ISLAMABAD: The Government of Punjab is reported to be finalizing a proposal for implementing a new structure in the existing design of the Criminal Justice System, namely an Inspectorate. Projected to be a component of the Home Department, the Inspectorate will be mandated to carry out inspections of Police, Forensics, Public Prosecutors, Prisons, and Directorate of Probation & Reclamation. After disregarding and contravening for some fifteen years the requirements of the law, Police Order 2002, for de-politicizing the Police, the Government is now contemplating amendments to the law to scrap its important de-politicizing features.
We in the Association of Retired IGPs view with grave concern these regressive proposals, and regret the diversion of precious resources by vested interest and interest groups into such misconceived schemes.
The institutions in question already have substantial inspection capacities. The utility and ultimate impact of these existing capacities on the institutions’ efficiency is determined and often impaired by the anachronistic design of the structure in which these institutions are embedded and operate. Unless the governance structure of Police is revamped as articulated in the National Action Plan and fully aligned to the existing law, the Police and other institutions of criminal justice, will not be able to improve their performance and render responsive, fair and non-partisan service to ordinary people.
In its present form, the scheme raises very real apprehensions that, apart from diluting the existing inspection capacities of the concerned organizations, the new-fangled Inspectorate will further tighten political stranglehold on the police, aggravate the abuse of criminal justice process for partisan management of political imperatives, thus compounding the existing nexus of politics and crime.
We would therefore call upon the Punjab Government to do its legal duty to fully implement the existing police law, establish a politically non-partisan Public Safety Commission, and to shelve the ill-advised scheme in its present form. This would be conducive to the discharge of the sacred trust reposed in the Government to provide impartial justice to the people.
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