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Politics & Piolicy 

By Syed M. Aslam
Oct 02 - 08, 2000

The trophies and shields belies the fact it is the office of a police inspector. The manners too seem to lack the dreaded authoritarian and abusive attitude associated with the Karachi police department. This is the office of the Incharge of Sharah-e-Noor Jehan police station, Ejaz-ud-Din in District Central Karachi. Ejaz was offered a job in WAPDA when he was in his ninth class on the basis of sports as he exhibited promising talents in hockey. He completed Diploma in Associate Engineering from Hyderabad Polytechnic Institute in 1981 and was offered job by the Habib Bank and National Bank of Pakistan to play hockey for their respective teams. He joined the police force in 1982 as an Assistant Sub Inspector following in the foot steps of his father Muhammad Sirajuddin, a retired SSP. He did his M.A. in Political Science from Karachi University and LLB from Urdu Law College Karachi. During his career Ejaz has played hockey for Pakistan Board, the representative inter-boards team in the country; Karachi Division which represented Sindh in inter-provincial tournaments; and captained Pakistan Police side in matches against national teams of Germany, Holland and Bangladesh. He is the secretary of Police Boys Hockey Club Karachi and a council member of Karachi Hockey Association, an affiliated organisation of Pakistan Hockey Association. He has also acquired a Coaching Diploma from Federation of International Hockey which has worldwide acceptance.

PAGE: You have served in various capacities with the police department from being incharge of Traffic sections to anti-burglary, anti-dacoity, anti-car-lifting cells as well as incharge of various police stations. What are your comments on the negative perception about police?

Ejaz: I feel it imperative that educated persons should be recruited in the force to help change its image. In addition, it must also be ensured that those recruited in the force have no criminal background. Preference should be given to recruit the locals in the police force as they know the people of their localities and know their problems, a prerequisite for effective policing. Having said that I must add that salaries and incentives provided to other government servants such as medical facilities and house rent should also be extended to the members of the police force. Adequate funds should be given for the proper maintenance and workings of the police precincts. No funds are given to them at present. Moreover, incharge of Police precincts, SHOs, should be appointed on the basis of merit alone. Appointment of SHOs should not be made on the basis of political considerations as being apolitical helps them to carry out their responsibilities without hindrance.

PAGE: Is the criteria not being followed?

Ejaz: No. There is a favoritism in police. For instance, despite a ruling by the Supreme Court that granting seniority as a reward for a meritorious deed should not be allowed the practice continues unabated in the police department. The order is being flouted to reward the favourites on this pretext or that. This is a pure contempt of the order of the highest court of the land. Promotions and appointments of SHOs should be made on merit and seniority alone but the rule is not being followed.

PAGE: What do you say about the wide-scale corruption in police at every level?

Ejaz: Low salaries, absence of financial incentives and facilities is not only discouraging educated youth to join police notwithstanding induction of some of them in the force but is also resulting in the effective working of its duties. Provision of these facilities to the police at par with the other government servants will help improve the attitude of police with the public and its performance to help abolish the prevalent distrust. It will help restore confidence in police. If the Customs people can be awarded a 20 per cent cash reward for every catch they make why the same can not be extended to policemen?

PAGE: Hockey is your passion. What's the future of the game in Pakistan?

Ejaz: It's dark primarily because of the removal of government support in particular and private sector's in general. Many hockey talents like me no more have the chances to get employment in WAPDA, Customs, PIA, nationalised Banks, Police, Railways, etc. to provide them the much needed springboard. This is a great loss to a game which we call our national sport. The same is the case with the educational institutions. Suhail Abbas, world's best full-back and the top scorer in recent Olympics, has no job. He has been offered big salary and huge incentives by Japan and Holland to play for their national side. Tahir Zaman and Shabaz Sr., the two former captains of Pakistani national side, are already playing for foreign national teams. If the lethargy continues Pakistani team will not even reach the semi-finals in next Olympics.