Death on duty: Police dept struggles to grasp the loss of its own

104 policemen were killed in one year, families of 52 officials await compensation .


Faraz Khan July 08, 2013
In the most recent attack on June 9, two police constables were killed and a third was injured at Patel Para. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI:


Within one year, the number of deaths of police officers has spiked to a hundred per cent in Karachi - what used to be an average of 50 deaths per year became 104 deaths over a period of 12 months, from June 2012 to July 2013.


After the operation in the 1990s in Karachi, during which 600 police officials lost their lives, this is the highest number of deaths in one year - this has put the police department in a difficult conundrum of chalking up a strategy to keep up the morale of its personnel and to provide compensation to the families of the martyrs.

“After the Karachi operation in the 1990s, the number of deaths annually have been 50 or less but these past months have proved to be deadly for the force,” said the chief of the Crime Investigation Department’s Anti-Extremist Cell, SSP Chaudhry Aslam Khan. The culmination of the Karachi operation saw a massive reduction in targeted killings of policemen and the annual figure of 50 deaths was mostly a result of encounters with criminals. The past 12 months, however, show that policemen are again being singled out and killed.

“The enemies of the police department have increased compared to before, which include Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Lyari gangsters and many more,” SSP Khan explained. “Sometimes, these killings are a form of revenge, other times just to create fear.” Appearing virtually handicapped in the face of incessant ‘political manoeuverings’ and policies of safeguarding the ‘strategic interests’ of civilian and non-civilian entities, old-timers in the department feel nostalgic of the days when the police used to have its ‘writ’ in the city.

“Once there was a time when criminals had no courage to kill the police,” said DSP Sarwar Commando who also took part in the Karachi operation. “No one had the courage to point a finger at a police official or touch his uniform.”

What nevertheless appeared intact is the sense of unity within the police. “Killers of the police will be avenged, if not today then some other day,” said SSP Khan.

Compensation

With the rise in killings, the police department is also at a loss as to how to manage their funds for providing compensation. Out of the 104 policemen killed in one year, 52 families of the martyrs have yet to receive Rs2 million each.

In the most recent attack on June 9, two police constables were killed and a third was injured at Patel Para. Mohammad Iqbal, father of two children, and Mohammad Amjad, father of six, were shot dead and another, Rana Mohammad Amir, was critically injured when a police mobile was attacked. Police constable Rana Amir, who was shot thrice, is still undergoing treatment after being discharged from the Aga Khan Hospital. The police, especially SHOs of the entire district east, were asked to donate from their pockets for his treatment as the department had no funds. “We were scared when they told us that they had no budget,” said the injured policeman’s brother. “But we are thankful to the department who collected donations for his treatment.”

The families of the two policemen who were killed, however, are still waiting on the compensation as only Rs40,000 have provided as yet to each.

“In the 24 years of his services to the police department, Mohammad Amjad never took a bribe,” said his eldest sister, Nasreen Akhtar. Amjad, who has three sons and three daughters, was the only breadwinner of the family.

According to police officials, Rs40,000 was only for the burial process. “We cannot forget their services. Their families will be compensated by the welfare department,” PIB Colony DSP Nasir Lodhi told The Express Tribune.

For its part, the welfare department assured that the paperwork was almost complete and that the families would soon be provided compensation. “We are compensating the families regularly but cases keep piling up,” said Welfare AIG, Karachi Sheraz Nazeer.

The road to compensation


Before filing a case in the welfare department, the police officials from SHO to DIG first inquire about the case and then forward the details with the copy of the FIR to the welfare department as recommendation for the compensation.


The welfare department then reviews the case and contacts the families to produce the documentation, including ‘nikkah nama’, domicile, PRC, death certificate, hospital certificate and details of children/family, before releasing the fund. Besides the Rs2million compensation, the welfare department is supposed to give the family Rs0.2 million on behalf of the department and minimum Rs0.3 million of the insurance, job for one family member and the deceased’s salary plus Rs3,000 till the age of retirement.

Normally, it takes at least one month for the families to receive the compensation after the start of the procedure.

Among the reasons for delays in releasing compensation are incomplete documentations and family disputes. “If a deceased leaves behind two or more than two wives and both claim compensation, it poses a problem for the department,” DIG (Finance) Dost Ali Baloch told The Express Tribune. “We have to reconfirm the documentation as some families have tried to receive compensation money by showing fake documents.”

As 104 deaths of police officials were more than the previous years, the funds allocated for compensation have fallen short. In 2013, the budget for compensation for martyred officials has been increased by 25 per cent, taking it up to Rs250 million.

Besides government hospitals, PNS Shifa is the only private hospital on the panel list of the police department, but it is also trying to include Aga Khan Hospital.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2013.

COMMENTS (1)

Sidster | 8 years ago | Reply

Government should stop lining its pocket and take care of Martyr Police officer's family. Compensation should be paid to rightful recipient and in timely fashion. Budge constraint should not be an excuse for a family to wait for a compensation because it a sign of disrespect for a Police Officer and his family to wait after losing life or limb. 2 million rupees are not enough for a family to live off in Pakistan, when there is no one to earn the living. Increase the death benefit of a Policeman and you will increase their families chances of surviving the condition in Pakistan. May Allah bless a Policeman in Pakistan and keep them away from wrong path, Ameen.

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