Claims of ending police abuse bite the dust


LAHORE:

Police’s highhandedness continues unabated, after three incidents of abuse of power by cops were reported in the provincial capital over the past week.

Over two decades since the ‘commitment’ of the political elite as well as the police department to end thana culture, there has not been a single week when an incident of misuse of authority by police is not reported.

After reportedly pumping billions of rupees to bring change in the way the public is treated by the cops, the issue of ‘police gardi’ continues to haunt the residents of Lahore as well as other areas of the province.

In an incident of police abuse of power reported in Ichra, the police team misbehaved with a family including an elderly woman. The suspected police officers including trainee ASI Bilal, constables Farooq and Imran had hurled abuses, humiliated and allegedly physically assaulted the victims on a minor issue.

The incident was captured on a video. The cops allegedly had also misbehaved with a media team for filming the police abuse incident. They also expressed annoyance over any bystander who talked about the misbehavior of the cops.

Read ‘Watch-and-ward policy strengthened policing’

As the abuse of authority matter surfaced, DIG Operations Sajid Kiyani, as usual, took notice of the incident and issued orders of suspension of the officers. He also ordered a departmental inquiry against them.

Hardly a day had passed when another incident of police abuse surfaced from Ghaziabad.

A police constable resorted to firing at a shopkeeper for not serving his friend out of queue.

Reportedly, the police constable identified as Sikandar along with his friend Usama was visiting a cosmetics shop for ear piercing. The shopkeeper Munir asked them to wait as there were a lot of customers in the shop. The shopkeeper’s refusal infuriated the suspect Sikandar who resorted to firing.

Munir stated that the area police was reluctant to take any action against the accused cops. On the other hand, police claimed that the victim had not lodged any complaint so far.

As the video of the firing went viral on social media platforms, Lahore CCPO Ghulam Mehmood Dogar and the DIG Operations suspended the official and ordered inquiry against him.

During the past week, a third incident of abuse at the hands of a traffic warden was reported on Jail Road. Reportedly, the wardens subjected two commuters to severe torture. In addition to this, they got registered an FIR against the victims for allegedly intervening in government matters.

The traffic wardens stopped Mirza Adil Baig and Adil outside Lahore Services Hospital. The cops allegedly misbehaved with the commuters and also subjected them to torture. Moreover, the traffic cops also got the case registered against the victims.

This physical assault incident was captured on CCTV footage which exposed the lies and unfortunate bullying and physical assault by traffic wardens.

Read more Investigation: a weak area of policing

In a stubborn manner, the top cops of City Traffic Police, instead of mending their own ways, defended their traffic police officials. A statement issued by the chief traffic officer’s office termed the suspects innocent even after they physically assaulted the commuters.

The provincial police department had faced public outrage many times in the recent past due to their abuse of authority.

Over the past few years, tragic incidents of police abuse such the Sahiwal incident of Salahuddin and the Naqeebullah Mehsud killing were among others that tainted the image of police.

After these brutal incidents, people took to the streets to demand an end to police brutality.

Rants against police abuse of power remained top trends for many days on social media platforms after these incidents took place. The top brass of police have failed to chalk out a policy to end such abuse of power that continues to haunt the public.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2021.




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