RAWALPINDI: As if the death of a loved one is not enough, families of police officials who are killed while on-duty now have to go through the agonizing pain of having to wait for months on end for the officially declared financial package and other benefits which are provided to martyrs.
The delay apparently stems from the police force officially declaring officials killed in the line of duty as ‘martyrs’.
The Punjab government had established a martyr package for all those police officials who lost their lives while performing their duties. According to the standard operation procedure (SOP), families of martyred officials will continue to receive the salaries of these officials until the point when the deceased cop would have naturally reached the age of retirement.
Thereafter, such families will receive the martyred officer’s pensions and the police department will be obligated to recruit one of the martyr’s sons.
Up to eight police officials lost their lives in six different incidents while performing their duties between March 2018 and March 2019. These include constables Muhammad Mazhar and Muhammad Jameel, residents of Kahuta and Gulistan Colony; traffic warden Shahid Sarwar, head constable Mohammad Arif and ASI Muhammad Riaz, as well as constable Mohammad Zafaran, head constable Sajid Mahmood, and trainee sub-inspector Muhammad Akram who lost their lives in a single incident in Sadiqabad.
The Rawalpindi Police, after fulfilling all departmental formalities have sent the cases for further processes to Lahore to declare the deceased cops as martyrs.
The cases will be reviewed by the provincial committee which will then send the matter up to the Punjab government for final approval after which they will officially be declared as martyrs.
However, it has been discovered that the process has yet to be completed due to which the families of martyrs’ are facing financial problems.
Constable Jameel Ahmed, who lost his life in 2018 within the remits of Pirwadhai Police Station while fighting crime, was a father of four children including three daughters and a son.
His brother, Muhammad Tufail, told Daily Express that they have yet to receive any financial assistance from either the provincial or the federal government and that they were relying on their parents’ pension.
Similarly, Faisal Mehmood, the brother of the martyred head constable Sajid, said that his brother left behind three daughters who were 13, seven and four years-of-age respectively. Two of these, he said, were school-going children.
He added that they have received nothing from the police department or the government, adding that they were just told that the matter is still being processed.
It was a similar story for the family of constable Zafran, who was martyred in a shooting in Sadiqabad area of Rawalpindi earlier this year in one of the most brazen attacks on police in the city in recent years.
Chaudhry Shabbir said that Zafraan was survived by a five-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son. While they were not of school-going age, he said that they have not received any financial assistance from the government thus far for other expenses.
An official of the Rawalpindi police stated that there was a process to declare a deceased person as a martyr, which would then qualify them for the martyrs' package of the government.
He added that whenever an unfortunate incident takes place in which a cop is killed, the district police chief sends the case to the offices of the Punjab police inspector general in Lahore from where they are further forwarded to the provincial government for approval after being reviewed by a high committee.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2019.