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Creating a provincial police service

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Civil service reforms in Pakistan have been an eyewash. These often fail even before they start. Unfortunately, there are civil service monopolies in the administrative corridors of power and politicians have not been able to dissect and lead the processes of administration. Consequently, politicians are dependent upon the craft of civil servants in the affairs of administration and even to reform the services. Who will reform the civil service? Constitutionally, it is the mandate and obligation of the political executive to reform civil services but this has never been the case. Politicians always empower the federal bureaucrats to reform civil services who cunningly uphold the colonial scheme of reserving provincial posts for central services. Therefore, the service reforms have only been restricted to changes in the nomenclature of the services. The existing scheme of reserving provincial posts for central services conflicts with constitutional federalism and the Provincial Civil Servants Act. Consequently, the objectives of civil service reforms can only be realised if independent constitutional and structural experts are empowered to reform the civil services

Police reforms require fundamental constitutional alignment. Should the Police be organised centrally or provincially? The administration of police is a provincial subject according to Article 70(4) and schedule IV of the constitution. Chapter two of the constitution enforcing principles of policy under article 37 (i) categorically makes sure to decentralise the administration to facilitate expeditious disposal of its business to meet the convenience and requirements of the public. Yet, in consonance with the constitutional provisions, it is constitutionally required to raise police service provincially not centrally. Hence, the best process of reforming the police is to implement the constitution. Law and order is a provincial subject. Article 240 (b) of the constitution empowers the provincial assembly to legislate provincial posts and services. The Punjab government rules of business, 2011 empower the Home Department of the province to raise provincial police service. However, against the constitutional scheme, the police are organised centrally in the form of the Police service of Pakistan (PSP) without enactment and legal instruments.

The pinnacle of police reforms is the creation of the Provincial Police Service (PPS) on posts connected with the affairs of the Home department. This is a constitutional obligation. The law does not allow the maintenance of a Federal PSP on posts of the Provincial Home Department. How can provinces perform operations of policing where federal PSP officers are posted on provincial posts and not accountable to provincial political executives and law? Abolishing the class system in the police force is a structural requirement for proficiency and career progression. How can superior and inferior ranks form a joint police force? The police should be organised at a lower level and promoted systematically to the higher ranks without lateral entry or recruitment. Policing is not showcasing administrative skills only, but developing core skills of operations, investigation, prosecution and then administration. Is it justifiable to recruit a superior human resource only for the matters of administration excluding the core matters of operations, investigation, and prosecution?

Policing is a devolved subject all over the world. The Constitution of Pakistan organizes it provincially. Article 240 of the constitution provides three types of services. Federal and all Pakistan services with their connected posts are regulated under an organic act of a parliament whereas provincial posts and services are required to be regulated by an act of provincial assembly. Articles 153 and 154 create the Council of Common Interests which is constitutionally required to control the subjects of the Federal legislative list part II. This is a common and connected place between the federation and provinces to raise all of Pakistan’s services and posts. Hence, neither a federal nor an all-Pakistan service can be raised on provincial posts. Similarly, there is no constitutional support for the creation of a district police service. However, provincial police can be devolved to districts by an act of provincial assembly. Last but not the least, political intervention in the affairs of the police requires lawful scrutiny. There is a difference between political executives and politicians. The political executive is the leading part of the executive and should always lead the police according to law and processes. But the police should legally be provided with lawful guarantees to avoid illegal intervention by political executives and general politicians alike

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