Lahore police chief delegates power in unprecedented move

Foreigner registration and security branches placed under DIG Operation

Muhammad Shahzad June 22, 2019

LAHORE: In an unprecedented move, Capital City Police Officer BA Nasir delegated most his powers to his subordinate deputy inspector generals and the chief traffic officer.

According to the order passed by Nasir, foreigners’ registration and security branches have been shifted from the CCPO’s office to DIG Operations Lahore. Similarly, powers of general verification and issuance of police character certificates have been transferred to the same office. In addition, administrative/operational and disciplinary matters of civil/ministerial and supporting staff from BS-1 to BS-16 will be taken by the DIG Operations, DIG Investigations, DIG Security and CTO, accordingly, after the orders.

Considering the cultural and departmental chronology, this is an unusual step. It is commonly observed that officers tend to expand the scope of their authority in the bureaucratic culture of the force.

Nasir says the step has been taken to improve service delivery and organisational efficiency. “It has been done in the larger interest of the general public,” he adds.

In an exclusive talk with The Express Tribune, he says the gist of his vision is to ensure that policing is done according to the law. He adds it is important to ensure the rule of law, equality and to following the due process of law. The CCPO claims to have followed these principles during his tenure as city police chief.

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To substantiate his claim, he says that it is impossible to pinpoint a single case of an extrajudicial killing in Lahore over the last year. “We also tried to follow the Police Order 2002. Following the law, we have deputed inspector-rank officers as SHOs.”

He continues that a police official is putting his or her life at risk, not for the sake of a salary, but to complete the mission of protecting people.

“Lahore Police have lost over 311 people,” the CCPO outlines.  His focus has been on the welfare of members of the force. “Not less than a month had passed and I got the Shuhada package approved for those killed in Data Darbar blast and got it delivered through the Punjab CM. Currently, authorities are working on getting them a house at a location of their choice,” he added.

He says the security division has also been reorganised and is now headed by an officer of DIG rank. “Besides, we have redeployed our resources after a need-based analysis. Crime hotspots were identified and deployment and picketing points were revisited,” he adds. Nasir continues that these changes are not being pointed out to brag, but just to recap that the force is following the law and hoping to improve basic policing.

He says that is the reason Lahore’s ranking as a safe city improved on World Crime Index from 138 in 2018 to 174 in 2019. He says these are the results of an international survey and not just his claim.

When asked about the increase in the number of crime cases during the year, he says the police considered multiple factors not and just the number of incidents for evaluation. “There were key performance indicators applied for this purpose.”

He concluded that policing was a challenging job in a city of over 12 million people and one that sees four million people come and go on a daily basis. “Their efforts need to be appreciated further, while just  US$7, one of the lowest per capitas in the world, are being spent on local police personnel. He also points out that the budget for investigation has been a constant and seen no change since 2002..

It has been over a year since Nasir took over as CCPO after being appointed to the post by the interim set up. He is the first CCPO appointed by interim government to stay in the position for this long after the formation of an elected government. During his tenure, he has dealt with mega events like the General Elections 2018, by-elections, sit-ins by Tehreek-i-Labaik, protests by PML-N and others.

Before being deputed as CCPO, he was serving as Additional IG Procurement and Logistics. Before that, he was DIG Headquarters. Nasir has spent a large chunk of his service on international postings.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2019.

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