According to an official report submitted by the National Police Bureau to the ministry of interior, Police violations in Sindh were the highest with a total of 91 cases – 61 in 2008, 22 in 2009 and 8 till mid 2010 – and involved as many as 78 police
officials. Ironically, 2008 was the worst year with 61 cases of rape and other human rights violations in Sindh involving 44 police officers, but not a single person was sent to jail.
The report says that in 22 cases registered in 2009, 31 police officials were booked but only 11 were sent to jail in the province. During mid-2010 eight cases were registered involving 3 police officials, of which only one has been sent to jail so far.
Some women are arrested on accounts based on draconian Islamic laws of Hudood that does not recognize women as equal to men. For example it would take the testimony of 2 women to equal a testimony of just 1 man. Below are some stories of victims who endured suffering because of the police.
On April 6, 2006, a minor girl, Naila, died during a police raid of her house at Rato Dero Larkin. The raiding police tortured her family and inflicted serious resulted injuries on Naila in the process. She was unable to fight through her injuries and died.
Nazia Rani Malik:
On February 15, 2006, Nazia Rani Malik, 18 years old, was harassed by an army official Shafqat. He asked her to come by his apartment. When his wife arrived came home. Sahfqat raised a false alarm of robbery. He then detained Rani Malik and called the police on her. Police arrived and arrested Rani Malik. She was tortured and sustained serious injuries including bleeding from her mouth. Nazia later was released on bail because of the intervention of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Sodhi & Hakim:
On April 29, 2006, a couple, Sodhi and Hakim who had married on their free will were released from Tando Muhammad Khan Jail. They have spent the last 5 years there detained under the draconian Islamic Hudood Laws. While in prison they had given birth to a baby girl. They told the press they were arrested by Bulri Shah Karim police only because they could not afford to bribe them after their marriage. So the police booked them under Hudood Ordinance.
Mrs. Ruby Masih:
A police constable and several private informers held and raped her at a private detention center for a period of over 50 days between August 10 and September 30, 2010. This action was done in retaliation for her husband’s lodging of charges of illegal occupation and theft against a police informant’s son. Police centers have, according to the report, misused their power and are providing impunity to the perpetrators. Mrs. Masih and her husband have been threatened and dismissed by local police stations, demonstrating the corruption of the system and the depth to which sexual abuse and violence penetrates the society.
In the event that a police officer does not fulfill his/her duties, or engages in active wrongdoing, the average citizen has some avenues of recourse. First, a citizen can lodge a complaint with the concerned police department as every provincial police establishment has some form of internal disciplinary proceeding. However, in the interest of ensuring that every complaint is treated fairly and without prejudice, it is always a good idea to have an independent complaints authority for the police. Doing so will increase the likelihood that a complainant will have his/her grievance(s) addressed in an impartial and expeditious manner.
To this end, the Police Order, 2002 (and its subsequent amendments) created accountability mechanisms at the district, provincial and national levels. In regards to the district level, the Police Order established the District Public Safety and Police Complaints Commission (DPSPCC). The main responsibilities of the DPSPCC include:
- approve the Local Policing Plan
- take steps to prevent the police from engaging in any unlawful activity arising out of compliance with unlawful or mala fide orders
- cause registration of FIR within 48 hours when warranted
- hear complaints
- conduct fact-finding; and
- refer a matter to the Provincial Public Safety and Police Complaints Commission if the Head of District Police does not act on the matter
A significant problem with DPSPCCs is that very few have been set up throughout Pakistan and when they have been set up, they have little impact since their powers are often merely recommendatory and not binding. The failure of these bodies to have “teeth” means that they are often ignored.
Similar to the DPSPCCs, one of the objectives of the Provincial Public Safety and Police Complaints Commission (PPSPCC) is to “take steps to prevent the police from engaging in any unlawful activity arising out of compliance with unlawful or mala fide orders.” However, it also has the important roles of:
- facilitating the establishment and functioning of the Citizen Police Liaison Committees (CPLCs)
- coordinating the functioning of the DPSPCCs
- overseeing the implementation of the Provincial Policing Plan; and
- recommending reforms for the modernization of laws and procedures.
Essentially, the PPSPCC is expected to ensure that the commission system functions properly in the respective province.
Unfortunately, the notification and establishment of PPSPCCs throughout Pakistan has also been very poor. In Balochistan the PPSPCC is functioning, but they have very few resources. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the PPSPCC has been notified and one meeting was held in the presence of the National Public Safety Commission. In Sindh, the Chief Minister and the Governor were asked to make the PPSPCC more effective but that has yet to happen. And in Punjab the PPSPCC is not functioning at all since it has not met for the past five years.
At the national level, the National Public Safety Commission (NPSC) is responsible for:
- overseeing the functioning of federal law enforcement agencies
- facilitating the establishment and functioning of the CPLCs
- overseeing the implementation of plans prepared by heads of the federal law enforcement agencies; and
- coordinating the functioning of the PPSPCCs
The NPSC holds regular monthly meetings and released its first Annual Report in 2008. A functioning NPSC is an important step to having a relatively independent body examine the current state and pace of police reforms across Pakistan. If it wishes to, the NPSC can use its stature and position to highlight and draw attention to the deficiencies in Pakistan policing.