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Category — southern Punjab

Pak Punjab Police see marginalisation in new draft law

by Intikhab Hanif in Dawn, September 20th, 2017
LAHORE: A new law replacing the Musharraf era Police Order 2002 prepared by the provincial home department for Punjab police has been rejected by the latter on the ground that it did not represent them, was an attempt to marginalise them and to hoodwink the high court hearing a petition on the issue.

The government officials in Civil Secretariat said on Tuesday there was no attempt to place police under civil bureaucracy. The draft act had been designed mainly to adapt the Police Order 2002 in its original shape in the light of decisions taken jointly by civil officers and police authorities at a meeting chaired by Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan sometime ago.

The major changes in it are the deletion of so many clauses of the Police Order 2002 pertaining to the federal government functions and policing in Islamabad included in the law introduced by Musharraf as chief executive for the entire country.

“Since we are now making a provincial law, we are deleting everything that is not related to us,” a senior official said.

He said under the new law the IGP would continue to enjoy financial and administrative autonomy and the status of an ex-officio secretary of the provincial government.

“The draft has been sent to the chief minister for a formal approval of the intentions to introduce it. After this [approval] the draft would be vetted by the law department threadbare and sent to the cabinet for approval for submission to the assembly,” an official of the law department said.

A senior police official said his department would fight against the draft at all forums. “The law pertains to the police department but has been made by someone else which is strange and illegal. It is the prerogative of all government departments to make laws for themselves on their own,” he said.

Officials in the Civil Secretariat said the draft law was meant to re-establish and regulate the police as a service that could efficiently prevent and detect crime and maintain public order, protect and assist the people from disorder and offences, act in accordance with law and democratic aspirations of the people, and be accountable to the people.

Police officials said it was an attempt to hoodwink the high court and police. The Lahore High Court had asked for the creation of safety commissions. But the bureaucracy was making a new law that would bring police under their control, a senior police official said.

The Police Order 2002 was a perfect document. There was a mere need to implement it in toto particularly allowing the IGP to appoint RPOs and DPOs and freeing the police department from political or administrative interventions. “There was no need for any new law. We merely need independence from political interference,” he said.

A copy of the draft law obtained by Dawn says every general police will have the following branches: General executive, legal, telecommunication, transport, sergeant, forensic, constabulary, traffic, training and criminal record.

There is no mention of the CTD, Special Branch or other existing police departments.

It says the superintendence of police throughout general police area shall vest in the “government”. The power of superintendence shall be so exercised as to ensure that police performs its duties efficiently and strictly in accordance with law.

The draft law changes the nomenclature of the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) of Lahore to Chief Metropolitan Police Officer (CMPO). It says it is the government which will appoint the CMPO and all DPOs in consultation with the Provincial Police Officer (IGP) “provided that consultation with the PPO shall not be required in the case of appointment of the CMPO where the District of Lahore has been declared to be a separate general police area.”

Police officials say this would mean creating an independent police department in Lahore within the provincial police department. As to how Lahore could be taken out of the command of the provincial police chief, they argue.

The law does not mention the Regional Police Officers who act between the IGP and the DPOs as per the Police Order 2002 meaning thereby that the IGP would directly deal with the DPOs.

Police officials also declare it impractical.

The law also changes the nomenclature of the investigation police to detective officers and officials.https://www.dawn.com/news/1358808/police-see-marginalisation-in-new-draft-law

September 21, 2017   No Comments

AGP report: Punjab accounts show irregularities at Rs 36bn

By Rana Yasif in the Express Tribune, September 15, 2017
LAHORE: The Auditor General of Pakistan has unearthed irregularities totalling over Rs36.94 billion in the accounts of the Government of the Punjab during the financial year 2015-16.

