Cruelty and social injustice allowing institutions to violate people’s dignity with impunity are the most significant factors that weaken and create unbridgeable fissures in society. The recent incident in Peshawar, where police personnel mistreated an ordinary citizen has shocked the people. Seeing the video of the citizen made many people disgusted. One can only wonder if this is truly the real face of the much-reformed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police. Severe cases of abuse of police authority often stimulate intense public debate and protests as are happening in the present case. Instead of accepting their fault, the police, according to the latest news, also mauled the protestors.

Recent events around the world have made it clear that the lines between policing and excessive violence can easily get blurred if there is no transparency and accountability. Before anything else, the ones in higher echelons of authority need to ask themselves a few hard questions. They need to find answers to the subject of the forms of abuse that exist and the abuse of power. Only reflecting on these issues will lead them to find better strategies and tactics that can be most effective in preventing police from abusing authority.

Meanwhile, the arrest of the three cops responsible is not a permanent solution to the abuse of authority. The issue of abusing power and authority is not subsiding anytime soon — despite the tall claims that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) made all these years — if authorities cling to ad-hocism. While those implicated must be punished, the government, however, must start thinking of overhauling the “thana culture” from where all abuse of power stems. Also, methods such as body cams and independent investigative bodies and units need to be implementable to keep a check on the conduct of cops who must always think of themselves as protectors, not abusers.