Reforming Pak Police sign now

Letter to the
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party
Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif Quaid Pakistan Muslim League
Asfand Yar Wali Khan Quaid Awami National Party
Altaf Hussain Quaid Mutahida Quami Movement
Imran Khan Quaid Pakistan Insaf Party
Syed Munawar Hassn Ameer Jamaat Islami
Justice Iftikhar Chuadhary Chairman Law & Justice Commission of Pakistan

Subject: Reforming Pak Police

Dear Sirs,

We the ordinary citizens of this Great Nation PAKISTAN, wish to bring to your notice the appalling, if not non- existent, inadequate, lethargic and utterly disappointing implementation of the police reforms. The need for police reforms have been well acknowledged since independence. Police are the gatekeepers of the criminal justice system. Every action of an individual police officer whether s/he is a street-level patrol officer or an officer-in-charge of a police station affects not only the police system but it also touches the very sensitive nervous system of the whole criminal justice system.

The current Police Force is incapable of combating crime, upholding the law, or protecting citizens and the state against militant violence.
To the ordinary person in Pakistan, what matters most is that should he require a response from the police he can get it without having to ask his local Member of Parliament or feudal lord. He also wants that should police officers commit a crime or abuse against him, he or his relatives can seek redress without fear that political heavyweights will get involved. And he requires that if he ends up in police custody, he will be treated as innocent until proven guilty and not summarily killed because a local feudal lord wants it to be so. The ordinary citizen wants that should she enter a police station, she will not be intimidated, tortured, and kept in arbitrary custody. As a woman, she wants special provisions to protect her from harassment. People are also particularly concerned that they will not become the easy targets of fabricated and falsified cases to boost records of police efficiency. These are the concerns of most people in Pakistan, which persist despite the implementation of new legal framework Police Order 2002.

The shame of the recent Police reforms is that rather than sending the right message to the people of Pakistan, they have sent altogether the wrong one. The changes are incomplete and inadequate, and reinforce popular perceptions that politicisation, corruption, mismanagement and impunity are here to stay. People understand only that their lives are subject to the whims of elite groups, power mafia, money making mafia, technocrat mafia, weak institutions and powerful Bureaucracy. Under these circumstances, it can be said that the Pakistani criminal justice system is no longer serving any purpose. Whereas the aim of punishment under the rule of law is to reform criminals and deter them from further acts, the same cannot be said of the 'punishments' awarded by the courts in Pakistan today, which are intended only to protect criminals and permit more abuse.

As policing in Pakistan is broken and the public is dissatisfied. Since policing affects the safety and security of all those living in Pakistan each and every day, we ask that all political parties agree to include the issue of police reforms in their manifestos for the next Assembly elections. In particular, we ask the following:

1. Depoliticise the Police: The police must be free from the political interference and internal and external bureaucracy which prevents them from doing their job. This means that the police should have authority over administrative and investigative decisions, while political leaders should maintain control over policy.

2. Remove colonial style Bureaucracy in Police. Make one unified Police Cadre by merging senior and junior cadres (like in South Africa and South East European Countries).

3. Transform existing laws, rules and regulations related to Police and make them public friendly by prioritizing human rights under the guidance of UN Code of Conduct for International Law enforcement Officials.

4. Make new laws, rules and regulations related to Police by learning lesson from OSCE (Organisation for Security Cooperation in Europe) and UK Police System.

5. Make Police Acts at provincial level according to provinces needs. Centre should make modal police act for guidance and limitation of provinces (Like in India and all American States).

6. Replace Penal Code 1860 with a new Penal Code (like in Iran and all American States).

7. Make new Criminal Procedure Code 1898 by getting guidance from OSCE document Reference Guide to Criminal Procedure and UK Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

8. Develop effective Police Charter, Police Performance Indicators and Police Conduct Regulations.

9. Monitor the Police: The police must be accountable to the law and to the people. This means that Independent Police Complaints Authorities at the Provinces and District levels should be set up. Members should not be politician and sitting bureaucrats.

10. Develop Statutory Internal complaint system.

11. Train the Police: The police must be trained to be a more service-oriented agency. This means that training at all levels needs to be changed to educate the police on how to deal with the public better and how to investigate crime more effectively.

12. Recruit more Police: The police must increase their numbers by three times. In Pakistan for 100,000 populations there are approximately 150 police officials whereas in Thailand and Malaysia the figure is around 400 police persons for same number of population.

13. Engage the Police: The police must have a better relationship with the community. This means that community policing projects should be set up throughout Pakistan, especially in big cities.

The 'Citizens Charter for police reforms' needs to be prepared after a series of consultations with civil society organisations by using UK style Consultation Document Method. The charter is crucial as it points to the urgent need to change the police from a force into one that work for the people.

Finally as a Proud Citizen of this Great Nation PAKISTAN I would like to request that you take the lead in playing your role for noble cause of implementing police reforms in Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, Pakhtoon Khoah and PAKISTAN. We trust that, as responsible Leaders we can count on you to implement real democratic and public friendly Police Reforms at the earliest. I believe it's high time we "Rise Up!" to our responsibilities!

Thanks and regards,
A Concerned Citizen


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Leaders of Pakistan


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