The AGP report, available with The Express Tribune, points out Rs.20.64 billion worth of reported cases of fraud, embezzlement, and theft, misuse of public resources amounting to Rs.1.04 billion, losses due to the weaknesses of internal controls to the tune of Rs1.82 billion, recoveries and overpayments representing cases of established overpayments or misappropriations of public money of Rs4.11 billion, losses due to non-production of records valued at Rs7.81 billion, and other cases such as accidents and negligence amounting to Rs1.52 billion.

Other tabulations in the AGP report show unsound asset management causing losses of Rs414.21 million, weak financial management hitting the exchequer for Rs11.92 billion, weak internal control relating to financial management causing Rs23.5 billion in losses, and ‘others’ being responsible for Rs1.11 billion in losses.

The key audit findings of the report included misappropriation of funds amounting to Rs1.04 billion, noticed in nine cases, recoveries pointed out in various sections amounting to Rs3.12 billion, unauthorised payments of Rs547.05 million, noticed in four cases, non-production of record amounting to Rs7.811 billion, noticed in 10 cases, 13 cases of irregular expenditure and violation of rules amounting to Rs1.12 billion, lack of internal controls noticed in twelve cases amounting to Rs1.55 billion, five cases pertaining to nonproduction of assets amounting to Rs405.45million, and one case of non-adjustment of advances causing losses of Rs122.84 million.

The AGP reports also found disregard towards prescribed frameworks, inappropriate use of funds, poor record management, lack of transparency in procurements, and mismanagement of receipts in different departments of the Government of the Punjab.

Agriculture

The AGP’s report showed that during the audit of various formations of the agriculture department, records were not produced, nor was the vouched amount of Rs276.27 million provided for audit scrutiny.

Finance department

The AGP’s report showed that during the audit of the finance department for 2014-15, the auditable record of vouched accounts, financial statements, record related to commitment charges, sanctions authority letters and others amounting to Rs43.917 billion were not produced for audit. It also showed that during the audit for the year 2014-15, it was observed that the department provided loans to various companies at a uniform interest rate of 0.25 per cent per annum and repayment within five years along with a two-year grace period without executing any agreements between the government and the companies. The AGP was of the view that the grant of loans without executing agreements could result in complications in the payback of these loans.

Food Department

The AGP’s report showed that during the audit of the food department, it was observed that various contracts were awarded for the procurement of various items such as jute bags, PP bags and AP tablets amounting to Rs7.11 billion. The audit, however, did not find any proof that, at the time of evaluation of technical proposals, specifications of materials to be procured were tested by recognised government laboratories.

Health

During the audit of the health department, it was observed that medical, surgical, and chemical items amounting to Rs2.02 billion were produced in violation of PPRA rules. The audit was of the view that weak supervisory and financial controls resulted in the stated two-plus billion rupees in irregular expenditure.

Higher education department

During the audit of the higher education department (HED), auditable records of Rs3.95 billion were not produced to audit and the AGP was of the view that due to non-production of these documents, it could not ascertain the authenticity of HED’s accounts.

The AGP report further disclosed that an amount of Rs3.996 billion was invested in different banks without fulfilling prevailing conditions. The audit was of the view that non-observance of rules and weak administrative controls resulted in unauthorised investments.

Home department

During the audit of the home department, the auditable record and the vouched account of the releases and payments amounting to Rs2.07 billion made to various organisations and personnel were not produced for scrutiny. The AGP was of the view that due to non-production of these records, audit could not ascertain the authenticity of the accounts.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1506723/agp-report-punjab-accounts-show-irregularities-rs36b/

 

September 15, 2017   No Comments

Police and power: Editorial in Dawn, December 31st, 2016

THE tussle for control over some crucial police functions in Punjab is at its height. On Thursday, police officers en masse dismissed the proposed Punjab Civil Administration Ordinance and, in a last-ditch effort to thwart the move, declared they were ready to fight it in a court of law. At the same time, a team of Punjab officials readied the bill for a nod by the cabinet the following day. The draft bill was critcised for generously granting the deputy commissioner and other district administrative officers the final word in matters related to law and order. This upset police officers who not only defended their right to take decisions in moments such as during a law and order emergency, but also spoke in favour of the elected local governments. Another major objection to the new law is that it will run contrary to the principles set in the Police Order 2002. Thursday’s desperate attempt by serving police officers was backed by a strong statement from a number of retired inspectors general of police. The IGs called on the chief minister — and his cabinet — to not approve a new law that they say will lead to conflict between a section of police and bureaucracy.

