Profile in Politics:Law & order
Since law and order is a provincial subject, let us take the province of the Punjab as a case study. Addressing a high profile meeting on law and order recently the Chief Minister Ch Pervaiz Elahi had to strike a note of warning to the police elite of the province that “a substantial increase was made in the budget of police department with the hope that it would improve its performance.” But keeping in view the overall situation, he had come to the conclusion that it has failed to deliver good”. The simple question posed by the CM to the police elite of the province was whereas the budget for the department had increase manifold during the last four years, the law and order situation should have improved and the crime rate should have gone down but both have worsened. why?
The chief minister had an answer when he said that he firmly believed police could root out criminal elements from the society only by having commitment and determination. This commitment must start with the Chief Executive who is the fountainhead of good governance and guardian of the rule of law. Nothing will then stop this commitment from filtering down to every head of the department and through him to the Station House Officers in case of police and the Patvari in case of the revenue department and so on and so forth.
With this the Pakistan National Forum held an emergency session to discuss the law and order situation in the country in general and the province of Punjab in particular. Despite special invitation, the representatives of the Law Minister, the CS and Lahore City District Government could not join the PNF meeting, reflecting the mind set that the Police Act of 1861 being still in place. The Pakistan National Forum is of the view that before introducing any new drastic changes the present provisions of the constitutions, the Pakistan code of criminal procedure and the present failure of the Police Force should be scrutinised.
Section 154 in our code of criminal procedure states “whenever it comes to the notice of the Station House Officer that a cognisable offence has been committed, he shall register an FIR and proceed with the investigation according to the law”. Does this happen in the normal course? No. People have to go right up to Supreme Court of Pakistan to get their FIR registered with the all mighty SHO. The DPO in whose jurisdiction this violation of section 154 takes place should be answerable to the IGP. If the IGP cannot ensure due application of article four of the constitution and section 154 of the code of criminal procedure in his province, then he definitely lacks the commitment that Punjab CM is asking for.
The Pakistan National Forum defined many other factors which hinder the performance of the police including undue interference and pressures from the highest level in the discharge of their functions. The career of an officer, at times, is at stake because there is no constitutional protection provided. I have known an IGP in Punjab transferred overnight because one of his subordinate officers had questioned a vehicle with black window glasses, not allowed under the law at that time. Winston Churchill once made the historic observation that war is too serious a business to be left to the generals alone. The PNF is of the view that law and order is too serious a business to be left to the police alone. There are many others involved in this serious business an unless all of them manifest their commitment to ensure rule of law in the country, it would be unfair to demand a commitment from the police without the top executive sharing the same commitment.
Source: The News