Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sialkot Lynching Reinforces Need For Police Reform

Scores of people brutally beat to death two young brothers, Hafiz Mughees, 15, and Hafiz Muneeb, 19, while senior police officials in Sialkot, Pakistan, stood by and watched silently. Their limp bodies were later hanged in a public square.

Like in prior lynchings in other parts of the country, there have been usual expressions of horror and statements of sympathy for the victims in this most recent crime. Even the the chief justice of the supreme court of Pakistan has taken suo moto actions as he has many times in the past.

Such cases of public brutality, lawlessness and police misconduct are all too common in Pakistan. And the usual condemnations followed by no serious action on the badly needed police reform ensure that murders of innocent people and growing lawlessness continue unabated.

"The Contours of Police Integrity" by Carl Klockars, et al, talks about the lack of professionalism among Pakistani police officials as follows:

"The causes of police misconduct in Pakistani society are deeply embedded in the country's socioeconomic and political structure. To begin with, the society is highly tolerant of corruption in general, as indicated by Transparency International....A police officer is expected to posses a high degree of intelligence and the interpersonal skills required to exercise in enforcing the law. However, the level required of the constables, who (together with head constables) comprise 89% of the police force (Chaudhry, 1997, p. 101), is matriculation or even less. Such educational requirements have created a situation in which the majority of the police force have a low level of education. The education of a typical constable can not support the the demands of the job; the constable is therefore someone who is trained to serve as a mechanical functionary obeying the orders of those more senior rather than an officer using personal judgment to solve policing issues....Both police officers' importance as members of government apparatus and their influence as a result of their estimated illegal income make policing such an attractive profession that people are willing to pay any price to get their dear ones positions in the police force. Politicians attach such importance to police service that even the members of National Assembly get their close relatives (such as sons and brothers) inducted into the police service as deputy superintendent of police-by direct notification of the prime minister and without any exam or procedure."

In what Newsweek recently called "transfer industry" in South Asia, the bribe-rich police precincts ( called thanas) in Pakistan are "sold" to the highest bidder to become the station house officer (SHO or thanedar), who then has a "license" to recoup what the appointee paid and make additional "profit" for himself and his superiors. Such appointments encourage continuing massive corruption and incompetence in the police departments.

The fact is that a large number of police officers are recruited because of their political connections rather than their competence. It is hard to expect such a police force to be either professional or competent, as has been demonstrated time and again in a recent spate of violence, including political assassinations such as Benazir Bhutto's.

Ironically, the first serious police reform effort since independence was launched during the Musharraf years in Pakistan. It was praised by G.P Joshi of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in the following words:

While being ironic, it was also an encouraging step forward in the history of policing when the “democratic” government of Pakistan drafted the Police Ordinance in 2001 to repeal the archaic Police Act of 1861, thus stealing a march over other democratic regimes in the region in attempting to change a deeply entrenched police system.

Even after independence, countries in the South Asian region have been unable to rid themselves of past colonial legacies, which is much reflected in their outdated Police Acts. Sporadic attempts to catalyze a change in the system have met stiff resistance. In India, recommendations made by the National Police Commission (NPC) set up in 1977 to insulate the police from outside illegitimate control fell on deaf ears. These included establishment of State Security Commission; abolition of the system of dual control at the district level; selection of the head of the state police force on the recommendations of a committee; giving him/her a fixed minimum secure tenure and transfers to be done according to rules by prescribed authorities.

As per its Preamble, the draft Pakistan Police Ordinance 2001 is aimed at organizing a police system, which is “independently controlled, politically neutral, non-authoritarian, people friendly and professionally efficient.” Even though the text of the 2001 Ordinance has been significantly altered since then, first by the Police Order of 2002 and then by the Police Order (Amendment) Ordinance of 2004, the initiative still retains a fairly good blueprint for police reforms. It is as of now referred to as the Police Order 2002.

The police reforms initiated by Musharraf were applauded, even embraced briefly by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif until it caught the eye of the Musharraf critics. The draft of Pakistan Police Ordinance 2001 was aimed at organizing a police system, which is “independently controlled, politically neutral, non-authoritarian, people friendly and professionally efficient.” Even though the text of the 2001 Ordinance has been significantly altered since then, first by the Police Order of 2002 and then by the Police Order (Amendment) Ordinance of 2004, the initiative still retains a fairly good blueprint for police reforms. It is as of now referred to as the Police Order 2002. Unfortunately, there has been no progress on it in the last few years.