On Friday, the cabinet did approve the bill but, obviously under pressure from the police, left certain grey areas. The crucial question about who will call the shots about law and order was apparently dealt with in the provision of a collective comprising police officers, other district administrative officials and elected representatives at the local level. This core group may decide what action is required and when — again an arrangement which will be contested. For instance, if such a council is to discuss action on how to contain an unruly crowd, or worse, a mob with ‘deadly’ ambition, whose definition and decision will prevail in case there is a disagreement within the council? An individual with unbridled power — with whatever title and from whichever department — would be a recipe for trouble. There has to be counterbalance and oversight, and an institutional answer to the issue. This inevitably brings us to options discussed previously, such as a safety commission consisting of bureaucrats and citizens which was provided for earlier and tried half-heartedly. What we ought to do is to find a way to ensure that the oversight forum is not filled with cronies and allies of the very police officials they are supposed to hold accountable. http://www.dawn.com/news/1305440/police-and-power

January 4, 2017   No Comments

Four ‘TTP militants’ shot dead in Karachi; army-run schools closed: report in Daily Times, Jan 28, 2016

KARACHI: Police claimed to have killed four suspected militants in an alleged encounter near Safoora Goth on Wednesday evening.

SSP Malir Rao Anwar told media that police conducted a raid in Safoora Goth area after receiving a tip-off about the presence of suspected militants. During the raid, the law enforcers allegedly came under attack and in an ensuing encounter four suspects were killed, he added.

Anwar claimed that the deceased men belonged to the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Three suspects were identified as Amirullah Mehsud, Khan Wali alias Khanewal and Khoni Khel.

Meanwhile, Sindh Rangers claimed to have arrested three suspects allegedly involved in target killings and other crimes.

According to Rangers spokesperson, the paramilitary force arrested Danish from Ramswami area who reportedly confessed his involvement in at least four murders.

A suspect Aslam alias Munna was taken into custody from Landhi area who, according to Rangers, admitted his involvement in several murders as a member of the target-killing team of a militant organisation.

The third suspect, named Ahsan, was arrested from Usmanabad. He is member of a militant organisation who reportedly confessed to his involvement in various murders, collecting extortion and a number of other crimes.

Meanwhile, all army-run educational institutes in the metropolis were closed until Monday over ‘security situation’. Students and parents were informed that all institutes under the Army Public Schools & Colleges System in Karachi will remain closed on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and will reopen after the weekend on Monday, officials said.

According to the school officials, the step has been taken because all army-run schools across the country followed a combined syllabus and the school closure will ‘enable synchronisation of studies across all schools’. However, security sources said the announcement was made in light of the security concerns for schools.

In wake of the Bacha Khan University attack, security in schools across the country has been beefed up while mock security exercises were carried out in many others in the past week. Bacha Khan university, which briefly opened on Monday after a terrorist assault that claimed 21 lives, was closed for an indefinite period due to security reasons.

Earlier on Monday, the Punjab government announced closure of all public and private schools in the province from Jan 26 to 31, citing ‘extremely cold weather’ as the reason.

Punjab government’s last-minute order also spilled over into Islamabad, where a number of private schools remained shut on Tuesday, while others sent students home and closed early. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/sindh/28-Jan-2016/four-ttp-militants-shot-dead-in-karachi-army-run-schools-closed

January 28, 2016   No Comments

Over 9,000 ‘hate preachers’ arrested under NAP

By Zahid Gishkori in The Express Tribune, Oct 23, 2015.
ISLAMABAD: Some 9,400 firebrand speakers and clerics have been arrested on charges of fanning the flames of sectarian hate as the government stepped up efforts to curb strife as part of the National Action Plan (NAP).

