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Inside Story Of The Cabinet Subcommittee Meeting On Punjab Police Reforms

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan was on Monday conveyed the concerns of the police department over the proposed Punjab police reforms during cabinet subcommittee meeting, attended by three high-ranking Punjab police officials representing Inspector General of Police (IGP), Punjab.

According to details, PM Imran Khan was told by the representatives of Punjab IGP that the police department did not want to be made answerable to the Home department, as was the case before 2002 Police Order.

During the meeting, PM Khan told the police representatives that the reforms were not targeted at undermining any group and there was no intention to be a party to the tussle between various groups within the bureaucracy. He told that his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, had promised police reforms in their manifesto and that he was under a lot of pressure from the media and the public to go ahead with the promised changes.

Khan reminded the police officials of the kind of reports that have surfaced during the last few months, including the Kasur child rape case, Salahuddin Ayyubi custodial murder case, and, not to forget, the Sahiwal tragedy, the investigation of which is yet to be concluded.

While acknowledging the reservations of the police department, the prime minister explained that the cabinet respected the operational autonomy of the police department but external accountability mechanisms were vital in order to maintain the quality of service provided to the masses.

On the question of making police department answerable to the Home department or Deputy Commissioner, the Cabinet subcommittee provided assurance to the representatives that no action had been ordered by the Prime Minister, and that the Police force would remain outside the Civil Administration Act. It was further clarified that the Deputy Commissioners would not be given this power under Section 22A/B.

The police representatives were given assurance that no PAS (formerly DMG) officer would head the inspectorate and the idea would be to provide external accountability. The government is setting up a board in the Civil Administration Act for this purpose.

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PM Khan, according to sources, sought the comments from Punjab IG on the issue within one week, emphasising the need to expedite the process of reforms.

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