KARACHI-The provincial government and the members of two opposition parties – Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) on Wednesday gave nod to the police law from the select committee of the Sindh Assembly formed to review the bill amid boycott from the joint opposition parties. The law as per the provincial government is aimed at revival of the police order 2002 in the province, repealing the colonial era 1861 police Act in the province.

The proceedings of the select committee was chaired by the chairman and Provincial Minister for Agriculture Ismail Rahu, which cleared the bill to be tabled in the Friday’s sitting of the provincial assembly.

Under the bill, the provincial government is recommended to form Public Safety Commission on provincial and district level in sixty days after enactment of new police order from Sindh assembly. Ismail Rahu said that they had added suggestion from the opposition parties in the bill but they ditched the consultative process in last minute.

“All things were moving smoothly but suddenly they refused to cooperate despite government’s assurance to include their recommendations,” he said.

Opposition walks out from select committee proceedings

The joint opposition parties including Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) walked out from the proceedings of the meeting on Wednesday after they were not given minutes of the meeting.

“The government is not ready to cooperate with us on the issue and is bent on introducing reforms that could give it extraordinary powers to control police,” said the opposition leader in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi while talking to media.

GDA leader Shaheryar Maher while talking to The Nation said that the government had bypassed them to pass police law from the select committee without heeding to their demands for reforms in police and make it an independent institution in its working as per the directives of the apex and provincial courts. He further claimed that the government tried to lure them that if the opposition parties would come into power next time then such immense powers to an IG Police would also hurt them and therefore they should cooperate with them.

“We out rightly rejected it as better police would be in the best interest of the province and will serve as tool to improve law and order situation in the province,” he said.

“We have been asking for the minutes of the meeting from the government from the very first day but till today we are yet to receive it from them,” he said adding the bill was passed from the committee without their consent.

He said that they had opposed the government move to control police powers in the committee and will also do it in the assembly proceedings. “We will also be moving courts against this legislation soon after it is passed from the PPP led provincial assembly,” he said.

Opposition layout for police reforms

The joint opposition group in the Sindh Assembly refused to become part of the government led efforts for introducing reforms under the police order and announced to move court over police order bill to be tabled in the assembly by Friday. In recommendations given to the provincial government, the opposition called for forming a high powered selection committee for the appointment of the Inspector General Sindh that would include leader of the house, opposition leader and a nominee of the chief justice Sindh from retired judge of the high court.

It further shed light on the composition of the provincial public safety and police complaint commission including three nominees each from opposition and treasury, head of CPLC, Mayor Karachi, an industrialist, a retired police officer above DIG rank, criminal lawyer or a retired judge and a social activist.

For composition of district public safety and police complaint commission, the selection panel should comprise of a session judge, district chairman or mayor and deputy commissioner.

Highlighting the composition of district commission, it said that it should comprise of three elected members from district, three members from district council and three independent members.

Appointments

The paper presented by opposition stated that the tenure of the IG Sindh would be three years from names proposed by selection panel and if IG is to be removed then he should be found of clear violations of the code of conduct. The inquiry against IG should be carried out by the provincial public safety and police complaint commission.

The additional IG and DIG should be appointed for two years with a maximum of two terms while a SHO should be posted for one year and could not return to the same area unless after three years of completing his tenure. It also called for recruitment of ASI and SHO level officials on Sindh domicile and through NTS, medial and physical fitness tests along with psychological tests.

It called for appointing lawyers at the district investigations and be appointed through public service commission. They should head all investigations at police station level.

The police stations must have a women section. The opposition further said that the government seems to be in a rush to pass the legislation and is therefore ignored some important aspects in the bill including change in police station culture, torture under police custody and traffic police.