“All of them were found involved in fuelling sectarianism in the name of religion,” an official tasked with monitoring the progress of the action plan told The Express Tribune.

Law enforcement agencies have registered 9,689 cases against ‘hate preachers’ under the law that has banned hate speeches and misuse of loudspeakers.

Police have also arrested 9,354 religious leaders and clerics under the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Pakistan Penal Code.

Moreover, the home departments of all the provinces have barred 1,345 firebrand speakers belonging to different schools of thought from making speeches on Muharram 8, 9 and 10.

There is zero tolerance for hate speech in Pakistan, even if you are a cleric!

Around 6,504 cases against religious leaders have been registered in Punjab, 1,647 in Sindh, 1,286 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and 47 in Balochistan, reveals NAP’s progress report.

Meanwhile, 94 cases have been registered in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 91 in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and 20 in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).

Law enforcers have arrested 6,943 clerics in Punjab, 1,383 in K-P, 775 in Sindh, 38 in Balochistan, 122 in ICT, 53 in AJK and 40 in G-B.

Seventy-one shops or other sites involved in spreading hate literature in Punjab, Balochistan, AJK and G-B were also sealed.

Law enforcement personnel have also confiscated 2,129 materials from mosques and seminaries that were being used to incite hardliners to attack minority groups.

“We are serious about getting rid of all elements breeding extremism in our society,” said Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Muhammad Yousuf.

Reacting to the ongoing crackdown, clerics have said the LEAs should not measure all religious teachers or scholars with the same yardstick.

Thousands of clerics have been imprisoned or are facing trial, said Abdul Quddus, spokesman for the Wifaqul Madaris (education board for seminaries). “All religious teachers are not terrorists.”

He urged the government to “consider us true representatives of this poor society”. He also claimed: “We, for sure, are the true guardians of this state.”

Yousaf said representatives of all schools of thought were cooperating with the government. “We believe we can win the war against extremism only if the clerics stand by us. And yes, religious leaders of all sects are supporting us.”

Senior Jamaat-e-Islami leader Prof Muhammad Ibrahim Khan also criticised the government for the crackdown. “Ulema’s arrest is not the solution to curbing extremism. Such arrests under NAP are meaningless because the action plan itself has several loopholes.” The detained religious teachers should be provided the right to defend themselves, he added.http://tribune.com.pk/story/977902/sectarian-strife-over-9000-hate-preachers-arrested-under-nap/

October 23, 2015   No Comments

Extremism in southern Punjab: edit in The News, May 17

More disturbing evidence that the Taliban have established a foothold in certain parts of southern Punjab has come to light following the lodging of an FIR in Jhang against a former district head of the banned Jaish-e-Muhammad. This is the first-ever FIR of its nature in Punjab and reflects a belated but welcome official admission of a serious problem that can no longer be wished away. The FIR, lodged under the Anti-Terrorist Act, suggests that the town, long a hotbed of sectarianism and home to banned outfits such as the Sipah-e-Sahaba, is now a major recruitment ground for the ‘Punjabi Taliban’ fighting in the north and a stepping stone for the group to spread its influence in other districts further to the south and east. Dr Imran, the man named in the FIR, is accused of running the network of the Tehrik-e-Taliban in the area, launching fund-raising drives and sheltering wanted Taliban leaders. Parts of southern Punjab certainly are a fertile breeding ground for militancy. There is a thriving network of religious seminaries dotted across the region and a history of fierce sectarian strife. The area is also extremely backward economically and poverty is widespread.

