Senior police officials have expressed concern over weak implementation of the laws in Sindh, and stressed the need for capacity-building of the Sindh Police.
They were speaking at a two-day training session organised by the Civil Society Support Programme in collaboration with the Enhanced Democratic Accountability and Civic Engagement (EDACE) for police officials on human rights at District Nazim Complex in Kandhkot.
The training session was attended by 50 police officials including writing head constable (head muhrer) and investigation officers. The training was facilitated by Faizullah Korejo, SSP (Investigations) South Karachi and Iqbal Detho, a human rights activist.
Speaking at the workshop, SSP Faizullah Korejo said that interior Sindh was in the grip of domestic violence, child abuses, tribal conflicts and violations of minority rights. But, he added ironically the police stations were not equipped with different laws and that was why the implementation of the laws remained weak.
He said that the Sindh Child Protection Authority Act, 2011, recognised a person as child who was below 18 years of age and the police was required to protect children in collaboration with the child protection units through the Social Welfare Department. He said that recently-enacted Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2013, could be effective tool for booking offences as now child marriage was a cognisable offence under the law and free will under 18 years did not hold ground, adding that further efforts should be made in determining age at investigation level and statements of witnesses should be recorded in a non-coercive manner.
Korejo said that Sindh Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2013, also needed to be adhered to. He said that the child marriage had become a cognisable offence under the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2013, adding that previously girls/women were wrongly implicated under PPC-365 B, 366-B, 371-A&B and in some cases 10-Zina Hudood Ordinance. Korejo further impressed upon the police officials to investigate the cases properly rather to mention everything in the FIR to prove the cases.
Iqbal Detho said that the police as an organ of the state was bound to safeguard the fundamental rights (8-28 Articles) enshrined in the constitution of Pakistan. He stressed the need for more dissemination and practical application of special laws related to vulnerable segments of society such as minorities, women and children need to be mainstreamed at police stations particularly with head muhrer (WHC) who wrote the FIR and invoked the sections of various laws.
Detho added that in line with the Supreme Court’s verdict of June 2014 regarding minority rights, the police was bound to protect the places of worship and provide security during their religious festivals. He pointed out that due to unavailability of prisons for children, the children were kept with other prisoners thus they were sexually assaulted.
Speaking on the objectives of the programme, Afzal Shaikh of the CSSP said the workshop aimed at enhancing the capacity of police officials on human rights and also to make them aware about different special laws on children and women. He said the CSSP had also been endeavouring to organise capacity-building programmes in Larkana division.