MUHAMMAD IRTAZA

MULTAN

The idea of getting First Investigative Report (FIRs) registered through e-mails might sound weird to all those who, by any chance, have come across Pakistani thana system. The typical environment of police stations, mindset of moharrars and their handwritten roznamchas (ledger) require a citizen to invest both his time and money to get lodged his complaint, - that too after taking a great pain.

However, the Multan police claim to have gone a step forward from other districts of the country as it offer cyber solutions to the public for a number of problems. The department has launched an official website (www.multanpolice.gov.pk) and the people are offered a rare facility like online registration of FIRs which is harder to be obtained even through visits of police stations.

Talking to The Nation, the City Police Officer (CPO) Sultan Ahmad Chaudhry said that the citizens could avoid inconvenience by getting their complaints registered online. “We need to keep pace with the modern world. It’s not an age to stay silent. Share your information regarding Crime and Criminals with me by e-mail,” the CPO asked the citizens.

The web-traffic has begun as over 20 citizens including Shumaila Ahmad, Nayyar Abbas, Amir Ijaz and others have so far contacted the police through e-mail and prompt necessary action is taken on their complaints. Besides the Interactive Website, fan pages of Multan Police on Social Network Sites like Facebook and Twitter have also been launched.

The public Relations Officer of Multan Police Inspector Yousuf Haroon told this scribed that a number of other modern and state-of-the-art Projects had also been launched by the department for citizen’s security and to improve quality of service delivery. “All these unique local initiatives are taken for modernisation of the department which are designed, built and operated on a sustainable self-help basis,” he added.

A major project of new Satellite-GPS based Live Vehicle Tracking is under construction while Automated and Digital Rescue 15 Emergency Response Centre, State of the Art Mobile Forensic & Crime Scene Laboratory Unit are functional. Similarly, a surveillance project to keep eye on entry and exit points as well as sensitive areas of the city through cameras and integration of above projects through a central “Digital Nerve Centre” are being designed.

The initiative has received mix reaction from the citizens. While some praised police for going cyber, the others declared it a futile exercise. “Well, it’s like packing old vine in new bottle. We need to change the mindset of police officers and not the system,” said a citizen Muhammad Naem. He maintained that whatever reforms the governments introduced to improve police department in the past, they were rendered futile by the cops themselves. “And by the way how many men on this street have access to internet?” he posed a question.

An optimistic citizen namely Abdul Majid was of the view that the initiative would not only help lift police’s image but also facilitate the citizens at large. “I believe it’s a great step. It’s the era of smartphones and tablets. If, God forbid, something happens to you, you can quickly access police department through their website,” he added.