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Old Sunday, April 10, 2016
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Policing Sindh

THE appointment of a new police chief in Sindh last month provides an opportunity to examine the challenges of law-enforcement the province faces. In order to address the situation, the new police chief may want to consider the following concerns:

One, team-building should be the top priority. The new chief has to maintain a balance between the officers of Sindh and officers hired from other provinces. Without team-building it’s difficult to improve the output of the organisation.

Two, to carry out targeted operations and assist the police, Rangers are deployed in Karachi. But this is a short-term solution. A transition plan needs to be worked out. However, such transition is not possible without enhancement of capacity-building and morale of the Karachi police.

Three: Since Sindh has opted for the colonial Police Act, 1861, the new chief is expec*ted to convince parliamentarians, civil society, the bureaucracy and media to opt for a new police law.

Four: In the past procurement in Sindh police has lacked transparency. To regain credibility requires strict adherence towards transparent procedures. Induc*tions should be made by committees having honest officers.

Five: Sustainable reforms require two imperatives — political will having legal backing and public support. In the recent past a police chief of another province first introduced some public-friendly initiatives but missed seeking parliamentary and bureaucratic support. Keeping in view that experience, the new IG needs to follow the prerequisites required for reforms.

Six: Corruption not only mars the police’s image but also demoralises honest officers. Without maintaining a balance between rewards and punishment the organisation cannot deliver. Effective anti-corruption strategy requires a background unit within the department to be administered by honest officers. This unit should deal with the corrupt firmly but avoid victimisation.

Seven: Effective law enforcement requires innovation. However, our model promotes stagnation. Training programmes need to be assessed and evaluated.

Our policing model promotes stagnation.
Eight: Though the Police Order, 2002 made classification of urban and rural policing apparatus, since Sindh has abandoned this it’s no more binding. The Police Act, 1861, primarily revolves around rural policing, therefore, it does not cater to the needs of modern urban policing. To police Karachi and Hyder*abad effectively, the urban policing models of Mumbai, New Delhi etc may be replicated.

Nine: Image-building is another ideal the new police chief should strive for. However, true image-building is not possible without performance-based policing, accountability and democratic public oversight, and improved relations with the community and media.

Ten: Senior police commanders often complain about non-observance of tenure, which badly affects the continuity of policies. If the IGP wants tenure, then he also needs to ensure tenure for all ranks.

Eleven: Though operational autonomy is in demand, senior management needs to realise its importance for the junior ranks too. The new chief may tie operational autonomy with accountability. Decentralisation will promote transparency.

Twelve: Public complaints usually meet unprofessional handling hence victims of crime are further victimised by the criminal justice system. The new chief should establish an efficient and responsive complaint disposal apparatus independent of operational police based on transparent communication.

Thirteen: Politi*cisa*tion of the police is a major concern. Depoliti*cisation is not a gigantic task; it only requires determination of the top police leadership and realisation by the powerful elite. Police leadership should have the courage to proceed against those who try to use external influence and get postings of their choice.

Fourteen: Traffic man**agement requires im**mediate intervention, especially in Kara*chi. There are millions of vehicles plying the roads in the metropolis, yet not enough police officials regulating vehicular traffic. The Motor*way Police model can be followed as a remedy.

Fifteen: Improvement of public service delivery at the police station level requires change in workstation environment, increased financing and change in attitude.

Sixteen: Quality of investigation determines the quality of policing, hence talented investigators and experts should be hired.

Seventeen: Monopoly of some officers over urban and rural policing also needs to be tackled.

Eighteen: To improve response and mobility of police, technology-led solutions need to be encouraged. Such solutions will reduce sole dependence on human resource.

Nineteen: Around 55,000 to 80,000 private security guards perform security functions in Karachi; they need to be utilised in an optimum manner.

Twenty: Apart from short-term initiatives, structural adjustment is also inevitable. To pursue such an objective parliamentarians, media, the intelligentsia and police need to synchronise their efforts.

