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Doing away with Thana culture

Pakistan on 05 August 2013
Location : Pakistan | Source : The Nation. Image Source: The Nation

When the police ceases to protect life and property of citizens, delivers only to the influentials, and when the poor running from pillar to post find no access to the thana police for the redressal of grievances, and when the police keeps a distance to meet with general public; such mindset and environment gives birth to termed known as Thana Culture.

Change of Thana culture is the priority agenda of the present Government. Prime Minister of Pakistan has directed to constitute police councils to promote police-public relationship and stressed upon training of police officers on scientific lines at international level. He has further desired to bring in revolutionary reforms and structural changes in police setup and measures be taken to ensure proper maintenance of law and order and effective resolution of public grievances.

Besides other initiatives for revolutionising Thana Culture, The Chief Minister Punjab has decided to reform infrastructure of existing Police Stations and announced to build 100 Model Police Stations throughout the province with all facilities of modern equipment where in people will feel free and comfortable to register their complaints. The dream requires to be realised on a faster track. The Government of Punjab is reportedly warming up its muscles to take on the challenge. The KPK Government has also vowed to eradicate Thana Culture but the details remain veiled.

To get rid of routine Thana Culture, the Government should initially focus on those issues which are responsible to enhance police performance at all level. These may include an easy access of police to the general public, providing conducive atmosphere to the police officials as well as the public, immediate registration of First Information Report(FIR), preventing registration of false FIRS, elimination of inefficient and corrupt elements from police ranks, introducing an incentive based career for honest and public friendly police officials, capacity building and professional trainings by introducing posting policy for a tenure purely based on merit . Also provision of reliable vehicles for patrolling and latest IT equipment is made.

If a District Police Officer is posted on the recommendation of an MNA/MPA at any district, will he be able to deliver justice? Absolutely not. The same will happen in case of SHO posted at Thana level. What is needed is that IGP should be given free hand for the postings of RPOs and DPOs at Divisional and District level. Similarly, DPOS may select their team at tehsil and Thana level. The present Govt enjoys absolute majority and the Chief Minister Punjab who is a visionary leader and a great administrator can stop political interference at all level in his jurisdiction. Posting of honest officers with reputation of good public dealing without any political reference would be a great initiative of the Government to improve Thana Culture.

The Executive Magistracy may be restored without further loss of time. The writ of the Government could not be established after the departure of Executive Magistrates. Presently, the Executive cum Judicial Magistrates extremely overburdened with judicial work cannot spare time for law and order and public meetings. In the absence of executive magistrates, police alone has failed to enforce law. As a result, maintenance of law and order has been severely affected. In the past the Illaqa Magistrates and SHOs jointly could handle law and order more effectively.
During street crime incidents, it is generally observed that police reaches the place of incident after everything is done. A stage has come when people feel reluctant reporting cases of dacoity and other heinous offences to the police presuming as a wastage of time as police will do nothing. This is serious state of affairs.

Police must ponder and restore the confidence of people. As police alone cannot fight crime. No campaign has ever succeeded without public participation. Prime Minister of Pakistan has rightly pointed out to immediately constitute Public-Police Committees to win the hearts of people. Police-Public Committees at muhalah level needs to be constituted to address public complaints. The Punjab government had attained a successful experience of constituting Muhafiz Committees at Muhalah level during 1997.

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