The Police Order 2002 promulgated in the year 2002 as
a part of police reforms programme could not make any headway because of
its inherent lacunas but now it has been amended to make it workable and
effective. It is being hoped that the amended law will go along in
changing police culture in the country.
The Police Order 2002, promulgated on August 14, 2002
with a big fanfare sought to replace the out molded law inherited from
the British colonial rule, the Police Act of 1861, enacted to rule the
natives. It was a pity that it took our rulers 55 years to realize that
these colonial objectives were no more relevant and desirable and that
we should frame a new law to serve the people instead of ruling them.
The police order 2002 was framed to convert the police into a citizen
and people force dedicated to uphold the law without fear or favour
while being mindful of the citizen's rights. It was indeed a big task to
change the colonial mindset of our police metamorphoses since
independence into a criminal one which the citizen fear and an
intimidated by. The Police Act 2002 not only hit at the police lordship
it also did not suit the political supporters who used this force for
terrorizing their opponents.
The law could not be implemented as the provincial
governments have been dragging their feet on implementing the new law
because the autonomy envisaged in the Police Order 2002, would
effectively remove the police from the control of politicians. That will
serve to remove one canker — the use of the police for partisan
political purposes by every successive government against its opponents.
When the police is freed of this politically oppressive task, it may be
better placed to concentrate on its real function — fighting crime and
upholding the law. However, what autonomy will not serve to do is
altering the citizen's perception of the police as corrupt, inefficient,
brutal and oppressive. In fact, if autonomy removes the police from the
control and scrutiny of provincial governments, virtually rendering the
force a law unto itself, this may worsen the tendency to prey upon the
After a high level meeting in Islamabad in March
last, President General Pervez Musharraf and then Prime Minister
Zafarulllah Khan Jamali set a new deadline of August 14, 2004 for the
implementation in letter and spirit of the Police Order 2002. The
setting of a new deadline was necessitated by the objections raised
against the new law and the foot dragging in its implementation restored
to by the provincial governments. The (amended) Police Order 2002
promulgated by President General Pervez Musharraf on Thursday last in
accordance with the proposals and suggestions of the people which will
put an end to the colonial form of police. According to details of the
promulgated Police Order 2002, it would introduce local democracy
through a legally institutionalized mechanism of checks and balances
over the police at the local level. The amendments have given it a final
shape and have made the Police Order 2002 more effective.
In the past, the legal structure did not provide any
institutionalized mechanism for the public to have a right or say in the
functioning of local administration especially the police and a culture
of pleading for favours (Sifarish) rather than exercising legal rights
had conditioned the political culture and administrative functioning.
The amended Police Order 2002 now would check the misuse of powers by
the police. The police officers at the district level and public safety
committees are the first post colonial representative bodies empowered
with the necessary legal authority to check the functioning of the
executive relationship between the Zila Nazam and the police.
A spokesman of NRB said the contention that including
the MNAs and MPAs in the District Public Safety Commission, the police
have been politicized and the spirit of Police Order has been diluted,
was baseless and a part of propaganda against an effort which aims at
providing relief to the common man through an effective check and
balance system over the police. The composition of the District Public
Safety and Police Complaints Commission has been changed to accommodate
the suggestions of the provincial governments. This change will
strengthen the commissions and improve democratic control over the
A careful reading of the Police Order 2002 reveals
that the MNAs and MPAs are part of the Provincial and National Public
Safety Commission and their inclusion in the commissions is in line with
the original philosophy of devolution. The NRB spokesman said the
presence of MNAs and MPAs from the opposition and independent members
selected through a transparent mechanism will create an environment in
which police will operate as a natural institution and not as the
coercive arm of the government.
Changes introduced through the Police Order
(Amendment) ordinance, 2004 will allow the police to serve the people
efficiently with adequate check by the public institutions. The
amendments will improve the working of police and the public
institutions created under the Police Order 2002 and ensure full
implementation of the order. Under this Police Order (Amendment)
Ordinance, 2004 various terminologies have been clarified by adding
definitions in Article 2 of the Order.
The District Public Safety Commissions have been
further empowered to deal with the complaints against police as well.
The commissions have been provided the powers of a civil court for
summoning, requisitioning the witnesses and relevant record. This will
enable these institutions to play an effective role in providing relief
to the public against police excesses and neglect. The commission has
been renamed as "District Public Safety and Police Complaints
Commission". Fact-finding inquiry conducted by a District Public
Safety and Police Complaints Commission shall be admissible in evidence
before a court, tribunal or an authority. The composition of the
District Public Safety and Police Complaints Commissions have been
revised to include MNAs/MPAs from the district concerned. The Provincial
Police Complaints Authority has been merged with the Provincial Public
Safety Commission. The Commission has been re-named as Provincial Public
Safety and Police Complaints Commission respectively.
The finalization of amendments in the Police Order
has paved the way for making the District Public Safety and Police
Complaints Commissions fully functional. The Government of Pakistan on
the recommendation of the NRB has already agreed to earmark at least Rs.
2 billion for meeting immediate requirements of the public institutions
as well as of the regular police force.
During the coming weeks and months the efforts by the
provincial governments and the federal government shall focus on the
institutional strengthening and capacity building of the public
institutions. A meeting of the National Implementation Body (NIB) will
be convened shortly to review the progress on implementation of Police
Order 2002. The NIB will finalize the transition plan for speedy
implementation of the Police Order 2002 in letter and spirit. The
consensus amendments will expedite the implementation of the Police
Order to the objectives of making the police an efficient and
service-oriented force. The force will be a accountable to the people
through public institutions. The Ordinance promulgated on 25th November
2004 by President General Pervez Musharraf will be processed according
to rules of business of Government of Pakistan in the stipulated
timeframe as a Bill to the National Assembly.