping by police officers) and some of those accused say that others more senior than themselves were the real guilty parties. These cases are not going to be isolated. Kidnapping for ransom is rife across the country and the police are in an ideal position to carry out such crimes — and get away with them. Senior officers are of course quick to deny their involvement and lay the blame elsewhere but the fact remains that these latest revelations further erode public confidence in the police. The ongoing operation in Karachi is going to do nothing in the long term to affect the internal culture of the police. That would require a root-and-branch re-organisation that none of the political parties have the stomach for. Dirty policing is going to be with us for years to come.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2016.

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Dong | 6 years ago | Reply We have a political party which is successfully working on fixing this issue in KPK but alas our populace is too far asleep to elect them and are content with their masters for one reason or the other. Every major political party today is happy with this police because they are the ones who have made them into their own personal militias. May Allah guide our people to get rid of these monsters.
Mustang | 6 years ago | Reply I always feel unpleasant to visit a Police station or any other Police institutions if have to go for some reasons. I try my utmost not to visit because majority of Police officers are disrespectful and pay no attention to your matter unless they get a monetary lure. You would be forced and make you so miserable that you finally give up to their demands. There is no mechanism in place to lodge your complaint against those corrupt Police officers. I don’t trust their high ranking officers either since they are also part of this corrupt system as well. Police are supposed to be public servants and front line soldiers fighting against crimes, unfortunately they are other way around. Contrary to the oath that every Policeman takes on their graduation, they are the root cause of numerous crimes and criminal activities in society. They are not accountable to their actions since there is no accountability system in the country not only for Police but also other public service sectors.
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