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EditorialSheikhupura incident

Sheikhupura incident

Eight villagers were murdered in cold blood by a local private school teacher in Sheikhupura. The suspect had earlier been detained by the police when he assaulted another man but was held down by those passing by. The police let go of him after his family gave reassurances and stated that he was mentally ill. In the early hours of Saturday, however, the man attacked eight villagers with an axe and an iron rod, which led to their unfortunate deaths. Following this incident, the station house officer of the Narang police station was suspended and five others were booked for negligence. Netizens have claimed that the man had injured other people as well earlier. However, the police only kept him in lock up briefly. This gross negligence by the police has resulted in the deaths of eight innocent people.

When a police officer stopped to refuel his motorcycle at a filling station, he observed the suspect nearby and called for help. Constable Zafar Iqbal said in his video testimony that he observed the culprit at the gas station. By then, he had slain two victims and was dressed in blood-stained clothing and carrying an axe and an iron rod. Before beginning his pursuit, the constable informed the police that the suspect had escaped the area on a motorbike. The constable chased the murderer for four to five kilometres before catching up with him.

Chief Minister Parvez Elahi took notice of the incident and immediately asked the police chief of Punjab to look into the matter. On the orders of the latter, five police officials involved in the negligence were arrested, and IGP Punjab stated that there is no place for such officers in the department of police. It is likely that they will be sacked. However, this is not enough.

The Punjab Police is one of the strongest police departments in Pakistan. However, many such incidents have occurred where junior level police officers have caused great embarrassment to the whole branch. Like many other services, the police service also needs some reforms so that it can train better officers at the lower level so that tragedies like this do not occur. Had the five officers not let go of the detainee earlier, eight deaths could have been avoided. If the family of the detainee had said that he was mentally ill, then the police should have referred them to a mental health facility. It is understandable that Pakistan does not house many of those, and so the police should have kept him detained, as assaulting someone is not a small crime after all.

The primary problem that exists in Pakistan in numerous areas is the willingness to perform curative measures rather than use preventative measures. Now the five police officials have been arrested and will be sacked. However, it is highly likely that more incidents of this nature will occur as the police are not trained in such aspects. This is why subjects like criminology and criminal psychology must be taught to police officials of all levels so that they can identify a murderer and take proper actions at the right time. Moreover, families of such people must also let the person stay in lockup or take them to a mental health facility so that they do not become a danger to the society at large.

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