 To make things worse, the provincial government has been accused of turning a blind eye to the growing militancy in the area and sometimes even fanning extremist sentiments for political gain. Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah was recently embroiled in a controversy for seeking the support of a banned sectarian outfit during a by-election campaign and of letting off suspected terrorists under pressure. It is time for the provincial authorities to snap out of their collective state of denial and act before it is too late. The utmost vigilance is necessary and an effective intelligence network must be activated to keep tabs on a growing menace that can spread to those parts of the country relatively unscathed by the scourge of extremism. Equally important is to stem the flow of funds and men from the area to the battle zones in the north. With the army heavily deployed in anti-terrorist activities in FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, it would be unrealistic to expect it to open up another front and launch a full-scale anti-militant operation in the area. It is therefore all the more important that the civilian authorities keep a vigilant eye on elements out to exploit the backwardness of the area to recruit young men to fight for their misguided cause. http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=239853

May 17, 2010   No Comments

Pak army facing threat from Punjabi, al-Qaida and Taliban militants

By Declan Walsh in The Guardian
Islamabad: Pakistan’s army made a stark admission today of the scale of the threat it faces from a nexus of Punjabi, al-Qaida and Taliban militants whose attacks are increasingly coordinated, include soldiers in their ranks and span the country.
The unusually frank assessment, made after the audacious assault on the military’s headquarters this weekend, came as a Taliban suicide bomber struck an army convoy as it passed through a crowded marketplace in a small mountain town near the Swat valley, killing 41 people and wounding 45.
It was the fourth militant atrocity to hit Pakistan in eight days of bloodshed that have killed more than 120 people. One television channel reported that the bomber in Shangla district in North West Frontier province was a 13-year-old boy.
Meanwhile a Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the 22-hour gun battle and siege at the army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi, which ended on Sunday morning when commandos freed 39 hostages. Eleven soldiers, three civilians and nine militants died.
“This was our first small effort and a present to the Pakistani and American governments,” a Taliban spokesman, Azam Tariq, told the Associated Press.
Addressing journalists a few hundred metres from the scene of the gunfight, an army spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, described how the 10 attackers came from two different sets of backgrounds. Five of them came from Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous and wealthy province, he said, while the other five were from South Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold at the southern end of the tribal belt, along the Afghan border.
Abbas said the attackers were led by a Punjabi militant named Aqeel, also known as Dr Usman, but the operation was ordained by a Taliban commander based in South Waziristan. Citing an intercepted telephone call, Abbas said commander Wali-ur-Rehman urged followers to “pray” for the attacks after the assault began on Saturday morning.
Abbas said the militants intended to take senior army officers hostage and use them to negotiate the release of more than 100 militants. Other demands included an end to military cooperation with the US and for the former president, General Pervez Musharraf, to be put on trial.
Aqeel, the only surviving attacker, was being treated for serious injuries, Abbas said. He confirmed that the militant was a former army medical corps soldier from Kahuta, a town in the army’s Punjabi recruitment heartland that is home to a major nuclear weapons facility.
Aqeel deserted the army in 2004, he said, and joined Jaish-e-Muhammad, a notorious militant group that in recent years has spawned splinter groups which have become allied to al-Qaida.
The militant attacks come as 28,000 army soldiers prepare to launch an assault on South Waziristan, where an estimated 10,000 fighters are holed up. Yesterday army jets hit Taliban targets in the area for the second day running, in preparation for an offensive the interior minister, Rehman Malik, said was “imminent”.
The army’s admission of ever stronger links between the Taliban, al-Qaida and Punjab-based militant groups was rare public confirmation of a trend analysts have observed for years. “We’ve seen this troika nexus in many major terrorist attacks – on the Marriott in Islamabad, on the navy headquarters in Lahore, and on the FIA [Federal Investigation Agency],” said Amir Rana, a terrorism analyst.
In some instances, Rana said, al-Qaida provided the financing, the Taliban logistics and training support, and Punjabi militants executed the operation.
The growing importance of the Punjabi factor in local and international militancy has placed the army under pressure to extend its crackdown beyond the tribal belt. At the weekend a spokesman for the North West Frontier province government said that even if a South Waziristan offensive succeeded, militants could still get help from Punjab.
Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving gunman from last November’s Mumbai massacre, comes from a small village in southern Punjab. Jaish-e-Muhammad operates a giant madrasa on the edge of Bahawalpur, a dusty city in southern Punjab notorious for its hardline madrasas.
The army rejected suggestions that a military operation would solve the problem. “Yes there are terrorists in southern Punjab, and these groups have links to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan,” said Abbas. “But it’s a very different environment. It’s well developed, it has a communications infrastructure and a huge security force presence. It’s very different from what was Swat, and what [we see] in South Waziristan.”
In Lahore, a court freed Hafiz Saeed, a prominent extremist cleric whom India accuses of playing a major part in the Mumbai attacks. A prosecutor said the extremist charity he heads, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, had not been officially banned.
The turmoil spooked investors on Pakistan’s main stock market, which tumbled 1.3 per cent. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/12/pakistan-army-taliban-militancy-threat

