The police and the law

  • People have rights

Extra-judicial killing carried out by the police on daily basis in Pakistan is not only illegal, unlawful and inhuman but also highly condemnable. It negatively affects public confidence in our legal system and courts. It not only violates the law but is also a brutal and inhuman act on the part of the police officials, which shakes the legal framework of society. Under the law, police is to arrest criminals and investigate crimes but it cannot exceed its limits. It can use reasonable force to arrest criminals but killing of a person in form of fake encounters, before arresting him, is a sheer illegal act. It is the collective responsibility of the police and the judicial magistrates of the area to have effective control over the local police so that they perform their duties within their powers.

Magistrates are empowered by the law to direct the superintendent of police to take suitable measures for the detection of crimes. They are also empowered to inspect police stations in their jurisdictions however it is correct to suggest that majority of magistrates prefer to continue to maintain harmonious relations with senior police officials instead of urging them to impress upon their subordinates to attend to their duties effectively.

Extra-judicial killing are a disgrace of law and cannot be condoned. If the police itself violates the law, it has no right to be described as custodian of the law

It is a duty of the inspector-general of the Police of each province to check and control crime and to see that all the officers subordinate to him perform their duties in accordance with law and that the gazetted officer personally supervise the investigations to ensure that it is faithfully carried out. Police rules specifically require that every police officer shall keep his temper thoroughly under control, and shall act with courtesy on all occasions and shall not allow his composure to be disturbed by the behaviour of others towards him and while defending himself or lawfully enforcing his authority, and shall act with calmness and shall use as little violence as possible.

Police should be used strictly for the purpose for which it is established and law should be enforced in its real spirit. Section 29 of the Police Act says that a police officer who is guilty of any violation of any duty of willful breach or neglect of any rule or regulation or lawful order made by competent authority or offers any unwarrantable violence to any person in his custody, shall be liable to three months imprisonment, besides being proceeded against departmentally. Under Article-9 of the constitution, no person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law. Article 10 of the Constitution provides safeguards against arrest and detention. It provides that no person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest and every person who is arrested and detained it, custody shall be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for journey from the place of arrest to the court of nearest magistrate. If any police official is involved in extra-judicial killing, he must be punished under the strict clauses of Police Rules 1934, Police Order 2002, and Pakistan Penal Code 1860.

Extra-judicial killing are a disgrace of law and cannot be condoned. If the police itself violates the law, it has no right to be described as custodian of the law. It is alleged that whenever any complaint is made to the higher police authorities about excessive use of force by it they try to shield and protect their subordinates with the result that people lose all confidence in the departmental enquiries. Hardly any serious enquiry appears to be conducted by the police to find out the truth behind the extra judicial killings.

A recent killing of Mehsud, a 27-year-old hailing from South Waziristan, who was encountered by allegedly a fake encounter with a police team headed by SSP Rao Anwar needs to be inquired in detail. The so-called encounter should be explored so that the status of Naqib and the police is clarified. It is important that if the relevant police officials are found guilty, they are punished under anti-terrorism act and their illegal, unlawful and inhumane acts must not be ignored and brushed aside. It is obligatory for police officials to respect the law and rights guaranteed to citizen under the constitution of Pakistan.