If Pakistan's chief justice and other officials are serious about establishing rule of law in the country, it is absolutely essential for them to ensure serious police reforms to build a professional police force that enforces laws without fear or favor.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Needs Truth, Reconciliation and Reform

Zardari: Nelson Mandela of Pakistan?

CSI: Pakistan?

Police Reform in Pakistan

Reforming Police in South Asia

Intelligence Failures Amidst Daily Carnage in Pakistan

Incompetence Worse Than Corruption in Pakistan

CSI Training in Pakistan

UN Report on Bhutto Assassination

The Contours of Police Integrity


Mayraj said...

This happens in India also with greater incidence it seems like and not religious and caste elated
The Lynch Mobs of Haryana
INDIA: Bhagalpur lynching is a prelude to deeper chaos
Sashastra Seema Bal jawan killed, mob lynches father of assailant
Cops watch mob lynch 4 burglars

Bhanu Tiwari said...

As soon as I surfed to this staggering The End Of Nations article my first thought was this haq's Musings' commenters really should have their say on this!

fatima said...

police has been used by politicians for long to serve their political ambitions, similarly bureaucracy has been politicized over the years to serve politicians. Hence, it led to the widespread chaos in the country we are witnessing today.
The mob insensitivity at Sialkot is an indicator of a fatigued & an extremely depressed nation.
I, hereby, also would like to mention, that we all are part of the mob lynch. The numb and listless nation over the years is now bearing the brunt of it.
All these ongoing crisis & our brutal response to them are also indicators of Almighty,s avenge. Y on earth did the worst flood in living history happened in Pakistan.Perhaps, not for the naive sufferers, but for the unaffected intelligentsia,who I believe are in a test phase & being given time by the nature. Those who are still unaffected should beg for his forgiveness and surrender before him, apart from managing the chaos in every possible way.

anoop said...

Hopefully, Riaz you will print this in the interest of freedom of speech in Pakistan.

Fazi Zaka in Express Tribune writes,"Pakistan, you are a failed state. Not because of Zardari. Not because of America. But because you are a failed people, all of us undeserving of sympathy. We are diseased, rotten to every brain stem, world please make an impenetrable fence around us, keep us all in so we don’t spread it to other people, other countries.

These were words I posted on a social networking website. I have an unusually negative mindset these days. It happened after I saw the video of the two teenage brothers brutally clubbed to death by a crowd frenzied with blood thirst in Sialkot. The police watched gleefully. The video has blurs at certain parts, but even this sensible sensitivity does not prevent one from seeing mists of blood flaying from the heads of these teens as they are hit relentlessly, and remorselessly, again and again.

The murderous crowd was truly representative of the richness of Pakistan. Some wear jeans, others shalwar kameez, some were bearded, others clean shaven. The Pakistanis had gotten together to have some fun.

Do not be shocked. This wasn’t isolated, it’s just that the crowd wanted to make sure their orgasmic moment could be captured for later viewing, at one’s pleasure. We blame our ill-educated brethren for the barbarity we witness, but that’s a self-serving lie.

The middle and upper classes are immune to education it seems. They hold opinions of everyday violence even if they have never raised their hand at anyone. If you believe Jews are the scum of the earth, all Ahmadis deserve to die or that Hindus are inferior, well why not two teenage boys?

I want Pakistanis to feel shame, in fact a substantial loss of self-esteem would be great. This is the only way for us to begin to doubt ourselves and the incessant excuses we make. Yes, the world is right to add restrictions on our visas, to see us as dangerous. If for even a while we felt we were the cockroaches of the human race, maybe we would get to the point we stopped the lies we tell ourselves and let this continue... "


anoop said...


"The fact is, if we had real democracy, there would be no internet in Pakistan, women would not be allowed out of their homes, education would come to a standstill and we would begin a programme of killing off every minority. Thank you corrupt generals and politicians, you keep this at bay with some sense of being answerable to a world that still has some humanity in it, even if you don’t.

And please, no excuses, no excuses. Don’t give us that, “If only there was true Islam they would be better”. I think a thousand years is enough, we can’t wait longer. And there was no America in existence for most of that, or even western colonialism.

You want to know just how sociopathic we are? In response to these killings some are happy to say we deserve earthquakes and floods. Typical. Don’t change yourself, but give credit to the indiscriminate and inhumane forces of nature. The floods are a tragedy, an atrocity and should never be used to bolster an argument that really only demands self-reflection.

And please, in your self-reflection don’t call us animals, most of them are benign vegetarians. Also don’t blame Sialkot; they were just unlucky because they are subject to scrutiny. There is so much more out there.