October 13, 2009   No Comments

GHQ raid highlights Punjab risk: analysts

LONDON: The attack on the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi has highlighted not only the threat from the Taliban in the Tribal Areas bordering Afghanistan, but also from those based in Punjab.

Security officials said some of the militants involved in the attack on the GHQ appeared to have links to Punjab. “South Punjab has become the hub of jihadism,” analyst Ayesha Siddiqa wrote in a magazine article last month. “Yet, somehow, there are still many people in Pakistan who refuse to acknowledge this threat,” she wrote.

Security officials said a militant arrested after the attack and hostage-taking at the GHQ was believed be a member of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Some hostage takers’ phone calls were intercepted and they were speaking Punjabi, another security official said. However, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said it is too early to say whether Punjab-based groups were involved.

Separate danger: NWFP Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain called on Saturday for the elimination of militant bases in Punjab as well as South Waziristan. But targeting all of the country’s militants at once could create an even more dangerous coalition by driving disparate groups closer together, analysts say. The army also draws many of its recruits from Punjab, making any efforts to root out militants there all the harder.

“Deploying the military is not an option. In the Punjab this will create a division within the powerful army because of regional loyalty,” wrote Siddiqa. But the police force in the province is inadequate and unlikely to be able to take on the thousands of armed men belonging to different militant groups. Complicating the picture further are pressures from both the US and India, which want Pakistan to target the groups directly in conflict with them.

Pakistan has focused largely on acting against groups representing a direct domestic threat, leading some analysts to suggest it may want to retain groups like the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba to be used as “strategic assets” against India. But defence analyst Brian Cloughley said the attack on the army’s headquarters showed how little support militants had in the military and the Inter-Services Intelligence. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\10\12\story_12-10-2009_pg7_8

October 12, 2009   No Comments

NWFP for army action in southern Punjab: The Dawn, Oct 12

PESHAWAR, Oct 10: The NWFP government has called for an early “Swat-like” military operation in South Waziristan and southern Punjab, where it believes “terrorists are trained and sent to other parts of the country”.
The provincial information minister said at a press conference on Saturday that the bomb blast in Peshawar the previous day was aimed at forcing the government to call off the South Waziristan operation.
“How can we stop terrorist activities in settled areas when the supply chain is intact,” Mr Iftikhar Hussain wondered.
“Elimination of terrorists requires dismantling their organised networks in Waziristan and southern Punjab.”
He said that after the Peshawar bomb blast and the terror attack on the GHQ on Saturday the time had come for a decisive action against militants.
Asked if the Peshawar bomb blast was a riposte to the suicide attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, the minister said “this factor cannot be ruled out”. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/nwfp-for-army-action-in-southern-punjab-109

October 12, 2009   No Comments