Punjab Police goes berserk

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ACCORDING to media reports, an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) publicly subjected a man to severe torture in Gujranwala on Wednesday. The incident occurred in Khokharki area where the two men indulged into a fight and police intervened on behalf of the influential one.
It is not for the first time that Punjab Police is in news for all the wrong reasons. Punjab Police is known for its brute behaviour and conduct and as a consequence the general public rightly perceives police stations as torture cells. In civilised societies Police personnel are supposed to be symbol of safety, security and cooperation but in Pakistan policeman has become symbol of terror and majority of citizens avoid police and police stations even if they are wronged by someone. All this is because of outmoded method of recruitment, irrelevant training and lack of monitoring and vigilance by seniors. We have been hearing for decades about police reforms and claims to end ‘Thana’ and ‘Patwari’ culture but nothing of the sort has happened so far. Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has excelled in governance but performance of his Government in reforming police and revenue departments is most deplorable. There is dire need to weed out deadwood in Police and induct new but gentleman blood into the force to make it responsive to the present-day requirements. It is ironical that Police has miserably failed to stem the growing crime rate in the province and criminals are roaming freely in each and every part of Punjab but the Police force is targeting ordinary souls. There are genuine complaints that police has become a tool in the hands of influential and well-connected people to harass and victimised citizens. What happened in Gujranwala on Wednesday is a clear indication that those responsible to enforce law are themselves indulging in illegal actions. Thana and Patwari culture cannot change by just launching of e-complaint systems and claims about computerisation of land record as these measures remain ineffective if they are not accompanied by a change of attitude and thinking.