There is such a sense of sickening moral superiority in Pakistanis, it needs to be addressed. All we care about is foreign policy, eager to point out the hypocrisies of the world, silent on our domestic, or even local life. Why should the world take what you say seriously, why should you be a regional power, or a leader in the comity of Islamic nations?

Truth is, there is only one way to get change, and it’s not hanging the people who killed these boys. It is raising your voice to contradict people who advocate death for others, no matter who they are speaking of. To internalise that murder of any kind, for anyone is wrong. Sounds easy? Well just try it."

anoop said...

Ali K Chishti writes about how Pakistanis are being brainwashed in Government run schools as well as madresas. Even the educated ones believe India and the western world is their enemy and non-muslims deserve to die.

He writes,"“Hindu pundits were jealous of Al-Beruni” (Social Studies, Class VIII, Punjab Textbook Board, page 82). Another textbook reads, “The Hindus who had always been opportunists” (Social Studies, Class VI, Punjab Textbook Board, page 141). Still another reads, “The Hindus had always been an enemy of Islam.” (Urdu, Class V, Punjab Textbook Board, page 108). An e-mail I got from a Pakistani Hindu friend asked me what did they do to deserve this treatment. I had no answers. It is probably a classical example of our state’s deterioration because of its relentless pursuit of a destructive foreign policy agenda, and also abdicating its role in education to the jihadi organisations. Worse, whatever little education the state provides is not much better than what is being provided by the madrassas or by a school system like Al-Dawa (run by Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT)) in terms of producing enlightened citizens. One, therefore, does not need a very active imagination to figure out the direction in which the country is headed. In fact, schools like those run by Jamaat-ud-Dawa (a new name for LeT), which received Punjab government’s funding of Rs 30million, systematically replaced the mainstream curriculum. Now Allah instead of anar (pomegranate) is used to teach the sound of the Urdu alphabet letter alif; bandooq (gun) instead of bakri (goat) for bey and jihad instead of jahaz (ship) for jeem. These jehadi public schools manufacturing Kasabs and Shezad Tanvirs who, when asked about their identity, class themselves as Muslims first and Pakistani afterwards. There are millions of ‘non-state actors’ whose handlers could prod them into doing anything by evoking emotions through misquoting Quranic verses." ....\08\25\story_25-8-2010_pg3_5

Riaz Haq said...


Fasi Zaka is venting his anger and frustration, and I do understand it.

Unless this anger is channelized in a positive way to galvanize action for much needed reform, it will be just another wasted opportunity.

Mob violence requires imposition of rule-of-law, and there can be no rule-of-law unless there is an independent judiciary backed by effective law enforcement by reformed professional police force independent of corrupt feudal politicians.

Anonymous said...

the two key issues for Pakistn's development are:

1.How to break the mullah-army-feudal nexus.

2.How to build a modern competitive economy which is not dependent on infusions of aid.Since independence Pakistan's economy has had short 5-10 year spurts of growth whenever there were aid handouts like in the 80's but has stalled when the largess ended...

Everything else is a direct or indirect derivative of these two problems.

The solutions to these two seemingly intractable issues MUST come from within Pakistan and not be seen to be forced from outside.

Anonymous said...

"Unless this anger is channelized in a positive way to galvanize action for much needed reform, it will be just another wasted opportunity. "

Now you are talking. By reform do you mean dumping our religion, the root cause of hatred.

satwa gunam said...

Key concerns of pakistan is as under:

1. removal of hatred in society

2. Focus on peace

3. Encourage secular education.

4. Build cooperative endeavour across all sectarian view on the basis of religious belief or region.

If these four does not happen, pakistan will continue to have problem as they are structural and internal.

Riaz Haq said...

DC: "By reform do you mean dumping our religion, the root cause of hatred."

No, it's hateful to blame Islam for the social ills in Pakistan. Demonization of Islam and Muslims will only make the situation worse, not better.

satwa gunam said...


If your religion is promoting hatred then it has not choice of survival and it will get itself dumped.

If your religions in not promoting hatred, ensure that the religion is practiced in true sense

Why will non-muslim give aid to a country which calls them as a kafir. Please be practical.

Anonymous said...

when much of the social ills is caused by islam, then it has to take the blame.

Anonymous said...

pakistan ka ji ho gaya bismillah

Anonymous said...

"pakistan ka ji ho gaya bismillah"

Sniff Sniff. I smell a f***ng indian. You know guys like you actually vindicate Zaid Hamid.

Unknown said...

