Double salaries are not the limit for cash-starved policemen!


LAHORE – Although Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif doubled salaries of policemen, burdening the provincial exchequer to a great extent, in order to eliminate corruption from the police department, but the decision made no difference, as policemen leave no opportunity for looting the general public, Pakistan Today has learnt.
A large number of people have to face rude behaviour of policemen on a daily basis. From registration of cases to acquittal, at every step policemen extort money from the public in name of providing services. Either it is writing an FIR or giving copy to the complainant, every step could not be completed until palms of munshis, muharrars or investigation officer are greased.
Tariq Mehmood, who recently faced a minor case in the Township Police Station revealed his story while talking to Pakistan Today. “I have a domestic scuffle with my wife, who registered a case under allegation of PC 354 on January 16, 2010,” he said.
He said that he went to the police station for settlement but cops held him in the police station and registered a case. Relatives of Tariq Mehmood visited the police station and met with the munshi, who asked them to pay Rs 500 if they want copy of the FIR, despite the fact that according to law, police are bound to give copy of the FIR.
“We have to make efforts for writing an FIR and you cannot get it without paying for our efforts,” a relative of Mehmood quoted a munshi as saying. “Instead of fighting our case and releasing our relative, we became victims of police cruelty,” Mehmood’s relative added.
Mehmood’s family went home and the next day called Township Police Station House Officer (SHO) Kamran but he did not attend. They called SP Sadar Division Zeeshan Asghar and complained to him about the incident, but the SP took the incident as a routine matter.
But after paying Rs 200 to policeman Shehzad, the family managed to get copy of the FIR. “We went to our lawyer and prepared bail papers and started waiting for the accused but Investigation Officer (IO) Assistant Sub-Inspector Muhammad Ashiq refused to bring the accused to the court,” the family said adding that the IO did not officially arrest Mehmood and lingered on the case for extorting more money.
Police on papers arrested Mehmood on January 17 and was bound to present him in court on January 18 but next day the IO adopted delaying tactics. “The next day, ASI Ashiq said police don’t have a van and we paid for private transport,” relatives said adding that the judge granted bail to Mehmood but the IO refused to unchain the accused.
“You have to pay Rs 2,000 to me and Rs 1,000 each to two constables, as we have wasted the whole day on your case,” Ashiq said. The family paid the bribe and managed to unchain Mehmood. “It does not matter whether police get double salary or low salary, what is the difference?” said another police victim. He said that if the CM wants good policing in the province then he should also have a vigilant monitoring and award harsh punishments to corrupt policemen.
“Only strict monitoring and harsh punishments could make policemen honest,” he added. On being contacted, SP Investigation Zeeshan Asghar said that on any corruption case, stern action is taken against policemen and culprits face departmental inquires. He said that police department is almost free of corruption but some black sheep are still present in the department and they are trying to point out such people.