Police reforms agenda
Capital City Police would be re-organised in all
four provincial capitals and federal capital
From Shamim Ahmed Rizvi,
Aug 20 - 26, 2001
The President Gen. Pervez Musharraf while chairing
a special meeting held to review the progress on police reforms agenda
in Islamabad on August 11, expressed his dissatisfaction over the pace
of work. He was told that financial constraints were the major hurdle
in carrying out the task as about Rs. 5 billion were required to meet
the expenses of first phase in the current financial year. While
directing the Ministry of Finance to tap all available resources to
provide the required funds, the President also set out Oct. 12, 2001
as the date for the task.
By Oct. 12 President wanted to have reorganised
police structure as per reform agenda already approved and have
separate city police force at least for Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.
These cities as well as other provincial capitals, the President said,
have their own dynamics which require a dedicated police force with a
different orientation and enhanced training. Addressing the Police
Chiefs from the provinces and the Federal Capital, he emphasised that
together with economic revival, reforming and restructuring of the
Police was an important priority of the government as improvement in
the law-enforcement agencies was directly linked to good governance.
Only after two days of these blunt observations of
the President, Interior Minister Moinuddin Hyder, announced at a press
conference in Islamabad that Police Act 1986 was being drastically
amended as per reform agenda to transform the role of the police and
this exercise will be completed before Sep. 30. The reorganised police
structure including establishment of separate city police in
Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore will be operational in Oct. 2001. Some
amendment in the 1861 police act have already been made to facilitate
the implementation of the devolution plan and the district
The Interior Minister announced that separate
prosecution service would be established in each province and federal
capital by December 31, this year. "Presently, there are, 1,650
public prosecutors in the country and 1,200 new prosecutors will be
inducted to speedily pursue cases in the courts," the Interior
Minister said while addressing a Press conference here.
He said "a total of Rs. 5.8 billion would be
required for the implementation of police reform plan. Rs. 3.1 billion
would be the recurring expenditure on the new police system. The
federal government had allocated Rs. 1.9 billion. The provinces have
already committed Rs. 837 million and we are asking them to further
increase their contribution".
The Police Transformation Plan comprises major
ingredients which include establishment of Public Safety Commissions,
establishment of separate Prosecution Service, Restructuring of
Provincial, Regional and District Headquarters, Capital City Police,
separation of Investigation from Watch and Ward.
He said that Rs. 700 million were needed to meet
the expenses of 1,334 police stations in the country and government
would provide this amount to facilitate the functioning of the police.
Over 5,000 police officials were deputed on investigation in addition
to their routine duties. This service would also be separated so that
investigations were completed in time. About 2,000 more officials
would be recruited and they would not be assigned any other work and
may be given a mark or a cap of different colour. The District Public
Safety Commissions would be established immediately and the process
could take next two to three months or as elected members were
selected by the respective District Councils.
Highlighting the salient features of the Police
Ordinance promulgated by President Pervez Musharraf last Sunday, the
Interior Minister said the Capital City Police would be re-organised
in all four provincial capitals and federal capital. The Minister said
that a change had already started in the recruitment and training of
police personnel and merit is being observed very strictly.
For a variety of reasons, no other state
institution needs reforms and reorganisation so desperately as police.
Firstly, the Police is still regulated and governed by the 19th
century law, enacted by the colonial rulers to suit their own colonial
needs of subjugation and repression. Secondly, corruption has so
deeply crept into its vitals that it is simply futile to expect it to
perform as a State institution of an independent and sovereign nation.
And thirdly, the political inductions, made during the PML and PPP
Governments have cut across its very basis and ruined the element of
efficiency, decency and objectivity of the force. There are reports
that thousands of anti-social elements were able to join the Police by
dint of corruption and political manipulation, one has to fully
endorse General Musharraf's stance that reformation and reorganisation
of Police is fundamental to good governance. It is an indisputable
reality that security of life, honour and property cannot be ensured
without an honest, efficient and responsive police force. The previous
rulers and their cronies had unfortunately used Police as an
instrument of political influence and thus destroyed its basic
characteristic of service to the people. It's really time to change
the orientation of the Police force and practically attune its
objectives and motto to serve the masses, rather than playing into the
hands of political elements to promote their selfish designs. The
thana culture must come to an end and Police stations should turn into
hubs of peace and justice, rather than torture and extortion.