Good work done, undone
By Shahnawaz Khan
CITY Division Superintendent of Police (SP) Dr Usman Anwar has created a good impression by spending up to four hours each afternoon listening to complaints of injustice from the poor at his office. It has also been noted that the SP talks to the complainants very politely. Sadly, the good work he is doing to improve the image of the police is being undermined by the behaviour of corrupt subordinates.
A couple of days ago, he heard the sad story of a widow. She told the SP that after her husband’s death, her brothers-in-law had grabbed her husband’s business and assets, and then finally kicked her and her five children out of their home. She said they had also threatened to kill her. “The SP phoned Lohari Gate Station House Officer (SHO) Sultan and ordered him to take action against the culprits,” she told Daily Times.
After speaking to the SP, the widow made her way to Lohari Gate police station. He told her to come back at 9:00 pm. When the woman arrived with her brother at the scheduled time, the SHO crushed her hopes. “Bibi, get out of the police station. You only have an SP’s sifarish, and he cannot do anything to me. I will not stop your brother-in-laws because they are relatives of my friends and always help me in my need,” the woman quoted the SHO as having said. Her search for justice continues.
A recent incident, recounted by witnesses, shows how. The Lohari Gate SHO was seen making a phone call on his mobile to Syed Faisal Ghaznavi, a PML-Q-backed candidate for nazim in Union Council 28. The SHO said, “I received a call from a senior politician and he deputed me in this police station only for you, so now I am assigning a constable to you for protocol.” In response to a question from Ghaznavi, the SHO later said: “I called those people and gave them a detailed briefing and they assured me that their support lies with you.” So are politicians running the police department?
LOWER level traffic policemen are often derided for their corruption and inefficiency, but it would be unfair not to note that they are very poorly paid and have a tough job. It was refreshing to hear Punjab Traffic DIG Altaf Qamar admit at a recent seminar in Lahore that traffic constables were poorly paid and overworked. He suggested that their salaries be doubled and vowed to quit if he were unable to improve their lot in the next eight months.
Sadly, the traffic police’s campaign to raise awareness about traffic rules in the city failed. The policemen going around distributing pamphlets about traffic rules to motorists complained that most motorists ignored them, and those that didn’t would hoot their horns at them. It will take more than politeness to teach Lahoris how to drive.
THE local elections are around the corner and the city is awash with campaign activities. The polls are meant to be on a non-party basis, but candidates have flaunted their affiliations with political parties. And despite orders from the president and chief minister to the police to crack down on violations of the election code of conduct, the city’s policemen are playing a part in the polls.
AS part of the campaign by Lahore Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Aamir Zulfiqar to improve the image of the police, Woman SP Farkhanda Iqbal is arranging meetings with human rights groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to teach women their rights. According to the plan, NGOs would arrange meetings of women with police officers in their areas. “We want to tell women that if they are being oppressed by any element in society, they should not hesitate in calling the police,” the SP said.