Police encounters


Is the history repeating itself?

In any civilised society laws are not only made to punish those who break them but also to deter others from breaking them. This system of justice is what differentiates a society from savagery and barbarism. However, there is also a need to have a mechanism to keep those in power in check lest they abuse it. This couldn’t be any truer in the case of Pakistan police.

Police in Pakistan is unusually powerful. It is set in certain ways. Modern techniques, weapons, intelligence gathering, reconnaissance and things like that are foreign ideas to them. However, what they excel in is protecting the powerful and power grabbing. In the discharge of its duties, it sometimes has to come face to face with criminals, and depending on the situation it may have to use force, sometimes lethal force. But this use of force is justified as long as it is done within legal parameters and is not based on some personal agenda. But what has been going on in Punjab for the past few weeks makes one sceptical about the way Punjab Police has been using lethal force. In its traditional and sometimes illegal style of ‘encounters’, the police has killed many criminals, including some terrorists belonging to banned outfits. This is neither legal nor acceptable. The police cannot be the judge, jury and executioner all in one. There is a justice system in place in the country and no one is above it, especially police. Agreed that getting rid of criminal elements is a priority, it doesn’t mean it has to be done out of legal confines.

These extra-judicial killings always spike when PML-N is in power. It is sort of their trademark. Keeping in view what the country is going through now, playing with the justice system is a bad idea. It could also be described as an attack on the judiciary along with basic human right of defending oneself in the court. It has to stop.