The writer is a police officer.
Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2016
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Old Tuesday, May 03, 2016
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Default A new Fata

A new Fata


IN the wake of the successful military operation in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas, the demand for reforms here — referred to in Point 12 of the National Action Plan (NAP) — has become even louder. Fata, as a buffer between the settled areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, has been significantly impacted by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and the subsequent US-led military interventions.

The area has been a breeding ground for extremism and terrorism since the Soviet invasion. With the exception of Orakzai Agency, all the other tribal agencies in Fata are contiguous with Afghanistan. Porous borders facilitated the intrusion of jihadis from across the border as well as the flow of weapons and explosives. This, added to the fact that socially isolated spaces in certain parts of Fata had traditionally been exploited by certain elements to raise private militias — even though Article 256 of the Constitution expressly forbids such outfits — resulted in a concentration of militants in the area.

After 9/11, there has been a growing realisation of the importance of reforms in Fata. Point 8 in the 36-point Charter of Democracy signed between the PPP and PML-N in 2006 suggested the merger of Fata with KP.

At the present time, three options are being debated: one, complete provincial status; second, merger with KP; and third, phase-wise gradual integration.

A sustainable peace requires a ‘soft’ approach.
Administrative reforms in Gilgit-Baltistan through the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009 are a recent success of the Pakistani federation. With certain modifications, a similar phase-wise reform package can also be tried in Fata.

In Pakistan, administrative reforms have included the establishment of Mohmand Agency (1951); formation of One Unit (1954); inclusion of Khairpur and Bahawalpur states (1955) and Gwadar (1958) in the federation; integration of the states of Amb, Dir, Chitral and Swat in the then North West Frontier Province (1969); dissolution of One Unit (1970); establishment of Bajaur and Orakzai agencies (1973); renaming NWFP as KP (2010); and in 2011, under Article 246 of the Constitution, Tor Ghar, formerly a tribal area called Kala Dhaka, was integrated into KP as a settled district.

The 1973 Constitution empowered 37,000 maliks to vote. From this point until 1997, when universal adult franchise was extended to all residents of Fata, the maliks served as a bridge between the public and the political administration. Although the clergy emerged as a challenge to the maliks’ assertive role, in practice both maintained the status quo.

During the last decade, as the area came increasingly in the grip of militancy, more than 500 maliks were targeted, and the decline of the hujra (informal community councils) weakened a mechanism of alternate dispute resolution. Instead, the shura impor*ted from Arab culture gained in strength; it challenged the Frontier Crimes Regulation as well as the institution of the jirga.

The military operation has brought about a precipitous fall in violence. Compared to 234 terrorist attacks in Fata in 2014, there were 149 such attacks reported in the area during 2015. Post-operation however, a ‘soft’ approach is required to achieve a sustainable peace in Fata.

After a gap of seven years, the administration of Bara in Khyber Agency was recently handed back to the civilian administration. The governor KP also announced the resumption of trade activities and establishment of a 1,600-kanal industrial estate.

Besides the Fata Reforms Commission appointed by the governor, a sub-committee on Fata is mandated to compile administrative and development reforms. Reforms in Fata require a multi-pronged approach inclu*ding constitutional, administrative and legal interventions. Remaining in a state of denial or confusion will be suicidal: militants have no stake in a nation-state system, making the reconsolidation of Fata crucial.

The Afghan jihad and the scenario post-9/11 badly eroded the traditional administrative system presided over by political agents. A corrupt, obsolete and elite-centric criminal justice system also helped incubate extremism in Fata, with people attracted by the alternate ‘speedy justice’ offered by extremists. A complete overhaul of this system in Fata is imperative, along with the introduction of courts, policing, modern prisons and local bodies. The situation also warrants the return of the internally displaced and start of de-radicalisation.

Effective administration of Fata requires an elaborate civilian administrative apparatus run by dedicated officers. Offering attractive financial packages and amenities will help. Moreover, the Fata Secretariat needs to move from its present location in Peshawar to a central point in Fata to monitor peace and development.

To ensure zero tolerance of non-state actors and deny them physical space, strategic objectives must be spelt out and the counter-narrative amplified. More synergised civil-military efforts are needed to attain the goals of NAP. With the military having successfully cleared Fata, it is now the civilian administration’s turn to come forward.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2016
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