LAHORE – The Punjab Police Department comprising over 180 thousand personnel has maintained its place as the most corrupt department of the country for the last five years, except in the year 2011 when the Land Administration Department took the lead, this reporter has learnt.

In Punjab only, more than 80 cases were lodged against police officers on corruption charges in 2011, with the Sahiwal region police led by DIG Khaliq Dad Luck at the top with 31 cases.

According to the Transparency International’s National Corruption Perception report released in 2011, Police Department stood first in the four surveys conducted during 2002, 2006, 2009 and 2010 respectively. The report states that the department, however, secured second position in its survey conducted in 2011. The Ranking shows, Land Administration department topped the list in the yesteryear while the Education Department secured 10th position, whereas the rest of the departments include: Taxation, Judiciary, Power, Tender and Contracting, Customs, Health and Military.

“The police department has two kind of corruption; internal and external, which include misuse of authority and misuse of personal attainment.” an ex-DIG Punjab said on the condition of anonymity. He said that one of the main causes for police corruption is that police officers have been politicised mostly in Sindh and especially in Karachi but this ‘poison’ has spread to other regions as well.

The ex-DIG further said now police officers are controlled by political leaders, who have misused the power of appointments and transfers to patronise weak or corrupt officers for their own vested interests at the cost of public interest. “Can you imagine, in recent days a strong SP was transferred from the provincial capital, who had misbehaved with a police inspector, unfortunately close to a big wig of a Lahore-based leading political party,” the DIG commented.  According him these political leaders often appoint corrupt cops on top slots as they show their willingness to whatever their ‘masters’ would demand, including brutality, fake encounters, sexual harassment, custodial crimes and the illicit use of weapons.

To a query regarding specified areas of the political involvement and chances of corruption among the cops, he said the chief fields for political interference are appointments, transfers, rewards, and punishments whereas bribery, exchange of money et cetera  fall in the category of police corruption.

According to a special police report prepared by the investigation wing of the Punjab Police, over 80 cases were registered against police officer on charges of corruption from January 1, to December 31, 2011. The official statistics shows around 10 cases were lodged in Lahore, four cases were lodged in Sheikhupura region, 8 in Gujranwala, 14 in Rawalpindi, one in Sargodha, four in Faisalabad, 6 in Bahawalpur and 31 cases were registered in Sahiwal region.

No case was lodged against any police officer in Dera Ghazi Khan and Multan regions led by DIG Athar Mubarak Ali and DIG Muhammad Aamir Zulfiqar Khan respectively. Ironically, out of total 82 cases only one corrupt police officer was imprisoned on corruption charges, 20 cases were cancelled, 11 were challaned and some 46 cases are still under investigation.

An Additional Inspector General told this reporter that the Police Order 2002 provides a comprehensive accountability mechanisms at the district, provincial and national levels.

In regards to the district level, the Police Order established the District Public Safety and Police Complaints Commission, however very few DPSPCCs have been set up throughout Pakistan as yet. “Even where DPSPCCs have been set up, they have little impact since their powers are merely recommendatory and not binding. This failure of these bodies to have ‘teeth’ means that they are often ignored.” he added.

An office-bearer of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that the establishment of Provincial Public Safety and Police Complaints Commission has also been very poor across Pakistan.“In Balochistan the PPSPCC is functioning, but they have very few resources.

 In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the PPSPCC has been notified and one meeting was held in the presence of the National Public Safety Commission. In Sindh, the Chief Minister and the Governor were asked to make the PPSPCC more effective but that has yet to happen and in Punjab the PPSPCC is not functioning at all since it has not met for the past five years.” told the HRDP official.