Extra-judicial murders | Pakistan Today

Extra-judicial murders

  • An unprofessional police force is the last thing the nation requires

Police is an important limb of any state structure. A limb responsible for ensuring the protection and safety of the public. Under ordinary circumstances the people would feel secure around these uniformed officers. Secure enough to live their lives freely and roam around with a sense of safekeeping.

Unfortunately in Pakistan it’s quite the opposite. Rather than feeling safe, the very sight of these uniformed men sends shivers down an ordinary citizen’s spine. Instead of a secure environment, the harassment which the common man faces at the hands of the ever so loved policemen is drastic in itself.

Random police pickets throughout the cities are a source of anxiety for an innocent citizen rather than creating a sense of security. With disregard to all forms of professionalism these men pester the citizenry with inhumane treatment and infuriating questions. The most easy and common target for these official predators are the youth of the nation. A group of young boys are more likely to be taken to task by the police for being out on the streets.

I myself have witnessed discourteous treatment being rendered out by the supposed protectors of the citizens. A couple of boys celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in a cricket match were physically beaten up by an assistant superintendent police on Hussain Chowk near MM Alam Road, Lahore a couple of years ago. Their crime was celebrating the victory in a louder than usual manner.

The more regrettable part is that more than 90 percent of this treatment goes unaccounted for and no action whatsoever is taken by the concerned authorities. A country which is in a constant state of war against terrorism, an unprofessional police force is the last thing the nation requires.

Such police officers should be subjected to the strictest of punishments as they not only violate human dignity but also disregard the oath of office they are bound to adhere to

Harassment and unprofessional treatment aside, the despicable presence of fake encounters and extra-judicial murders is a menace much greater than the discourteous treatment of the citizens.

Article 14 of the Constitution of Pakistan protects a person’s right to human dignity. Despite the presence of this right in the fundamental rights chapter of the Constitution, the day to day infringement of these rights is a disgrace to the country and its prevalent laws.

The case of Naqeebullah Mehsud isn’t the first of its kind. The policemen throughout the country have been proactively participating in this undemocratic, unconstitutional and inhumane practice. On the pretext of an encounter or more commonly known as a ‘Police Muqabla’ any citizen may be deprived of his life and the police shall conveniently label it as a law enforcement exercise.

Countless citizens of this country have been brutally murdered by the very police responsible to ensure their protection. Be it SSP Rao Anwar in Sindh or the infamous Abid Boxer from Punjab, these individuals present within the force have mercilessly butchered innocent men and have had the audacity to label them as terrorists. Despite repeated calls for police accountability, the same remains unheard of. Even more so the actual perpetrators ordering the encounters remain hidden behind the veil. The Model Town disaster is a perfect example of the hidden hands escaping the wrath of justice.

Rao Anwar continues to blatantly accuse Naqeebullah of being a terrorist though the inquiry committee formed to probe the matter has rejected his claim. Although he has been relieved of his duties, an example will not be set unless and until he is put to trial and sentenced accordingly.

It is quite understandable that the criminal justice system in Pakistan opens doors for actual terrorists to walk free every other day. It still doesn’t justify extra-judicial murders. We as a nation should focus on improvising the system and collectively raise a voice against this exceptional abuse of power.

Such police officers should be subjected to the strictest of punishments as they not only violate human dignity but also disregard the oath of office they are bound to adhere to. The police force has been mandated to protect the life and property of the citizens of this glorious country but sadly enough even a FIR is registered after payment of the consideration amount. A poor man cannot even imagine seeking justice from our ‘Thana Kutcheri’ culture.

How many more Naqeebullahs are needed for our leaders before they talk about reforms? Merely changing the uniform of the force isn’t going to help. Veiled behind the uniform are the same barbarians who sometimes are even more notorious than the actual criminals.

Without prejudice to the above this nation fully acknowledges the sacrifices rendered out by the likes of DIG Ahmad Mubin and SSP Zahid Gondal and with a heavy heart salutes those heroes. This country is indebted to the blood spilt by the men on the force and accepts their loss of life for us to live peacefully. That is exactly why the rotten eggs present within should be given harsher sentences as they not only destroy the people’s faith in the force but also bring a bad name to those who fell in the line of duty.

With hopes of justice being done in Naqeebullah’s case, we as a nation should demand reforms for the police force so as to get rid of this menace for times to come. Following the end of the media hype the short term memory loss citizenry of Pakistan move on with their lives and barely anyone cares about the final outcome of such incidents.

How pitiful that the sitting prime minister’s brother was also murdered by the police right outside his residence. Even strict punishments won’t suffice. There is a desperate need for legislation upon the subject matter and also its subsequent enforcement.

I hope and pray that our leaders get some time off from cursing the Parliament and take their respective seats in the sacred halls of the House in order to legislate upon matters of public importance.

Which so ever leader uses the police force for his personal scores should bear in mind that the opposing side might take the seats of power some day and the same police which obediently fires upon their command might turn the barrels towards them in the blink of an eye.