The ingenuity of the police force really leaves one gobsmacked
In 2014, a newly appointed Inspector General of Sindh Police ordered the initiation of an S.M.S service to improve the performance of the Police helpline number “15”and sought a detailed report about its benefits, which is still pending. In 2015, another newly appointed Inspector General of Police in Sindh issued instructions for the deployment of one standby mobile van in each police station to ensure rapid action in response to Helpline 15 complaints, with the help of representatives of Citizen police liaison committee (CPLC) to effectively fight crimes and to respond to distress calls, the Muhafiz force and the police helpline 15 were also merged to form a unified force. The new system was designed to ensure a prompt response to the citizens’ complaints. However all these by the Sindh Police efforts went in vain, as there were persistent complaints about non-attendance of distress calls, lazy and lethargic attitude of the telephone operators, and concerned Police officials.
On July 15 2016, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, at the Karachi registry, took strict action against the non-compliance of the complaints lodged by citizens of Karachi via using police helpline 15. The current inspector General of Sindh Police, in open court, admitted the fact that the recording system of the helpline 15 had been out of order for the last four years, and it has not been fixed till date.
In July 2016, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, while hearing the Karachi law and order case, ordered the Inspector General of Sindh Police that the Sindh police was to inquire into every complaint lodged by the citizens of Karachi via police helpline number 15. Additionally, the apex court also ordered that the relevant police station through its S.H.O has to submit details of the inquiry conducted by them to the S.S.P concerned of the area. However, corrupt Police officials of Karachi have found an ingenious way to exempt themselves from the aforementioned burden of investigation, by lodging FIRs against the genuine complainants, under Section 25-D of the Telegraph Act of 1863, by accusing them of falsely registering complaints using the 15 police helpline, and wasting time of the department and subsequently forcing the complainants to write an apology letter to the S.S.P and S.H.O concerned and to withdraw their complaints. In this ingenious way, Karachi police is successfully discharging the burden of investigations of the lawful complaints lodged by the citizens via using Police Helpline number. The S.S.Ps and other Senior Police officials are either ignorant or party to the aforementioned ingenious idea.
From August 2016 till April 2017, several police stations of Karachi lodged numerous F.I.Rs under Section 25-D of the Telegraph Act of 1863 against the genuine complainants. Interestingly, all of the F.I.Rs were quashed by the relevant courts for lack of evidences and lack of credible police witnesses. The concerned magistrates while quashing the F.I.Rs must also initiate inquiry under Section 190 and 200 Criminal Procedure Code, against the S.H.O, complainant of the case and Investigation Officer for lodging false and fabricated F.I.Rs. Moreover, there is a desperate need for legislation, modification and scrutiny of the entire system of the police helpline, so that aggrieved persons may trust it and feel comfortable using the same.
Instead of enacting the least needed laws in Pakistan, such as increase in salaries of the Parliamentarians and the Ehtram-e-Ramazan (Amendment) Bill, 2017 etc., the legislators of Pakistan must introduce new laws and repeal the laws inherited by Pakistan from the British colonial era such as Criminal procedure code 1898, civil procedure code 1908, Pakistan penal code 1860, and the aforesaid telegraphic act 1863, to tackle the current law & order situations in the country and to fill out the loopholes in current system.