Experts speak about the provincial force at Adab Festival 2020
Former officers of the Sindh police said that there are a lot of corruption and funds related problems in the department now, but such problems have been there since its formation, adding that the police have always treated the rich and poor differently.
Saud Ahmed Mirza, a former Karachi police chief, and former Sindh IG Aftab Nabi spoke about the ‘History of the Sindh Police’ on the second day of the Adab Festival at Karachi’s Arts Council on Saturday. Former police officer Omar Shahid Hamid was the moderator.
Nabi said the British formed the Sindh police and another squad to control mobs during protests. In 1930, police officers were accused of killing 29 people during a violent protest.
During British rule, the policing system was very weak and the feudal lords were quite powerful, he said. They resolved civil disputes because of which many people didn’t go to court.
Corruption and incompetence reached its height in the department during this time, he said, adding that there was a lack of funds and the police filed political cases against people.
Mirza added that the Sindh Police Force was the fourth force formed by the British. The Royal Irish Constabulary used to call the Sindh police the first modern police force of that era.
A British officer then decided that regional officers should head the force’s subdivisions, so, the Sindh province was divided into Karachi, Hyderabad, Shikarpur divisions, all with a separate SP, he said.
In fact, three army men were arrested in Shikarpur and it stirred controversy, Mirza said, adding that the case was brought to the notice of Sindh commissioner and then viceroy.
Speaking about the current tug-of-war between the federal government and provincial government over the appointment of the Sindh IG, Hamid said Sindh’s struggle to take policing powers is very old.
Mirza, on the other hand, said that the Police Order, 2002 clearly mentions that no IG can be changed before three years. And if there arises a need to change him, then there is a long procedure for that, he said.
Nabi said that such a power struggle is a part of the police’s history. Even before and after Partition, several amendments were made, but they haven’t been implemented. If these amendments are implemented, then it will prove to be beneficial for everyone, he said.
Answering a question about what’s common between the old and the new police, Nabi said it’s militarisation, rampant corruption and preferential treatment of people.
Mirza, however, said that in the British era, officers made an effort to know the people in their areas. They would meet people and routinely visit different areas but this is not seen today, maybe this is why people have lost touch with the police, he added.