@ DC - Mr Data Cruncher I have been reading your posts for a while now. I like the way you write. Why don't you write on a platform which has a far greater audience than this like as a columnist for a newspaper? Or create your own website etc.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report carried by The News on the two Sialkot brothers lynched by a mob:

ISLAMABAD: More controversy has engulfed the barbaric killing of two brothers in Sialkot as now a federal minister says that the two victims of mob rage were not that innocent as being portrayed by the media.
Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Federal Minister for Population Welfare who also hails from Sialkot and this particular incident occurred in her own constituency, while talking to The News disclosed that she had met over five dozen villagers who were present when the incident took place and everyone had the same tale that these two boys were caught red-handed robbing the milk-seller brothers of whom one died the same day while the two sustained bullet injuries.
She said that all the politicians who visited Sialkot came for photo sessions only and condoled with the family of the two brothers but no one condoled with the family of Bilal, young innocent milk-seller who was killed by these two boys.
The federal minister said that the Supreme Court had constituted a commission to probe the incident so she would not directly give her own assessment. She, however, said that the recovered items from the boys included Rs65,000 cash; 17 National Identity Cards of various people; three different number plates of motor bikes and over hundred bullets.
Firdous said that the father of the two boys did not speak for three days after the death of his only two sons and on 18th August the uncle of the boys, Amjad Butt had to file the FIR with the police station. "His silence for three days is also meaningful," the minister held saying the father was even reluctant to receive the dead bodies.
"Forty-eight people have submitted their affidavits saying they were looted by the same two brothers who were being portrayed as innocent by the media," said Firdous Awan complaining that the media ran one-way traffic without highlighting the other side of the incident.
"I condoled with both the families and would appeal to the chief minister and Mian Nawaz Sharif not to play politics with the dead bodies and they should also visit the house of Bilal who was killed the same day in the morning when those two brothers were killed."
She said that the visitors told her whosoever recognized the boys, he/she threw shoes at the dead bodies of the two brothers saying he/she was looted by these two boys.
"Police say that these boys used to rob the people on Saturdays and Sundays and on the same road because the main bazaar was nearby and the villagers carried cash to the market and were the soft targets," said Firdous adding: "The DPO thanked the people who killed the boys saying that these youths had given tough time to the police."
While explaining the incident Firdous said that the villagers had arrested the boys on the spot and brought them in the office of Rescue 1122 and it was announced in the mosques of village Butter that dacoits had been arrested so the whole village gathered in front of Rescue 1122 office. In the meantime a call from the hospital saying that the boy attacked by these two youths had died made the mob furious.
She said that in no way the brutal killing of those two boys could be termed a right act but one had to see why the mob acted so brutally.
Firdous said that she met an old lady who showed her torn ears saying that the two boys had snatched her gold earrings a week before their murder and when they were killed she also threw shoes at them after recognizing that they were the same who had looted her.
It is worth mentioning here that the Police Station Saddar, Sialkot confirmed that bullets and number plates and other things were recovered from these boys....

anoop said...

"More controversy has engulfed the barbaric killing of two brothers in Sialkot as now a federal minister says that the two victims of mob rage were not that innocent as being portrayed by the media."

--> Oh! That makes it a non-issue. Mobs were right. Let them be the judge, jury and execuioners in all criminal cases.

I am looking forward to your next India-sucks-big-time piece to offset this piece of very,very bad,embarrassing news from Pakistan. And, I am still waiting, hoping against hope, for my comment to be published.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from NY Times story about declining power of Pakistan's feudal class:

For years, feudal lords reigned supreme, serving as the police, the judge and the political leader. Plantations had jails, and political seats were practically owned by families.

Instead of midwifing democracy, these aristocrats obstructed it, ignoring the needs of rural Pakistanis, half of whom are still landless and desperately poor more than 60 years after Pakistan became a state.

But changes began to erode the aristocrats’ power. Cities sprouted, with jobs in construction and industry. Large-scale farms eclipsed old-fashioned plantations. Vast hereditary lands splintered among generations of sons, and many aristocratic families left the country for cities, living beyond their means off sales of their remaining lands. Mobile labor has also reduced dependence on aristocratic families.

In Punjab, the country’s most populous province, and its most economically advanced, the number of national lawmakers from feudal families shrank to 25 percent in 2008 from 42 percent in 1970, according to a count conducted by Mubashir Hassan, a former finance minister, and The New York Times.

“Feudals are a dying breed,” said S. Akbar Zaidi, a Karachi-based fellow with the Carnegie Foundation. “They have no power outside the walls of their castles.”

