Police ‘order’ or bureaucratic ‘act’?
LAHORE, July 8: At a time when the police are opposing certain amendments to the Police Order 2002, mainly the proposed direct induction of DSPs, the bureaucracy is quietly planning to reintroduce the colonial Police Act 1861 after the passage of the new local government law by the Punjab Assembly.
Sources said the Punjab police higher-ups were embroiled in a tussle regarding their say in the proposed amendments to the Police Order 2002. But the reality was that those at the helm of affairs wanted to have the law, introduced by the Musharraf regime, repealed once the existing Local Government Ordinance is replaced by a new law being considered by the provincial assembly at the moment.
The plea is that the Police Order was enacted to create district police units to match the district government units created under the LGO. And after the abolition of these district government units through the new local government law, there is no need to maintain district police units.
But this plea for reintroducing the Police Act 1861 might not be welcomed by the police because this law would once again place them under the administrative control of the civil bureaucracy, sources said.
They said that right now, the police were opposing mainly the plan to directly induct DSPs into the department by amending the Police Order that provides for the direct induction of only constables, ASIs and ASPs.
Sources said the police were opposing the move because, if succeeded, it would allow the provincial police officials a quick rise to the higher posts being occupied by the PSP officers.
Right now, ranker DSPs become SPs and join the PSP at an average of over 50 years. And those few who get the chance are retired from service by merely getting promoted to the rank of SSP. The share of Punjab for the seats of SPs is further
reduced after the retirement of these ranker officers, allowing the PSP to continue occupying almost all senior positions in Punjab.
In contrast, sources said, there was no hurdle for provincial police officers of the three other provinces to get promoted to
the rank of SP, become a part of the PSP and finally get promotions to the higher ranks and grades. This was so because most PSP officials belonging to Punjab were not interested in serving in the three provinces.
To quote some examples, sources said, Lahore CCPO Aslam Tarin was a Balochistan police service official. And because of no such hurdle he was easily and timely promoted to the rank of SP. He therefore joined the PSP and was now serving as an additional IG.
Whereas, Javaid Shah, known for his services to the Punjab police and killing terrorists, could not get promotion to the DIG during his service. He was given the promotion only after his retirement from service mainly because of his local and international connections.
Sources said the police department was also pressing for the repeal of Article 155 of the Police Order which allowed punishment to the inefficient officials. This desire was being opposed by the civil bureaucracy with the contention that, if
fulfilled, it would eliminate the only mechanism left for the accountability of those in uniform.
They said the bureaucracy was opposing this move while keeping in mind that they had already allowed the police to wriggle out of the ambit of the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act (PEEDA). A bill carrying the
amendment was pending before the Punjab Assembly and was likely to be adopted in its next sitting.The police never allowed establishment of the external accountability mechanism contained in the Police Order in the shape of public safety
and complaint commissions at district, provincial and federal levels. And now they want to bulldoze Article 155, sources said.
They however hoped that except for the induction of DSPs, the police would most likely agree to other proposed amendments to the Police Order.
To explain, they said, there were three major parts of the proposed amendments which the police were likely to accept. The first part related to all amendments to the law from 2005 to 2007. These were protected under the Nov 3, 2007 Emergency
Order by Gen Musharraf. But they lost legality after the Supreme Court declared the emergency order illegal in its July 31, 2009 verdict.
The second part is about the permission to district CIA police to automatically assume investigations of all heinous crime.
Source said this proposal was itself given by the police some time ago.
The third part was of allowing two-time change in investigation of cases instead of the current one.
Sources said once the Police Order was protected under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution. But this protection was removed by the 18th Amendment, allowing Sindh and Balochistan to repeal the law and reintroduce the Police Act 1861.
Sources said under the recently amended Punjab Rules of Business, the police were an attached department of the home department and therefore the latter had all the legal rights to handle the police laws.
“The police higher-ups do not want to have an independent department either because this will bring them under the direct control of the chief secretary,” an official remarked.