The personnel of Rawalpindi police have been stopped from detaining suspects in police pickets. The decision was taken after an incident of violence against civilians at check-posts came to light.
According to details, Rawalpindi City Police Officer (CPO) Muhammad Ahsan Younis, has instructed senior officers, SHOs and incharge of police posts that violence against citizens would not be tolerated under any circumstances. He issued instructions that henceforth no suspect would be kept in custody at a police picket. He said any person arrested at a picket would be taken to the relevant police station and detained in their lock-up.
He also asked to ensure the issuance of e-tags on requests of citizens visiting police stations and check posts.
The CPO also prohibited his staff from summoning people for investigation of a case or any other purpose to police stations without authorisation from a senior officer.
He said that to maintain transparency, summon lists are already being provided on the website and social media.
He directed SHOs of police stations and in-charges of pickets to crackdown on illegal arms holders, gamblers, and drug dealers. He said violence and ill-treatment against citizens were intolerable.
He added Rawalpindi police should ensure self-accountability and transparency at all costs.
In a related incident last week, the Jand police SHO was suspended for keeping two persons under illegal confinement and allegedly demanding Rs200,000 as a bribe. Taking action on the orders of the Additional District Judge, Attock DPO Syed Khalid Hamdanim had ordered an inquiry against the suspended SHO Ahmed Khan Niazi.
Bibi Noor Fatima of Jand had informed the court that her husband Syed Shah Raza and her grandson Syed Salman Shah had been kept in illegal detention by SHO Jand and was now demanding Rs200,000 as a bribe to release them. The learned judge took immediate action and summoned the SHO, who denied the allegations and stated that he had kept no one under illegal confinement. However, later both persons were recovered from the police station.
Similarly, the video of five policemen thrashing a man in Swat district’s Mingora city had made the rounds on social media ten days ago, inviting widespread criticism once again from the general public.
Despite the fact that the K-P police wants to be called the ‘best police force in the country, its reputation has been at stake due to the frequent deaths of accused persons in lockups, torture allegations and misbehaviour as well as corruption.
The incident apparently had taken place after a road accident in Mingora city following which police reached the spot and had an argument with the driver of one of the vehicles. Soon after the verbal dispute, five policemen began thrashing the man in front of the crowd.
The entire episode was recorded on the CCTV camera of a nearby mall and also recorded by people on their mobile phones.
This was followed by widespread criticism as netizens blamed the police for torturing an innocent man right in front of dozens of people without any fear. He was arrested and shifted to a local police station where he is believed to be tortured even more before being booked.
“This is unfortunate that police consider themselves above any accountability in this country and they have no fear of anyone. These five policemen should be arrested and removed from service in order to make them an example for others,” said a local resident while talking to The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2021.