LAHORE  - To overhaul the corruption-riddled Punjab police, the largest law enforcing agency is being divided into six different sections, a top official of the Punjab government claimed Wednesday.

Provincial minister for counter-terrorism department, Shuja Khanzada, says that the police are being divided into six different sections including command and control, crime scene investigation, riot police, pool net police, dolphin police, and anti-terrorism police.

According to an official handout, the minister said that the decision was taken on the instructions of Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif to change “Thana culture.” This initiative would help make police a people-friendly institution and the cooperation of Turk national police has been sought in this regard.

Official sources said that the government has also stepped up the work to introduce reforms in the police force. A former inspector general of police (IGP), requesting anonymity, said that this initiative is unlikely to help reform the strong police force comprising above 180000 personnel. “Thana culture is a different thing. It relates to corruption, injustice, torture, and misuse of powers at police station level,” the ex-IGP said. According to him, dividing police into six sub-sections would not help introduce reforms at police station level. Another officer said that the division of police in two different sections– operation and investigation wings– during Musharraf regime failed to bring any positive changes at grass root level. “The earlier division had multiplied the problems of the complainants rather than providing them relief. This will also prove a futile exercise unless concrete measures are taken to root out corruption from the police department,” he added. 

Shuja Khanzada also claimed that police reforms would be made on ground in a year. He said that under the first phase, 600 cameras would be installed at sensitive places in big cities of the province which will be helpful in controlling crimes as well as traffic. He said that 70 international companies have been contacted for installation of cameras but the task would be assigned only to that company, which would meet the required standard of transparency. Shuja Khanzada said that on the instructions of Chief Minister the work on establishing command and control center is underway. He said that this center would start functioning by the end of this year whereas approval for setting up command and control centers in Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan has also been sought and these centers would be made functional next year.

The minister said that the Turk police officers would remain in Punjab till the project of IT training for the Punjab police is completed. He further said that Turk national police is providing guidance and consultation free of cost.

About the pool net section, the minister asserted that all record of the police would be computerized through this section and the record of criminals would be available in this section. About Dolphin police, he said that this police section would have heavy bikes to be equipped with modern weapons and communication. He said that this police would have the ability of immediately reaching and taking action at places of rush and heavy traffic whereas the riot police would be provided special training for controlling riots. He said that Turk national police would also extend cooperation and consultation in providing training to these two sections free of cost.