Also seek powers to register FIRs, investigate cases and present challan; want Rangers powers under ATA extended on yearly basis; SC says paramilitary force report is charge sheet against Sindh IGP, chief secretary
KARACHI: The Sindh Rangers on Monday expressed dissatisfaction over police investigations and requested the Supreme Court to direct the Sindh government to allow the Rangers to set up their own police stations with the powers of registration of FIRs, investigation and submission of charge sheets.
Filing a report before the Supreme Court’s five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, which is hearing the Karachi law and order suo moto case, the DG Rangers criticised the provincial government’s act with regard to the extension of its powers under the anti-terrorism law and curtailing its legal powers.
“If facilitators, abettors, financiers, etc, of terrorists and heinous activities are not allowed to be apprehended, how can any action against terrorism be effective,” the DG Rangers questioned in his report.
The Rangers’ counsel Shahid Anwar Bajwa submitted that it was the experience of the Pakistan Rangers that investigation by the police was ‘whimsical and influenced’. He alleged that more than 1,100 accused had been let off because of defective investigations and many of these released persons are involved in street crimes as well as heinous crimes.
Citing an example of the negligent role of the police, he submitted that the main accused of the Safoora Goth killing case, which brought a bad name to the city and the country, was arrested in the past and released in 2011 because the police could not properly investigate and produce evidence against him although the intelligence report clearly mentioned that he had threatened that he would commit acts having huge consequences and he did so.
The Rangers’ counsel submitted that there was no security of tenure of police officers at police stations, district police and central police offices and there were frequent changes and transfers of police officers. He said not only this but in 2015 three or four home secretaries were changed. He said that until security of tenure was implemented very strictly, there cannot be any hope of sustainable law and order improvement.
He submitted that the Rangers be allowed to set up their own police station with all necessary powers which were available to the police stations. The law officer complained that Rangers have been provided 11 prosecutors but the prosecutors nominated by the Rangers in the former federal minster Dr Asim case were not notified by the Home Department while the request of nominations of prosecutors in 110 cases was still pending before the Home Department.
On the extension in the Rangers’ powers under the ATA, he submitted that usually the extension in the Rangers tenure in the province was made for 60, 90 and 120 days only by the provincial government but such acts were creating a bad impact on citizens and an impression that the powers of the Rangers in Karachi under the ATA are temporary and the Rangers were leaving the city after the expiry of such delegated powers.
“For the success of the operation in Karachi, all components of law enforcement system should be part of the solution. However, if one or more of the components are not part of the solution but practically operate as part of the problem, long term sustainable peace cannot be achieved,” he submitted.
The Rangers requested the court to order the government that effective steps be taken to depoliticise the police and appointments in the police be made through a transparent and merit-based process besides security of tenure of all those who are involved in the law and order enforcement at the Sindh Secretariat or in respect of all police postings and the Rangers powers under the ATA should be extended on an yearly basis.
Giving details of their performance from September 2013 till March 4, 2016, the Rangers said that the paramilitary force had arrested 5,096 accused and handed them over to the police. He said that 83 persons were acquitted, 168 were convicted while 1,156 were on bail. The court directed the Chief Secretary and IG Sindh to file their respective replies on the report by Tuesday.
The Supreme Court also expressed dissatisfaction over the police progress report and directed the IG Sindh to arrest the 29,000 absconders, involved in different criminal and terrorism cases, who were roaming freely in the city.
The court observed the IG Sindh’s report portrayed that criminal activities had been eliminated and inquired as to how many cases had been charge sheeted against the criminals before the trial courts.
The court observed why the criminals have not been arrested and put on trial in cases which have been detected. The court observed that thousands of proclaimed offenders and absconders were roaming freely in the city despite their records being available to the police. The court inquired the IG Sindh as how many persons had been arrested and charge sheeted in targeted killing of 159 persons in the city.
The court also questioned frequent transfers and postings of police officers and directed the IG Sindh and the chief secretary to submit a report with regard to transfer and postings of police officers during last year.
The court observed that frequent transfers of police officers was tantamount to shaking the confidence of the officers as the government used to transfer the officers who refuses to take their dictation. The court observed that except for two police officers in the Karachi Police, no other police officer completed its tenure of posting.
The chief justice observed how an officer could work diligently without tenure security of his post. The court observed that tenure security was necessary for accountability of officers in case they failed to deliver during his tenure.
The court took notice of involvement of police personnel and officers in short term kidnappings of citizens as per SSP Amir Farooqui’s inquiry report and inquired the IG Sindh as what action had been taken against the police officers who were found involved in short term kidnapping of citizens. IG Sindh Ghulam Hyder Jamali submitted that one Sub-Inspector Tariq Islam had been suspended and departmental proceedings have been initiated against him. The court observed why cases have not been registered against such police personnel and it seems as if the police had taken over the field of kidnappings for ransom after seeing a decline in such offences. The court observed it seems that police had hired private persons for committing such crimes.
Prosecutor General Sindh Shahdat Awan submitted that 54 out of 70 cases of paroled prisoners had been disposed while 16 are pending. He also sought time to file a report on the status of pending cases that were charge sheeted by the police. The court observed that there were shortcomings on a large scale in the performance of the Sindh Police, which are encouraging criminals who are operational in the metropolitan city of Karachi and such shortcomings highlighted during the proceedings need to be addressed on an urgent basis.
Taking up the land cases, the court took notice over reclaiming of land at the Karachi Port’s channel for officers housing scheme and directed chairman Karachi Port Trust to produce the original map of the land before the court. The court questioned the computerisation of land record process and observed that tampered entries of the record had been made without verifying the same from the central record. The court observed that computerization of the land record was ordered to protect the government land and transparency in the state land but despite spending over Rs4 billion, nothing has been done to serve the purpose. The court observed that computerised land record was not in conformity with the original land record and warned that officers will be sent to prison if irregularities were found in the records. The hearing will be resumed on Tuesday.