LAHORE – Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Habibur Rehman said on Saturday that crime against people and property had shot down significantly across the province after some criminals involved in kidnappings for ransom have been gunned down in police encounters.

Rehman said that though police was the only department where officers were punished for negligence and misuse of powers, he would still set up an internal accountability cell for answerability of the senior officers.

Flanked by Lahore CCPO Haji Aslam Tareen, DIG Operations Rai Muhammad Tahir and others senior police officers, the Punjab IGP expressed these views during an open court, which was organised by a renowned filmmaker Ali Ijaz at Misri Shah on Saturday evening.

“I have addressed several such open courts from Attock to Dera Ghazi Khan, where I assured victims that justice would be provided to them at their doorstep,” said Rehman, adding that he was giving field postings to the best and most honest police officers so that relief could be given to the public. The IGP said that the current setup of Lahore Police, under the command of Muhammad Aslam Tareen, was the best in Punjab. He claimed that the thana culture was improving since SHOs and DSPs have started realizing their main responsibility of serving the public. He also urged the public not to offer bribe to police officers.

Rehman said on February 19, Hafizabad and Skheikhupura police gunned down the ringleader of Kashi dacoit gang that had been operating with impunity in central Punjab. “The gang had kidnapped the son of the owner of a rice mill for a ransom of Rs. 50 million, but police recovered the child the very next day,” he informed.

The holding of open court series would continue across Punjab with a view to providing free and fair justice on the spot to innocent people, Rehman said. He further said that the protection of life and property of the people was the prime responsibility of the police department and no negligence in this regard would be tolerated. “Due to open courts, the gap between the public and the police has been bridged.”

Meanwhile, more than 200 complainants submitted their applications to the Punjab IGP, who issued orders on the spot. One Mazaar Khan of Dera Ghazi Khan, who could not submit his application, told this reporter that landgrabbers led by Musa had occupied the land of his brother. According to him, no one from commissioner to patwari or constable to DIG was listening to his complaint. Similarly, Muhammad Usman, father of a martyred cop, said that his son was killed a couple of years ago, but no one was giving job to his grandson, the son of his martyred son. The induction was legal under family claim, he said.

Another complainant Haji Muhammad Esa of Hanjerwal alleged that SI Muhammad Ashraf has released the person who had kidnapped his two daughters some four years ago.

A woman of Misri Shah told the IGP that some unidentified people fired at her house in the Shadbagh area and officials of the concerned police station were not cooperating with her. The IGP ordered the Shadbagh SHO on the spot that the lady be provided all types of protection.

A businessman of Misri Shah complained that during the marriage ceremony of his son, dacoits snatched Rs. 6.1 million and nothing had been recovered so far. Similarly, another resident of Sultanpura told the IGP that her real brother had occupied her house and she has been forced to live in a rented house. She requested that her house be vacated.

While listening to the complaints of the people, Rehman directed Lahore CCPO Haji Aslam Tareen, DIG Operations Rai Muhammad Tahir and SSP Operations to immediately redress these complaints.

He said that highhandedness of police officers would not be tolerated at any cost since provision of transparent justice to the people was the basic responsibility of the force. Later, DIG Operations and SSP Operations listened to the complaints of the people for over two hours and issued orders on the spot to redress them.