No-Sukh Era


Helpless cops wait for Allah as one-man-government busy with OLMT


If I can borrow the title from Christina Lamb’s marvelous book, I will aptly narrate the story of the police force with the phrase ‘waiting for Allah’. They were not cast in decades-old mould of corruption and inefficiency when they were inducted in Punjab police in ‘90s. They were young, educated and ambitious with relatively clean hearts. They wished to serve the country and erase stubborn stigmas from the forehead of the civilian force named Punjab police.


Fast forward to the summer of 2016: many civil and military governments emerged and ended in 20 years but nothing could change the Punjab police and its higher-ups’ “who-cares” attitude,  whether it was Musharraf’s police order of 2002 or Shahbaz Sharif’s over-ambitious claims of overhauling the thana culture. The Assistant Sub Inspectors (ASIs) inducted in 1993 and 1997 in Bahawalpur range during Moeen Qureshi’s caretaker government are still ‘waiting for Allah’ for their promotion to the rank of inspector. This is the tale of the incompetence and indifference of IG Punjab Mushtaq Sukhera and his predecessors. It is also solid proof against Khadim-e-Aala’s much-trumpeted good-governance and a sorry tale of lax bureaucracy. They were last promoted to the rank of Sub-Inspector in 2004-05 and since then no IGP in last eleven years (out of which Shahbaz Sharif ruled the province for 8 years from 2008-today) has bothered forming Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) to prepare a seniority list and promote the poor souls. Isn’t this ordeal of young cops enough to mock the Khadim-e-Aalaa’s inflated claims and so-called good governance?


One province, one Chief Minister, one police rulebook – yet many standards. All the more shocking is the fact that this kind of discrimination and injustice is being done only to few ranges like Bahawalpur and Sargodha. Those selected as ASIs in other ranges in 1997 touched the rank of inspector in 2004-05 (in just 7-8 years) while the ASIs of Bahawalpur range inducted in 1993 are still waiting for a miracle to occur.


How can a person who is simply unable to deliver justice and ensure equality in his own department provide protection to the citizens of Punjab?  He can sack an honest police officer, Shariq Kamal Siddique, to please a party but lacks the leisure to form DPC to elevate his subordinates to their long-overdue positions. By surrendering services of DPO Bahawalnagar, Mr. Sukhera has in fact surrendered his integrity, credibility and the right to lead Punjab police. He has surrendered his sense of national responsibility and values of justice and truth. This man was the main architect of the botched Chottu gang operation yet he still holds the top position in provincial police. Is this good governance and dynamic administration in PML-N’s dictionary?


Generally people think that Shahbaz Sharif is a merit-lover and abhors pressurizing or politicising the police – which he also boasts of.  In “Pakistan: A Hard Country”, Anatol Lieven rips this perception to shreds:

“… in 2009 I was sitting in the office of the inspector general of police in one of Pakistan’s provinces, when a call came through from the province’s chief minister – who was roaring so loudly that I could hear him through the receiver from several feet away. He was complaining that a superintendent of police had arrested a dacoit leader at the rural mansion of one of his party’s provincial deputies.”


One may claim that Lieven must be talking about Sindh or Balochistan (maybe about Qaim Ali Shah or Aslam Raisani) but the writer deliberately drops the hint to repel the confusion when he further says, “And this chief minister, by the way, has a personal reputation for efficiency, hard work and relative honesty.” He also wrote that a senior officer in Punjab said that around half of 648 station house officers in the province are chosen by local politicians through influence on the Punjab government, to serve their local interests.


We use ‘Sukh’ in Urdu for comfort, relief and happiness. But no one seems ‘Sukhi’ (comfortable or happy) under Sukhera rule. Actually it is to be dubbed as ‘No-Sukh Era’ for the common citizens and Punjab police personnel. Honourable CM should remember Amit Kalantri’s words:


“Bureaucrats and politicians are different people, work of bureaucrats makes us hate politicians.”


Bureaucrats with incompetence or insincerity or deadly combination of both ultimately bring bad luck for the masses and bad name for the rulers.


Unfortunately, no people’s representative (MNA or MPA) dares show the Chief Minister the real picture thanks to the spiral of silence. It is censorship of democracy. Democracy and good governance does not mean one-man-show. Chief Minister Punjab should come out of his own narcissistic-shadow and shadows of his yes-sir deputies and listen to his elected representative’s voice. Good governance in Punjab starts from metro bus and ends at Orange Line Train. Mr. Shahbaz Sharif behaves like that father who likes democracy for the country but wants dictatorship in his home.


Ironically, people’s representatives lack the nerve to raise any voice for their constituents’ rights. Mr. Baleegh-ur-Rehman, Minister of state for education, also holds the portfolio of Minister of state for interior but has never ever raised questions on the discriminatory treatment being given to cops from Bahawalpur range though the minister himself hails from the same city. Young doctors never shy away from staging violent protest demonstrations but these poor cops are simply unable to exercise this right too due to essential-services, discipline-in-forces like legal and moral obligations.


Will Mr. Sukhera field such dejected and disgruntled cops to beat hydra-headed monsters of terror in southern Punjab, the hotbed of sectarian and all other forms of religious extremism? In Anatol Lieven’s words:


“If Punjab – and Pakistan – were to be broken from within by Islamist extremism, then the process would start here, in the belt between Jhang and Bahawalpur.”


Will CM Punjab ask his blue-eyed baboo as to why is he not forming the DPC for very-long overdue promotions while there lie around 700 vacant posts of inspectors in the province? Do the Punjab government or police high-ups have any satisfactory reply to the concerns revolving around discrimination with the people from the south?