Riaz Haq said...

anoop: "Oh! That makes it a non-issue. Mobs were right. Let them be the judge, jury and execuioners in all criminal cases. "

Where did I say that?

Contrary to what you suggest, I strongly believe that it was a shameful lynching which should have been stopped...and the best way to stop potential atrocities in future is to reform the police and ensure rule of law.

anoop said...

"...and the best way to stop potential atrocities in future is to reform the police and ensure rule of law."

--> Rule of law? Your law IS the problem.

Shameful is the word.

Anonymous said...

Did you read today's article in NYT on match fixing. And mind you we are an islamic country. Perhaps pak cricketers have a special permission in Quran

Riaz Haq said...

DC: "Did you read today's article in NYT on match fixing. And mind you we are an islamic country. Perhaps pak cricketers have a special permission in Quran"

No, I did not.

But in a society where corruption is so rampant, I am not sure if you can hold these cricketers to a higher standard. In a land where Zardari is king, it's hard to expect honesty and accountability at the level of lowly cricketers.

As I wrote in a post recently, we hang the petty thieves and appoint great ones to high offices.

anoop said...

Pakistan right-wing newspapers come up with another conspiracy theory.

Do read it. Very funny. It says Indian and Western Intelligence agencies have done this to defame the Pakistani nation. ROFLMAO.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

yestday shias killed , today another attack and 44 killed.
Of course this has nothing to do with Islam. RAW RAW RAW

fatima said...

How Pakistan Failed itself, TIME
Magazine. (excerpt..)

One afternoon in early May, an upscale audience gathered in Karachi to hear veteran journalist Ahmed Rashid speak on the Taliban threat. For years, Rashid has been Pakistan's Cassandra, prophesying an extremist-led doom to deaf ears. Now that the threat has become reality, he is a sought-after speaker. "I no longer say that there's a creeping Talibanization in Pakistan," he warned. "It's a galloping Talibanization." For 45 minutes, he expanded on his theme, explaining how the Pakistan Army's narrow focus on India has allowed the militant threat within the country to fester, how money that should have been spent on helicopters to combat the insurgency was squandered on fighter jets better suited to attacking India. But the message failed to sink in.

After his speech, Rashid was peppered with questions about India's designs to destabilize the country, until he exploded with frustration: "We are still getting told every night on our TVs that these Pakistani Taliban are all getting their money from India, that they are armed by India. Until we recognize the fact that this is a homegrown phenomenon and that the people throwing acid into girls' faces are Pakistani, the problem will continue."

Are we focused on the wrong enemy?

Riaz Haq said...

Here are sme excerpts from a report by Lynda Voltz, an Australian legislator, on her visit to Pakistan, as published by Sydney Morning Herald:

Punjab, which holds more than half the population of Pakistan, has been offering the light to lead Pakistan towards more stable government.
One of the more important pieces of infrastructure was the new $30 million forensic science centre, which would be the envy of any police force in the world. The centre could be used to build a more professional police force and help to tackle the culture of corruption in Punjab.

The centre was being built within budget and on time, at odds with what many believe is possible in Pakistan.

The Pakistani government has also started to institute a national vocational training system modelled on Punjab, which is acknowledged as having progressed more than any other region.

I did not feel at risk as I travelled through Punjab's main cities, Lahore and Islamabad. Even the Wagah border crossing, once a place of serious conflict, reminded me of a summer day at any Australian cricket match against England.
On my travels I met Taseer, who emphasised the importance of building a broad, secular society that respects every culture.

He was a strong opponent of the jailing and death sentence imposed on Asia Bibi, a woman convicted of blasphemy.

I found it surprising that the High Court had stopped Taseer's petition to the federal government for a pardon, keeping Ms Bibi locked up until all appeal processes had been exhausted.

I also visited a moderate madrassa.

These are not, as perceived in the West, hotbeds of radicalism but institutions that teach boys and girls, men and women, in a country where just over 1 per cent of the federal budget is spent on education and more than 60 per cent is spent on defence.

This is a byzantine country where every extreme can be found but it is also a nation of warm and friendly people who wish to live in peace and prosperity. Taseer was a great advocate of such a society.

Pakistan still has a long way to go. It is a fledgling democracy that has suffered years of military dictatorships and violence.

Since September 11, 2001, more than 16,000 civilians have lost their lives. Everywhere you go people talk of corruption. But it is important that they talk about it.

The media, so long restricted, have been allowed to grow and, over time, are becoming braver and more forthright. More than 90 per cent of media condemned Bibi's death sentence.

