AHORE - Punjab Assembly witnessed a rare scene on Wednesday when legislators from both sides of the political divide became one voice on deteriorating law and order situation and improper behaviour of police with masses.

During the Question Hour at the Assembly floor with Deputy Speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani in the chair, Home Minister Col (retd) Shujaa Khanzada admitted that the masses were afraid to enter police stations fearing rudeness, saying that the system of police was rusted and needed overhauling.

To a supplementary question of treasury legislator Raheela Khadim Hussain, Khanzada said that the police high-ups had been directed to take steps for early arrest of proclaimed offenders.

Opposition legislator Dr Waseem Akhtar said that the contents of reply from the department were contrary to facts, adding that the applicants going to police stations for help were a source of minting money for the officials. He said that there was a dire need of making revolutionary changes in the system to make police stations people-friendly. He said that the internal system of police department had collapsed and reforms were much needed to be introduced.

He further suggested the deputy speaker to constitute a committee for submitting recommendations for improving police performance.

Treasury legislator Kh Muhammad Islam also agreed to the viewpoint of his colleague from the opposition and demanded constitution of a committee for suggesting workable reforms.

Accepting the viewpoint of both the MPAs, Shujaa Khanzada said that the entire House agreed that the Police culture was not people friendly. He said that people hesitated to visit police stations to get their police redressed, which was a matter of grave concern.

“Changing the rusted system of police is top priority of Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif,” he said, adding that the government was working on the plan of bringing Police reforms. He also suggested the chair to fix a full day, expressing that he was ever ready to brief the House about progress on preparing recommendations for Police reforms.

The deputy Speaker said that a day would be fixed for discussion on Police reforms during the ongoing session. He also assured JI legislator regarding constitution of a House committee for submitting recommendations for bringing Police reforms.

To a supplementary query, Khanzada said that betting on cricket and other sports was a global phenomenon. He said that bookies had no proper infrastructure and were betting through phone calls.

“Police do take action against bookies whenever it gets information,” he added.

He also said that CIA and Anti Car Lifting Squad lacked capacity to recover all stolen vehicles, adding that the government was introducing Information Technology that would help increasing capacity of CIA and Anti Car Lifting Squad.

Treasury and Opposition legislators shared with the House several incidents of vehicle theft, kidnappings and lack of interest on the part of police personnel.

Treasury legislator Rao Kashif Raheem contradicted claims of Shuja Khanzada regarding improvement in behaviour of policemen at around 100 Model Police Stations, saying that the situation was the same everywhere.

To a question of opposition MPA Ahsan Riaz Fatyana, Home Minister said that land had been identified for shifting of police stations from rented buildings and premises of other departments. He said that the process would be started within three days.

The House passed two bills, Punjab Explosives Amendment Bill and Punjab Arms Amendment Bill 2014, on Wednesday, rejecting two amendments proposed by the Opposition. The chair adjourned the session for Thursday (today) after completion of agenda.