Dysfunctional homicide unit

Published: September 10, 2018

The country’s capital is averred to have a maladaptive homicide unit in which 100 murder cases have been pending. This is embarrassing as Islamabad is the lens through which the rest of the world views the entire country. Two years ago, former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan appointed a separate homicide unit devolving the responsibilities of 22 individual precincts. The purpose was to accelerate the investigation process. However, evidently, with 100 cases pending simultaneously, the unit is off its game.

Although fairly nascent compared with other entities and departments in the country, the homicide unit should have been better planned to support murder statistics, population and the rate at which homicides in the capital were projected to grow. Despite a decline in murders in 2016 and 2017, the unit’s establishment has failed to reduce the cumbersome process of murder investigations for families. The set-up has seemingly made it more tedious by rendering regular police officers without purpose. Since their role in murder cases has become inconsequential due to removal of responsibility, and they lack much conscience beyond that, their lackadaisical attitude towards time-sensitive evidence as first responders to a murder site is criminal. Evidence that can help to secure justice for a victim’s family is ignored while waiting for the unit to arrive. Law enforcement officials who are not concerned with justice have no place in law enforcement and holding the honourable position of protecting the people.

Kinks such as assigning roles to duty officers need to be straightened out. Although the unit is adept at relaying timely information regarding arrests of suspects to the media, it needs to improve its communication with families of victims, who require clarity in their time of trouble. It is frivolous to allocate resources towards a facility if it does not follow an effective plan to bear fruitful results.


 Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2018.

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