| Chief Justice Gulzar expresses concerns over poor performance of Sindh police | Directs to implement Police Reforms Committee’s recommendations to achieve required results

ISLAMABAD  -  A meeting of the Police Reforms Committee (PRC) was held in the Supreme Court of Pakistan under the Chairmanship of Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed to review the implementation status of PRC Report and its overall impact on policing across the country.

The Chief Justice in his opening remarks expressed concerns on the deteriorating law and order situation and increasing crime rate and emphasised the need of adopting proactive approach for prevention and detection of crimes.

The CJP said that the high rate of acquittal, poor investigation, non-usage of modern technology, lack of professional skills and non-responsive attitude of police towards public are key factors adversely affecting the overall performance of the criminal justice system.

Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed opined that motivation which is foremost inspiring factor is not coming in mainstream. “The recommendations of Police Reforms Committee should be implemented in effective manner to achieve the required results. The recommendations should not be taken as academic discussion but need to be implemented on the ground to improve the service delivery of the police. Progress should be reflected in each and every district of the country. For improving the standards and quality of policing, efforts should be made for capacity building of all police officers/officials and prosecutors through special and regular trainings.”

The meeting was also attended by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Senior Puisne Judge Supreme Court of Pakistan, serving Inspector General of Police from all four provinces, GB, AJ&K and former Inspectors General of Police including Afzal Ali Shigri, (Convener), Dr Shoaib Suddle, Tariq Khosa, Fiaz Toru, Wajid Zia, Director General of National Police Bureau, Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, Secretary Ministry of Interior, Raja Naeem Akbar, Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice, Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh, Secretary, Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, Zafar Nasrullah Khan, Home Secretary Punjab, Qazi Shahid Pervez, Home Secretary Sindh, Ikramullah Khan, Secretary Home & Tribal Affairs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Mr. Arshad Majeed, Home Secretary Balochistan. The meeting reviewed the implementation status of PRC Report and discussed draft strategy and action plan to implement the recommendations of PRC.

The chief justice asked the respective IGPs to explain the initiatives taken in their provinces for improving quality of service, internal accountability, investigation, ADR, use of Modern Techniques aimed at performance/working of complaint redressal cells and District Assessment Committees (DACs).

The Punjab Inspector General of Police explained that in context of internal accountability he had imposed major and minor penalties on the delinquent police officers/officials. He informed the Committee that in the recent past with the help of modern techniques like CCTV cameras they have solved very high profile terrorism cases. He added that still there is much required to meet the challenges of modern policing.  

The Sindh Inspector General of Police explained that due to non-availability of modern techniques and political interference in the police affairs, the Sindh Police is not performing as mandated.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan showed his reservations over poor performance of police department in the province of Sindh and desired that Sindh Police should itself proactively improve its performance rather to have expectations from other departments.

The KPK Inspector General of Police briefed the Committee that the KPK police department has complete autonomy without any external interference and pressure. They have latest legislation which is sufficient to regulate the affairs of the KPK Police. He further informed that they have established dispute resolution councils at district level which are playing effective role in reduction of criminal cases.

Balochistan Inspector General of Police apprised that Balochistan is the toughest province with respect to law and order situation due to number of terrorist incidents and presence of different armed groups in the Province. However, it is ensured that like other countries of the world the police department with its all capabilities would succeed to encounter terrorism.

AJP Inspector General of Police explained that AJK Police is successfully redressing the complaints of the public by the use of social media. The AJK Police has also introduced the office of SP Overseas to resolve the complaints of overseas. The Gilgit-Baltistan Inspector General of Police explained that GB is very peaceful area having very low rate of crime. He added that they have introduced the Hotel and Traveler’s Eye initiative for the safety and convenience of the tourists. The DIG HQs ICT while representing IGP ICT has explained the initiatives taken to make the Islamabad safe city. He stated that after establishment of Prosecution Department the conviction rate has been improved.  

The CJP appreciated the performance of Punjab, KPK, Balochistan, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan and desired that Islamabad and Sindh Police should also improve its working particularly to address the issue of low conviction rate, which is the one of the major causes of increasing crime rate in the ICT and Sindh Province.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial appreciated the KPK Police working of Dispute Resolution Councils and desired that similar Councils should be established countrywide for the amicable settlement of the disputes among the parties.

The Chief Justice had desired from former IGPs, the Members of Police Reforms Committee, to share their inputs on overall performance of police department of the country after establishment of Police Reform Committee. Where upon Afzal Ali Shigri, Dr Shoaib Suddle and Tariq Khosa expressed that the police department has though improved its working particularly in the field of internal accountability and investigation yet there is much more required to be done.

They added that initially performance of complaint redressal centers established on the recommendations of PRC was very impressive but its efficiency has now been reduced. Dr. Shoaib Suddle, former IGP stressed the need of uniform police laws across the country. Tariq Khosa, former IGP stated that police department should be free from external and political influence and it should be administratively independent.

The Director General National Police Bureau (NPB) presented the proposed strategy and action plan for the Implementation of Police Reforms Committee Recommendations. The Chief Justice of Pakistan directed DG NPB to prepare and share action plan for implementation of PRC Recommendations with specific timeline.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial said he is pleased to hear ideas of police chiefs from all over the country. He emphasised that to improve the Criminal Justice System there should be proper coordination between the prosecution and police to make the conviction rate high, the reasons for acquittal should be redressed.

The investigation needs to be modernised. There is lack of professional skills in the Police Department at lower level. Use of technology and forensic can improve the conviction rate. There should be safe city like projects in all urban cities including Islamabad for better investigation the use of modern techniques should be used to trace crimes expeditiously.

Alternate dispute Resolution system should be introduced in criminal disputes just like family and civil disputes so that Judiciary of the Country can focus on main issues, he added. He said major causes for crime rate in our country is being ignored which includes drug, land mafia, smuggling and such like social evils. Theses all areas should be considered by the Police Reforms Committee for the positive improvement in the Criminal Justice System of the Country.

The CJP fully endorsed the views of Justice Umar Ata Bandial and desired that efforts of PRC should be result oriented to achieve the objectives and purposes of establishment of Police Reforms Committee.