Karachi FIR


Rizwan Ghani

THE inquiry has been ordered on Karachi FIR so let us wait for the results. However, following steps can help bring a permanent end to such situations in future and streamline institutional working forever. Police reforms are need of the hour. This approach is based on science, 50-year history of police reforms in the US, UK and major findings in Europe. They are widely available in western media including New York Times and the Guardian. The basic foundation of all police reforms is to have more just, safe, effective and constitutional police which works better for everyone. There is 100 per cent consensus in the West that the only way to improve policing for 21st century is to take away its powers and defund it. There is free market aspect of police performance. British Raj used police to defend its business (East India Company) and rule. In the same way, capitalism uses police and governments to protect its trade interests instead of protecting public interests. PM is embattled in price control in Pakistan because economic system does not allow police action against free market as it can set its prices independently. Both the UK and US have tried to overcome this challenge by giving unlimited powers to police and militarizing it to block public unrests including social and economic fallouts of Thatcherism and Reaganomics. This brings us back to taking away police powers and defunding it. Our police budget is around Rs400bn and our successive governments have been increasing police funds to improve its performance. But Western experts say that the solution is community spending on jobs, education and skill training not increasing police powers and its funding or volunteer force which has failed in the UK. George Floyd demonstrations against police in the US and 18 countries including Europe is verdict against their modern police, its powers and militarization.
It brings us to judiciary. The interpretation of “independent” by the police is in direct conflict with the Constitution. As legislators, politicians have made laws making police powerful. It has become difficult for the judiciary to hold police accountable. Model Town tragedy is case in point in which police executed political order knowing that it will be protected. Karachi case is its replay. It explains why politicians and police oppose state and its institutions including powers of judicial review and suo moto. Judiciary will have to end this politician-police nexus including 18th Amendment and other allied legislation to save democracy and state institutions. The inquiry order of Karachi FIR case is the logical failure of existing system of check and balance under which state could hold governments democratically accountable. This standoff could have been avoided if magistracy system was functional instead of being totally politicized. It could have prevented registration of FIR from snowballing into a national issue. Keeping in view the entire situation, police should be returned under Deputy Commissioner system as one of the line departments to break the nexus. Its highest rank should be captain on lines of UK. By distributing 90% of police powers on scientific basis to other departments, it can be made to serve public. All those officers who applied for leave should be sent home.
To permanently restore writ of the state, trichotomy of power is failsafe check and balance solution. As per the system, the lawmakers get to make laws, judiciary vets their actions and the establishment protects the constitution. It means all stake-holders will have equal powers in which judiciary will be superior with its powers of judicial review. It is time to make the constitution functional in which our founders envisaged trichotomy of power for restoring system of check and balance for the smooth working of the system. It is need of the hour and top national interest. It is clear from current standoff that constitution in its current form is unable to maintain system of check and balance without which country cannot work. There is international dimension of FIR: protecting weak against strong. Capitalism needs stronger political parties, trade institutions and media to make multinational trade alliances. This will only come with weakening of workers, their constitutional rights and right to negotiate. Trump calls Farage, British EU MP his friend because he supported Brexit for a pro-US trade deal. It explains “Bayania” of our politicians and their use of hybrid power. The media support for PDM is copy of Thatcher-Murdoch media alliance to bring sell Britain under Thatcherism & Reaganomics. It is an open power struggle for pawing the country to highest bidder with workers fate like Baldia Factory. What Johnson’s Brexit has to do with Karachi FIR? Everything! It shows that foreign trade interests are real: Eastern capitalism v. Western capitalism. UK Supreme Court judges are set to challenge PM on No Deal Act, proposed International Market Act and Northern Ireland with their powers of judicial review under what Lord Kerr has condemned as government’s ‘unbridled power’ (Judges fighting back, Oct 19,2020, the Guardian). The state of Pakistan should do what it takes revive trichotomy of power to make country strong and protect weak public against powerful individuals writhing to save their wealth, power and international trade interests.
—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.

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