The Lawless Law-enforcers
On 3rd May 2014, a resolution was passed against the extra judicial killings of MQM workers. MQM’s provincial assembly’s parliamentary leader, Syed Sardar Ahmed, while submitting the resolution, said,
“……. Savagism with regards to the treatment of the workers of MQM in the form of brutal mental and physical torture was a true manifest of barbarianism. It reminds the brutality of Hulaku Khan and Gengis Khan and such acts are an insult to humanity.”
Dwelling further on Ahmed’s point of view, Khwaja Izhar Ul Hasan opined that it seems as if MQM is being punished for the support it extended to the Law-Enforcement agencies and the ongoing operation in Karachi.
It should be noted here that the resolution was passed unanimously by the house, which is very surprising because the resolution was presented by MQM against the brutal torture on its workers allegedly by the law-enforcement agencies (LEAs). Perhaps the wretched, burnt and drilled bodies of the 4 MQM workers arose some empathy in everyone’s hearts. The question then, that arises after this, is that if the provincial assembly, which is the most powerful institution of the province according to the constitution, unanimously passed the resolution against such treatment of detainees or prisoners then what is stopping the Chief Minister of Sindh and Home Ministry from putting a stop to such activities in the ranks of the LEAs. The answer to that is not pretty simple.
First of all, the ruling party In Sindh, Pakistan People’s Party, has a history of using the state’s law-enforcement agencies to subdue its political rivals and further its political agendas every now and then. PPP may have passed the resolution in the Sindh Assembly to play Good Samaritan in the eyes of media and general public but the statements and actions of Qaim Ali Shah, Sharjeel Memon, Khursheed Shah and many other PPP leaders do not reflect the spirit with which they supported the resolution. After all, political agendas have always taken a toll on human rights.
Secondly, Pakistan is already a signatory of Geneva Conventions’ Protocols and United Nations’ Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. On top of that the current resolution passed by the Sindh Assembly certainly implies that Pakistan and particularly Sindh is against the torture of any kind on the persons under government’s arrest. Then who is more powerful than the constitutional provincial government (ultimately to whom LEAs report to)? This raises many other questions and prime one among all those is that some LEAs are more powerful than the provincial government and they do not even consider bringing the government in the loop on certain sting operations. Which means that all the rhetoric about the democracy getting strong and democracy being the best revenge is purely Utopian and illusionistic, which is ultimately the point being conveyed by the personnel of the LEAs and several intelligence agencies. So in the end, in the absence of real democracy, no matter how many such resolutions are tabled and passed in the assemblies, they will have no value and meaning at all.
Thirdly, the ongoing operation in Karachi is mostly headed by the federally controlled Pakistan Rangers with the support of the Police and other intelligence agencies. The problem that lies here is the prevalent corruption and the lust for money in the ranks of the LEAs. This is because there are very few checks on the field agents and officers of these agencies and there is almost no questioning with regards to the encounter of the people under arrest. The current ongoing operation has been perceived by the LEAs personnel as a money-making opportunity. What they do is that they raid a particular area associated with a political party and arrest a horde of locals regardless of their political, social or criminal background. From here, the money-making game begins. Families of those who have been picked up are contacted and asked to pay a particular sum of money to get their loved one released safe and sound. The amount of the ransom goes up if the individual is associated to a political party or has a minor criminal background. The thicker the involvement in politics or criminal activities, the higher the amount of the bribe. If the family cannot pay the bribe then a fake case is lodged against that individual to prompt the family to arrange the money anyhow. Unless this aspect of the operation is not covered thoroughly, the results will be pretty much inefficient.
LEAs personnel must realize that they are the Law-Enforcers and their job is to make sure that the law and order is maintained in the city. If they themselves will be lawless and will break it to pursue their own vested interests then obviously there is bound to be anarchy and a normal citizen will always consider breaking a law as nothing. Unless the LEAs themselves not start following the law, the situation of law and order in our country will remain the same. Intelligence agencies must accept the supremacy of the parliament and should follow the resolutions passed in the parliaments to work under the parameters of their legal and lawful duties.