In a rare display of heroism, a Christian couple was saved from a mob that was attempting to lynch them for allegedly committing blasphemy, and later a cleric was arrested for inciting the violence. The event took place in a village called Makki, where due to a misunderstanding, a local barber incited violence against the couple. They were dragged out of their home and were being beaten for reasons unknown to them. The police was tipped off and arrived in time, saving the couple and handing them over to the Christian elders in Lahore.

In a country like Pakistan where blasphemy is taken more seriously than murder and rape, this act of defiance to the acceptable practice of lynching helpless minorities by the police should be hailed and set as a precedent. In recent years, the Christian community has been subjected to too many incidences of violence, terrorizing the 2% of the population of Pakistan, and hence an instance of authorities protecting them should ease some of the fear that they constantly live under.

Although quick response to a situation such as this is one step in the right direction, the police have a long way to go before they can be deemed as an apolitical and accountable institution. After coming under fire recently due to the mishandling of the differently abled persons that were demanding the Punjab government to regularize the blind ad hoc employees and increase their job quota, the government has spurred into a renewed vow to reform the law enforcement agency. Apart from this they have given the police force with a reasonable raise compared to last year’s budget, allocating another Rs4 billion for the Safe City Project, which will ensure the installation of CCTV cameras around the city in efforts to reduce street crime.

The Punjab CM has also held a meeting, calling for police reform and improving thana culture stressing that the protection of life and property and reprisal of their grievances is the prime responsibility of police. As easy at is to hold meetings and assign extra finances to better train and equip the police force, without giving it operational autonomy, depoliticising the police, bringing meaningful reforms to the service structure and restructuring the legal justice system, the police would remain compromised and subject to the whims of politicians and the bureaucracy.