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this is a Guest Post from a cop who risks his life (for you and me) on the city streets every day. I had the temerity to ask him (Or you could say I was dumb enough) about the role of Police in Model Town as well as Islamabad incident in which many innocent Pakistanis lost their lives. Our man, has pored his heart out. The few Kilo Bytes of space is dedicated to him. And I am really grateful to him for sharing his views in such a candid and bold manner. May no harm fall on him, ever. Ameen.
Guest Post for Nmafzal.com
Couple of days ago, My good friend Nauman Afzal (Author of nmafzal.com) sent me a question related to Police violent behaviors towards followers of TUQ and IK. His question was,
“Was the Police really forced to commit violence in recent heart breaking events such as Model Town or Islamabad incident?”
Being totally honest here, I find this question disturbing. Not because it involves Police, violence or innocent citizens. But because people wonder if it was the Police or Government. Because majority has no clue or an actual mental image of How Police operates or is operated in Pakistan.
I am serving as a constable in Punjab Police for last 14 years. I know Police department better than any civilian and I feel some responsibility to present some explanation on this violence issue. Respected readers may disagree to my opinion.
Police department (in Pakistan) is highly influenced more than any other institution or organization. Influence that is caused by Sticks, not carrots. Yes there is bribery but that is not enough to mutilate competency and ethics. A big percentage of Sticks (Un wanted influence of Politicians, bureaucrats) is the primary reason which completes the ugly picture. A picture that represents perfect example of corruption, incompetence and failure.
Let’s try to explain this with some example here. Take a fictional Police station called Afzal town. One SHO (In charge) and 15 upper subordinates such as SI and ASI, in all. 500 cases (FIR) are registered every year in Thana Afzal town. Now pretty much for every case there will be people contacting Police for wanted end results, such as local self-proclaimed white collars, Bureaucrats and Politicians. Suspensions, transfers, Punishments are common blow backs upon refusal. Judiciary is also blame here, as they act out of blue and they will reward stay orders and bails on the most stupid reasons ever.
Police cannot digest a murder, robbery and drug case. They naturally will try to catch the culprit and sometimes they will place weapons, drugs or some other evidence from their own pocket if culprit is genuine and smart. Their goal is the catch the bad guy anyway. They cannot just eat up a case due to presence of Applicants, Senior officials and Judiciary. Well judiciary is not big threat but earlier two are.
When ever a Police encounter is expected, Police will inform the top of local food chain for information and approval. We won’t just shoot a guy until seniors are backing us up. You may be surprised but if I discharged my service weapon on duty, still I got to collect all those bullet casings and I will be questioned if I don’t. Police is too coward when it comes to shooting live ammunition even for actual culprits who deserve it coming. If I am on duty and couple of guys beat me even if I am armed, I will still hesitate to shoot them. If I see armed robbery in progress on road, I would prefer shooting in the air to scare them off instead aiming at them. Consider the Police a “pussy cat” when it comes to shooting someone. I wish we could be like American Police someday, Insha Allah.
I explained some short details to make a mental image before you. Now coming to actual question.
Was the police forced to commit violence that caused fatalities?
Heck yes. Police is not built to confront such crowds with deadly force at all, until orders are coming from top. Take the Model Town incident, for instance – Chief Minister, Provincial Law minister, DCO and local magistrate are the ones who should be held responsible primarily. No way in hell, Police will shoot live ammo without written orders from Home Ministry or Verbal orders of Magistrate who is present on the scene. In model town incident, I am assuming some 15 to 20 shooters were involved out of a hundreds of policemen. In Islamabad incident, we can assume some 50 constables were involved in shooting since projectiles were rubber bullets. My point is, I will not shoot a human down until I am given direct order, No way Sir. This is impossible.
Same goes for baton action or tear gas. Those who were claiming some chemical gas term. I assume shells were expired and those gases were a bit more dirty then expected. Police got no chemical weapons. About violence on journalists, again I assure you specific groups of Police were directed to smash their instruments and beat media persons.
Only time, when Police beats a person(s) intentionally is, when we catch them involved in something, specifically when nobody is watching. We beat them pretty roughly and make sure that they would stay silent on this. Sometimes that blows up as well. That decision of beating someone comes right from our own rank and file. Other than that, every order is coming from bureaucrats or ministers.
To support my claim, Look at every protest in past years caused by load shedding or by religious groups. Police was not only beaten and injured, their vans destroyed, but some of our officials were shot at. That is a typical Police behavior. Nobody got our backs, Nobody. Look at those shooters involved in Model Town, though they were acting on orders. Now they are being jailed.
For goodness sake, take Sikandar’s example. He shot countless rounds towards Police in Public. One armed man. Anybody, out of those surrounding him could have shot him . But Interior Minister forbade the Police because of Sikandar’s wife and children safety’s sake. What a joke. Some cop may have died because of that shooting but Police hands were tied because a Minister is saying so.
Actually, Police is being used as a Prostitute by the Government. We got no back bone or dare like Army to get rid of this disgusting control. If you think otherwise or nothing is done to correct this, well we will keep rotting together.