Police in Pakistan especially of Punjab = Deprived / Corrupt / Negligent

One organization apart from doctors, para-medic staff, Army working for 24 hours a day is a Police Department. Police men in the police department of Punjab – Pakistan are not only deprived, negligent but also many out of all are corrupt.

In Pakistan, role of Police is multi-disciplinary.  They are not only used to control crime (of all types found in this world) but also being used for political and personal purposes.  I have personally witnessed that police men are facing tough time in Punjab province of Pakistan due to immense work pressure for 24 hours a day under very limited capacity especially they have very fewer personals to deal with the issues in the ambit of each police station. Each member from lower to upward grade till the position of Inspector (Station House Officer – S.H.O) are serving more then 12 hours a day during a duty. They have limited facilities such as salaries, allowance, sleeping place (if they are not from the city in which they are posted). Allowances for daily food are extremely limited, no separate hospital or schools like Army have for their men etc.  This along with some other factors contribute in their negligence, corruption (police is renowned for), mal-practice etc.

One staff officer of SP – Gujranwala city at the rank of A.S.I told that he was recruited in 1998 at the current rank and after 21 years of service he is till at the same position and no progress to the higher rank being made by the Police Department and now thinking to get early retirement. His qualification is Masters in Political Science and informed that he used to serve from 8:00 am morning to 12:00 pm night dealing with administrative / clerical issues of SP Office. He further informed that Police men are only being provided a trouser for uniform and he himself purchased other things like cap, shoes, shirt etc. Then the attitude of PSP officers (came after clearing CSS exams) vary from one to other and many do not play their role as true leader to their men. Police men have not been facilitated in having some rebate in transport service travelling from one place to others like being given to Army men. There is a rule in Pakistan Army that Commissioned Officer has to serve at least 2 months with their men to understand the difficulties and life patterns but in Police, who ever get selected from CSS exams and become high ranked officer does not serve such time and unable to understand the miseries of their men.

Many police men such as constables, A.S.I, Inspectors (above 50%  of total in Punjab Police & except PSP officers coming through CSS exams) have been recruited on non-merit basis and on political grounds. Political and influential’s use police for their own matters and purposes. People use to recruit their family members in police on order to get power in society they are living in, protection and benefits in future especially against their opponents. One of my relative Police Inspector  informed that in mid 90’s, the recruitment committee member who was a PCS Officer (Secretary S.F.H.N late) took Rs.1,50,000/candidate.

I have witnessed that SHO of one of the main police station at Gujranwala city as extremely burdened with issues coming at a rapid pace in every second but i find him as honest towards the issues resolution and dealing with merit. He used to deal with 3 to 4 different types of issues at one time. Then he has very limited investigation staff (A.S.I) and each investigator has at least 30 to 40 cases to investigate and report. Then apart from investigation they have to go on field for any operation against criminals and on abrupt reports. The S.H.O is provided one small room to sleep their at police station. He and many others if belong to other city find difficult to get leaves to meet their family members. If even they belong to the same city then they get back to home at such time when their family members are sleeping and couldn’t meet. The salary of S.H.O is Rs.57,000/month equivalent to $475 ( 1 dollar @ of Rs.120). If his expenses for month are above Rs.1,00,000 (one hundred thousand rupees) and under less facilities then he will surely take bribe and do illegal things.

The police men at police station used to avoid taking cases and do not register them unless you use some influential’s, higher police officers (PSP), political persons who pressurize them to register the complaint and then resolve it according to the merit. But merit is extremely rare and a plaintiff has to struggle to get relief.  The attitude of most of the police men at police station is extremely adverse and they don’t treat you well except few. I witnessed that people approached Mayor of Gujrat in 2017 for help because S.H.O of a police station was demanding bribe to register the case (F.I.R).  This happens with almost 70% cases in each day at each police station of Punjab province. You have to visit so many times to the police station to get your case registered.

I have personally witnessed one of my deceased uncle in Punjab police (Finger print department) that he used to take bribe for work for the cases based on merits.

There are only two ways to get a relief upon your complaint to police in Pakistan, one is to give them money/bribe and other to use influential persons to get work done i.e. Sifarish. The policing system is full of flaws, even on a simple case which should have to be registered and any police officer can easily get to know about the crime which has really happened, but police always try to avoid registering his case or plaintiff get to such stage that either he gives bribe or leave it to God for decision and help.

Someone stolen purse of my mother Liberty Market Lahore and the purse had a money as well as her National Identity Card in it and to remake card you should have police report with you to be submitted it to NADRA. I went to the Liberty Market police station at night and met the reporting Incharge normally called Moharar in Urdu Language. Instead of writing the complaint and report about the incident, he starting investigation from me and behavior was extremely odd. A constable standing near by him just asked me to come with him and said “I will write your report, you don’t need to call anyone for help”. The worst attitude is used in order to fetch money.

A citizen always feel shy and reluctant to go to police station because of such irregular attitude and instead of resolving your complaint, you become culprit and defendant (hehehehe….).

Many citizens make fake complaints or register complaints with higher magnitude of circumstances then what ever happened in real. For Example, if some one stolen $5 dollars from the pocket but the citizen will register $50. The reason behind is either to pressurize victim or they know that if they register just $5 then they will get $3 from police after recovery.

The negative and irresponsible response / attitude of some police men (not all but many) has defamed the image of whole police department. Government is neither fulfilling the basic requirements of police nor of the citizens in form of complainants or victims.


(Above writing is based on my own perceptions and views)

About ***** Azfar Abbas *****

My name is Azfar Abbas I am an MPA, a Development Sector Consultant & Operations Management Specialist. Worked with the IBRD (The World Bank), PIFD and international organizations. A Lahoree by birth, Taurian by Star, music freak, a writter, singer and a food lover from Lahore, Pakistan
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