The Home Minister of the Punjab government has initiated disciplinary proceedings against police officers who were found guilty of brutally torturing the participants of the May 25 Azadi March across the province.
The march was conducted on the order of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan. The police of the province, besides wildly torturing the activists, also used poisonous and expired tear gas shells on the political workers. It violated every law to raid the houses of PTI politicians and workers to harass, torture and arrest them.
But the surprising thing is that action is being taken only against the lower-level police officers, including the SHOs of the police stations, while the senior PSP officers, including the Inspector General of Police, Deputy Inspector General and Capital City Police Officer Lahore have been only transferred from the coveted positions they were holding.
They have been given a safe way out of Punjab. Former IG Police Rao Sardar Ali Khan has already been transferred from Punjab as chief of Railways Police. Former CCPO Lahore Bilal Siddique Kamiana has also been removed from Punjab. Capt. Retired Sohail Chaudhry, who was serving as DIG Operations then, had allegedly ordered brutally torturing the innocent citizens and workers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and was posted chief of Special Branch Punjab. After criticism on social media, he was transferred and posted as OSD. Later, he was relieved from Punjab.
Critics raise several questions, some saying that action should be taken against those who ordered the police to torture, including the home minister of Punjab and the interior minister at the Centre. Secondly, because the Punjab government is not authorized to take action against the officers of the federal government, it is enough to unceremoniously kick them out of Punjab.
Punjab Home Minister Col. (R) Hashim Dogar, however, said that he will take action against all those against whom applications have been filed in the police stations. Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan is also included among those against whom applications have been filed. He said that he would never spare anybody who was directly or indirectly involved in ordering police torture of unarmed political activists. He said that it was the need of the hour to depoliticize the police force and that he will never allow police action against political activists in the province.
An SHO, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that it was sheer discrimination. He said that instead of taking action against the lower formations, the government should punish those who were at the helm of affairs, both politically and administratively. Chief Minister Ch. Parvez Elahi has already expressed his concern about the police force against the legislators in the Punjab Assembly. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan had also, time and again, vowed to make the IGP and chief secretary an example of torturing party workers.
Naseer Ahmad Advocate said that the Punjab government should not take retaliatory action against the police officers. Every government has been using the police for political purposes. He remarked that when the police make political recruitment, how can they be prevented from using them for political purposes? In the second place, in the famous Anita Turab case, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has a clear judgement that public servants are not bound to obey illegal orders.
But here the question arises: if the police do not obey the orders of their superiors and the Ministry of Home Affairs, how can they continue to work in the department? He said that without monitoring the political use of force by the apex court, it would not be possible to stop it. He suggested that the government should completely overhaul the police force by keeping strict checks on it. Otherwise, all the political slogans of the PTI to bring change to the system will prove futile.
Munawar Ahmad, a political activist, said that the governments of different political parties in the Centre and provinces can create problems for the state of Pakistan. He said that if the PDM government in Islamabad resorts to political victimization in its territory, the retaliation in different provinces against the alliance workers will create problems for the system. It is heard that the leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) has taken refuge in the Federal Lodges because they may be arrested in Punjab or KP. Even Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah cannot dare to visit his native town Faisalabad. This shows the worst of the national security-related issues.