Taseer had his own problems. Appointed by the federal government, which is run by the Pakistan Peoples Party, he had legendary battles with the speaker of the Punjab Provincial Assembly, Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan, of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).

To stabilise Pakistan, ongoing democratic government is needed.

Many people I met supported the idea of the judiciary as a brake on government. But when the people are angry, they need to know that the government is responsible and democratic elections, not a politicised judiciary, are the mechanism to remove that government.

This will not occur under a military dictatorship or while the public believes the judiciary has a role in the political process, even if it is well-intentioned. Already there are stories of the judiciary initiating prosecutions without just cause.

It is only 60 years since partition, and Pakistan has spent many years without democratic government. It took 82 years for NSW electors to put the first woman into the Australian Parliament and numerous royal commissions will attest to our experiences with corruption.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Guardian report about a tough Karachi cop:

If the lucky really have nine lives, then Chaudhry Aslam Khan, Karachi's toughest policeman, is fast running out of his.

One morning in September, Aslam was sleeping when powerful shockwaves rippled through his house. Falling out of bed, he discovered that a Taliban suicide bomber had rammed a van into his front gate, with devastating consequences.

The blast sheared off the entire front of his palatial home. Windows were shattered across Defence, one of the city's most pricey neighbourhoods. And eight people lay dead: policemen, house guards and a mother and child who had been strolling to school.

Stepping through the rubble and blood, Aslam, who had survived eight previous attempts on his life, helped load the dead and injured into ambulances. (Miraculously, his own family was largely unhurt.) Then he turned to face the media with an extraordinary message of defiance.

"I will bury the attackers right here," he told the cameras, pointing to the two-metre-deep bomb crater, and vowing to launch his own "jihad" against his assailants. "I didn't know the terrorists were such cowards. Why don't they attack me in the open?" Then, sleepless and smeared in dust, he turned on his heel and went back to work.

Crime-fighting in Karachi, a sprawling seaside metropolis racked by a witch's brew of violence – ethnic, political, religious, criminal – has never been easy. So far this year, more than 400 people have died in shootings linked to a political power struggle. A surge in Taliban violence pumped the death toll further.

Few know the dark streets as well as Aslam, a grizzled police veteran of 27 years' experience. Profane, chain-smoking and usually armed with a Glock pistol, he has earned a controversial reputation as Karachi's version of Dirty Harry – the cop who will do whatever it takes to keep the peace.
Last year, they killed Rehman Dakait, a legendary Baloch gangster, in self defence in what was described as a shootout on the city limits. The dead man's relatives have another version: that he was arrested, tortured and shot in cold blood – circumstances Pakistanis euphemistically refer to as an "encounter". It was not the first such accusation against Aslam: he spent 18 months in jail in 2006 after being accused of killing an innocent man; a superior court later cleared him.

Working from an unmarked compound with military-style defences, Aslam roams Karachi at night in an armoured jeep. Protection comes from a team of heavily armed officers, many of whom resemble the gangsters they are pursuing: like their boss, they do not wear uniforms.

He typically works through the night because, he says, "that's when the criminals are out and about". He is proud of his gunslinging reputation. He has earned 45m rupees (£325,000) in government rewards over the years, he says, producing copies of the cheques to prove it.
Although flamboyant, Aslam is by no means unique among Pakistani police. A 2008 report by the International Crisis Group said they had "a well-deserved reputation for corruption, high-handedness and abuse of human rights". Officers retort that they are under-resourced (Karachi has 26,000 officers for perhaps 18 million people) and labour under a sickly criminal justice system with a conviction rate of 5-10%.

And, in a city where crime, politics and ethnicity are inter-connected, police suffer from massive interference: even junior appointments are controlled by politicians who pressure officers to go easy on their favourite gangsters. "It's a totally politicised force," admitted Sharifuddin Memon, an adviser to the provincial home minister...............

Riaz Haq said...

