KARACHI - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Khurram Sherzaman on Monday tabled a private members bill regarding police reforms in Sindh to replace the existing Police Act, 1861.

Tabling the bill, Sherzaman said that objective of this proposed Police Act was to create an independent, de-politicized and professional police force that was required for a modern and democratic society. “The current Police Act 1861 makes police a tool in the hands of rulers to frighten the people, but the one I have tabled makes it a public-friendly and public serving force,” he added.

He further said the bill intended to reduce political interference in police affairs, as powers to post/transfer senior police officers would rest with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) instead of the chief minister in the event of passage of this bill.  “The IGP will have the power to transfer and post officers up to the rank of additional inspector general throughout the province by virtue of this bill,” Sherzaman elaborated.

Giving further details, the PTI leader said the bill contained significant provisions to support unity of command, transparency, service delivery, merit-based promotions, stricter accountability and implementation.  “Besides that, the bill ensures transparent recruitment through a credible testing agency; institutionalized service delivery through complaint management system, public information system, police assistance lines and alternate dispute resolution through councils,” he explained.

“The bill provides for district and provincial public safety commissions (PSCs) of elected representatives and well-reputed citizens to check and support police,” he said, and added, “PSCs functions include evaluating police performance, holding inquiries, recommending police reforms.”

Talking about utility of the bill with respect to holding police accountable for its misdeeds, the PTI leader said the bill provided for a Regional Police Complaint Authority (RPCA) consisting of a retired judge, a civil servant, and a professional.

Sherzaman was categorical in his belief that Pakistan Army and Rangers were not a long-term solution to policing and battling the scourge of terrorism and militancy facing both Sindh and Pakistan, “Police should be on the frontline to combat these problems,” he said, and added, “In order to do so, police reforms in Sindh are need of the hour and we cannot wait any longer.”