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Rethinking institutions: Civil society’s role vital in implementing reforms

Pakistan on 21 December 2013
Location : Islamabad, Pakistan | Source : Pakistan Tribune. Image Source: Pakistan Tribune

Although some 20 working commissions have pushed for police reforms since partition, their proposed agendas have seen little in the way of implementation thus paving a way for a trajectory marked by inefficacy.

In order to endorse the need for reform the system, a roundtable discussion on “The State of Police Reforms in Pakistan and the way forward” was organised by the Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan (CRCP).

The participants said engendering government action was not enough adding that the civil society’s awareness and involvement was paramount within the folds of this comprehensive agenda.

“We have never taken the time to invest in a solid leadership,” expressed Akbar Nasir Khan, training specialist.
He was of the opinion that the potential benefits of a trained, and well-equipped police force were being sidelined, leading to a trust deficit between the force and the general public.

Sources reveal that the average expenditure on members of the force in Punjab is Rs640 as compared to India’s Rs1,700. With the scale of threat growing within Pakistan, police have garnered more than the stigma of inefficiency despite losing more than 5,000 members in the battle for peace and security.

“An average police station has less than Rs250 to spend per case,” related Saad Safi Peerzada, a professional allied with Rozan, a non-government organization . “With such a ludicrous budget, we cannot hold the police accountable for under-performance,” according to Peerzada.
He explained that within a free market economy, better service is driven by incentive of higher rewards and investment. “Police academies are tainted with corruption, the bribes determine who graduates,” he shared while adding that the bill drafted by his organisation seeks a quota of at least 10 per cent women representation at police stations as presently, only 0.86 per cent was engaged in the force.

The discussion also incited soft criticism with an attendee branding the approach of Pakistan’s police as “reactive rather than proactive”, citing the jailbreak in Multan earlier this year as a reflection of poor coordination between more than 33 agencies employed in the internal affairs of the country.

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