ISLAMABAD: The government of Japan on Thursday signed an agreement with the government of Pakistan to provide Japanese hybrid vehicles worth 500 million Japanese Yen (equivalent to around Rs 490 million or US$ 4.93 million).
The agreement was signed between Hiroshi Inomata, ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, and Nargis Sethi, secretary of Economic Affairs Division.
This assistance is provided in the form of Japan’s Non-Project Grant Aid (NPGA) for promotion of socio-economic development efforts in developing countries by providing foreign currency for the import of necessary goods or commodities. The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Communications had submitted their requests to procure hybrid vehicles under this NPGA for the police agencies under their umbrella. Further details of the procurement will be determined between the Japanese and Pakistani counterparts.
At the signing ceremony, Japanese Ambassador Inomata said, “Security enhancement is indispensable for successful socio-economic development in Pakistan and Japan remains committed to improving capabilities of law enforcement agencies in Pakistan.”
In the field of security and law enforcement, the government of Japan, through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has provided training opportunities to around 50 Pakistani police officers for the last 10 years in areas such as forensic science, drug control and terrorism investigation. In 2013, Japan also agreed to install cargo and vehicle scanning devices at three international airports in Pakistan. In addition, JICA is currently conducting a feasibility study for improvement of container cargo inspection at the two international ports in Karachi. From the environmental point of view, the hybrid vehicles use less fuel and emit less greenhouse effect gases than the conventional cars. The latest hybrid vehicles from Japan are expected not only to enable the Pakistani police agencies to reduce fuel costs for their daily operations, but also help government address environmental challenges.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times columnist David Brooks on security as a bigger problem than poverty in developing world:

If you’re reading this, you are probably not buffeted by daily waves of physical terror. You may fear job loss or emotional loss, but you probably don’t fear that somebody is going to slash your throat, or that a gang will invade your house come dinnertime, carrying away your kin and property. We take a basic level of order for granted.

But billions of people live in a different emotional landscape, enveloped by hidden terror. Many of these people live in the developing world.

When we send young people out to help these regions, we tell them they are there to tackle “poverty,” using the sort of economic designation we’re comfortable with. We usually assume that scarcity is the big challenge to be faced. We send them to dig wells or bring bed nets or distribute food or money, and, of course, that’s wonderful work.

But as Gary A. Haugen and Victor Boutros point out in their gripping and perspective-altering book, “The Locust Effect,” these places are not just grappling with poverty. They are marked by disorder, violence and man-inflicted suffering.

“The relentless threat of violence is part of the core subtext of their lives, but we are unlikely to see it, and they are unlikely to tell us about it. We would be wise, however, to not be fooled — because, like grief, the thing we cannot see may be the deepest part of their day.”

People in many parts of the world simply live beyond the apparatus of law and order. The District of Columbia spends about $850 per person per year on police. In Bangladesh, the government spends less than $1.50 per person per year on police. The cops are just not there.

In the United States, there is one prosecutor for every 12,000 citizens. In Malawi, there is one prosecutor for every 1.5 million citizens. The prosecutors are just not there.

Even when there is some legal system in place, it’s not designed to impose law and order for the people. It is there to protect the regime from the people. The well-connected want a legal system that can be bought and sold.

Haugen and Boutros tell the story of an 8-year-old Peruvian girl named Yuri whose body was found in the street one morning, her skull crushed in, her legs wrapped in cables and her underwear at her ankles. The evidence pointed to a member of one of the richer families in the town, so the police and prosecutors destroyed the evidence. Her clothing went missing. A sperm sample that could have identified the perpetrator was thrown out. A bloody mattress was sliced down by a third, so that the blood stained spot could be discarded....
The primary problem of politics is not creating growth. It’s creating order. Until that is largely achieved, life can be nasty, brutish and short.

Haugen is president of a human rights organization called the International Justice Mission, which tries to help people around the world build the institutions of law. One virtue of his group is that it stares evil in the eyes and helps local people confront the large and petty thugs who inflict such predatory cruelty on those around them. Not every aid organization is equipped to do this, to confront elemental human behavior when it exists unrestrained by effective law. It’s easier to avoid this reality, to have come-together moments in daytime.

Police training might be less uplifting than some of the other stories that attract donor dollars. But, in every society, order has to be wrung out of exploitation. Unless cruelty is tamed, poverty will persist.

Riaz Haq said...

As one of America's top forensic scientists, Mohammad Tahir, pictured above, uncovered evidence that helped jail boxer Mike Tyson for rape and convict serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
Then Tahir took on his toughest assignment yet - applying his skills in Pakistan. But catching criminals is not Tahir's biggest problem. Rather, it's working with the country's antiquated criminal justice system.
So Tahir, a softly spoken man whose passions are reading and gardening, set out on a quest: to promote forensic science.
"Physical evidence does not lie, it does not perjure itself as humans do," said the dapper 65-year-old. "It is a silent witness ... We make it speak in a court of law."

Members of an investigation unit collect evidence from a possible arson attack at a shoe factory that burned down in Lahore.
Crime scene forensics is a new concept for many involved in law enforcement in Pakistan, a poor nation of 180 million people beset by crime and militancy.
Cases that are brought to court often rely on witnesses who are easily bribed or intimidated. Terrorism and murder suspects often walk free.

