Punjab Police to undergo reforms, taking cues from successes in KP

By Javed Khan


Then-KP Inspector General of Police (IGP) Nasir Khan Durrani (centre) and then-KP Governor Iftikhar Hussain Shah (left) listen to a briefing by then-District Police Officer Kohat Sohaib Ashraf (right) while inaugurating a new building in Kohat to house police assistance lines and a police access service in November 2016. [Kohat Police]

PESHAWAR -- Pakistan's newly elected government has tasked Nasir Khan Durrani, the former inspector general of police (IGP) for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), with reforming the police in Punjab Province by emulating the reforms he instituted in the KP Police.

In his maiden address to the nation on August 19, Prime Minister Imran Khan lauded the KP Police as the best civilian force in Pakistan -- one that is able to fight terrorism and crime while maintaining a positive image among the public. He also announced his intention to reform the Punjab Police.

Durrani will assist the government in a special capacity to reform the Punjab Police, said Khan, who has retained the Interior Ministry portfolio rather than appoint an interior minister.

"I have been asked to introduce reforms in the Punjab Police like those that we introduced in KP during my tenure," said Durrani, who served as KP's IGP from September 2013 until March 2017.

Durrani's legacy of accomplishments in KP included a province-wide counter-terrorism strategy.

"I will chair the [Punjab] Police Reform Commission," he told Pakistan Forward, adding that he will not take a salary for this task.

Durrani met with Khan September 1 before formally kicking off the process to introduce reforms and improve police relations with the public.

He said he would introduce Dispute Resolution Councils in Punjab, as well as police assistance lines, a police access service (which receives complaints by civilians about police behaviour), modern reporting rooms, female desks and many other reforms that he ushered in during his time in KP.

Depoliticising the police force

Muhammad Tahir, Punjab's IGP, who also served as IGP in KP from mid-June until September 10, welcomed the impending reforms.

"Apart from the Dispute Resolution Councils, other reforms adopted in the KP Police are coming to the Punjab Police in the coming months," Tahir told Pakistan Forward.

Punjab will depoliticise the police force and introduce the necessary reforms recommended by Durrani, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said August 25.

Buzdar met twice with Durrani and Tahir in the first half of September to discuss the reforms.

"Thousands of [civilians] are being helped by the police access service, police assistance lines, model reporting rooms, female desk and online complaint facilities across the [KP] province," Capital City Police Officer Peshawar Qazi Jamil ur Rehman told Pakistan Forward.

The Elite Force, Special Combat Unit and the Counter Terrorism Department have helped restore peace in KP, he said.

"The image of the [police] force has improved greatly over the last few years, mainly because of important reforms," Rehman said.

Increasing police capacity

Observers give credit to the KP Police for introducing more reforms in recent years than any other province's force did.

"To increase the capacity of the police force and improve its training, [KP Police] set up specialised schools for handling explosives, intelligence collection, conducting investigations, better use of information technology, traffic and public disorder management," said Tariq Waheed, bureau chief of Hum News TV in Peshawar.

"Every month, Dispute Resolution Councils in all [KP] districts are settling hundreds of cases to prevent blood feuds and police cases," he told Pakistan Forward.

"To improve the fight against terrorism, [the KP Police] reformed its Counter Terrorism Department and Elite Force and trained a specialised Special Combat Unit," he said, adding that the KP Police introduced the latest technology to track criminals and terrorists.

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