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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Escaped


  • Escaped

    When the police cannot be trusted, people are reluctant to report crimes, leading to a vicious cycle where criminals and murderers can operate with impunity. DESIGN: SAMRA AAMIR
    A recent incident at Civil Hospital Karachi, where two armed men helped a convicted murderer escape from police custody, highlights for the umpteenth time the incompetence of the police. According to news reports, the four policemen on the scene were caught off guard and could do nothing to prevent the escape. They apparently also took the convict outside the hospital and were virtual sitting ducks as the accomplices started firing on them. For allowing this to happen, the policemen should be suspended immediately and an investigation started to determine how the incident took place.
    If this incident was an outlier which wasn’t indicative of the police’s general performance, it wouldn’t be quite so worrying. But it has simply become routine for murderers to escape police custody in suspicious circumstances. Gangster Rehman Dakait was able to do so multiple times before he was finally killed in a police shoot-out and it was obvious he used his power and connections to do so. In 2007, terrorist Rashid Rauf was able to escape from police custody in Islamabad despite the fact that his notoriety as a plotter to blow up transatlantic planes should have guaranteed that he be kept secure. More recently, we saw in Lahore how the police were unable to stop an enraged mob form burning down houses of Christians.
    Many have noted that police personnel simply have no incentive to risk their lives, given how low their pay is. While it is true that we should be paying our policemen more, it is essential that all police personnel who are derelict in their duty be disciplined for their infractions. This needs to start all the way from the bottom, including cops who stop cars simply to earn bribes and move to the top, where police chiefs need to be held accountable for the performance of their departments. When the police cannot be trusted, people are reluctant to report crimes, leading to a vicious cycle where criminals and murderers can operate with impunity.

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