Tahir, a dual Pakistani and U.S. citizen, has his own forensics lab in the United States. He spent 36 years working with U.S. police and helped write the FBI handbook on forensics.
In 2008, with militant attacks rising in Pakistan, Punjab's chief minister called Tahir and asked for help: to design a new $31 million forensics lab in the city of Lahore, handpick its scientists and try to enforce new standards of crime solving.

The lab was finished in 2012 and at first, business was slow. But now the lab, which is funded by Punjab state, takes around 600 cases a day, Tahir said. It could easily handle twice that if more police start sending in evidence.
"The police are not educated, they don't know our capabilities. We have to teach them," he said.

The gleaming new lab quickly discovered only a tiny fraction of police knew how to secure crime scenes and collect evidence. DNA samples were mouldy. Guns arrived for analysis, smeared with officers' fingerprints.
"If garbage comes in, garbage goes out," explained one scientist at the lab.

To change that, Tahir set up localised crime scene investigation units and began training police. Now the DNA department says around half the samples they receive are packaged correctly.
"They are getting better," Tahir said. So far 3,100 police out of a force of 185,000 have been trained.
But progress is slow. Punjab Police Inspector General Mushtaq Sukhera said police still secure "very few" crime scenes.
Once the lab makes a report, it goes to the prosecutor. But judges, lawyers and witnesses are often threatened or killed. Courts have a backlog of more than a million cases.
As a result, conviction rates are low. Anti-terrorism courts convict around a third of cases — about half of those are overturned on appeal. Fewer than a quarter of murder suspects are convicted.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - Investigating Pakistan's 'mobs for hire'. Rent a mob is a business in #Pakistan …

To an outsider, it can often look like mob rule in Pakistan. There are public lynchings and frequent attacks on religious minorities and nobody ever seems to get arrested or go to jail. But running and renting out mobs is also an organised business in the country, where the men organising the mobs insist they are providing a vital public service and anything is available - at the right price.
An old man with fiery red hair, Khwaja, lounges on a rickety rope-woven bed and speaks to a rapt audience. These are all men from the area, many of them wearing prayer caps and sporting beards. He has gathered more than a dozen in just a few minutes, armed only with a cell phone and a little black book full of numbers.
"Gathering a mob - what's so difficult about that?" he says. "One phone call and a hundred people will come, they can throw stones till nothing is left and if that doesn't work, it costs very little to buy 10 litres of petrol and set things on fire."
A few months ago, Khwaja brought together a protest mob that blocked the railway lines till the authorities were forced to accept their demands. What looked like a mass protest against gas shortages was organised by one influential man. In a country where many of the people still don't have access to basic necessities, there is power in numbers, and men like Khwaja claim to wield this power.

"When government officials fail to deliver on the legitimate needs of the people, then they come to me for solutions. Now the people of my area have more trust in me than the government."
Religion is often used as a rallying cry to stir up sentiments among people influenced by increasing religious radicalism in the country. Khwaja's huge compound contains the only mosque in the area and he chooses the prayer leader himself. His mosque, his cleric, his rules, he says.
Men like Khwaja are known as patrons or "Dera daars". Khwaja insists that he uses his religious influence, connections and political clout for the good of his community, but admits others have exploited mob power for their own purposes.
He explains: "It doesn't take much to gather hundreds against someone you may have a personal enmity with. If they are from a religious minority, you just say they committed blasphemy or burned the Koran, and everyone will follow, no one will verify the truth of it."
'Failure of the police'
Last year an angry mob attacked the homes of Gujranwala's Ahmadiyya religious minority, not too far from Khwaja's area. Locals say it started as a fight over a game of cricket but as tempers flared, a young Ahmadi boy was accused of religious blasphemy, a crime punishable by death under Pakistani laws.

Police Superintendent Sukhera admits such backchannels to local mobsters exist. These mobsters often have strong political support and stronger influence than the authorities.
He says: "What we are seeing is a parallel system of governance. The police are often helpless, because we do not get the protection to apprehend these mobs.
"When we try to stop them through the means necessary, often cases are lodged against the police officers themselves. Why would a police officer put his life and livelihood at risk for others, if he gets no support?"
Psychological experts believe that social unrest is on the rise and tolerance diminishing in a country dealing with the impact of decades of terrorism and growing religious radicalism.
As public confidence in the government's ability to tackle rampant socio-economic problems is eroded, a sense of frustration and anger has emerged. And harnessing that anger to serve ulterior motives appears to have become big business.