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Police Officers To Submit Affidavit To Prove No Torture Cells Active In Their Jurisdiction: Gill

LAHORE: Punjab chief minister’s spokesperson Dr Shahbaz Gill said on Wednesday that Chief Minister (CM) Usman Buzdar had ordered all deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) and district police officers (DPOs) in the province to submit an affidavit stating that there was no torture cell within the limits of their respective stations.

The order comes at a time when several cases of suspects being tortured to death by Punjab police during custody were circulated in the media.

While addressing a press conference, Gill said that the provincial government was taking immediate steps to deal with the situation at hand. He said that if any proof of torture was found after the submission of the affidavit, a first information report (FIR) would be registered against the DSPs and DPOs instead of filing cases against police officers and sub-inspectors which has been the general practice.

Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Captain (r) Arif Nawaz Khan had announced that FIRs would be registered against the respective DPO, DSP and station house officer (SHO) concerned if a suspect died in custody due to torture. The SHO involved in such incidents would be blacklisted for posting at any police station.

Further, Gill said that CM Buzdar had suggested forming an independent board which would be developed soon. The board would include media persons, school teachers and people from other walks of life, he added.

He also said that the board would independently investigate every incident of police torture and would later submit their findings to the authorities concerned. “Fixing the police is not an easy job,” he added during the presser.

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Gill also said that it took the government two-and-a-half years to improve the police system in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the same would take time in Punjab, while adding that the government would not backtrack on its promise.

He said that the Punjab government was taking all necessary steps to change the way the police interacted with the general public. An official would be appointed inside police stations whose sole job would be to enhance personal relations between the police and the public, he added.

Moreover, Gill said that a complaint box would be installed near police stations which would be opened once a month by the RPO and DPO. Police stations would be given a rating on the basis of complaints received by the public, he added.

During the presser, the Punjab government spokesperson said that Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan had delivered a positive message to government institutions of Punjab, especially the police, by thanking them for keeping the law and order situation under control during Muharram.

“The premier made it very clear in his message that the duty of the police is to serve the people,” Gill said. Police should not be torturing people or run private torture cells, he added.

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