PESHAWAR, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 26th Jan, 2017 ) : The leaders of mainstream political parties here Thursday said police reforms introduced by PTI government would make Khyber Pakthunkhwa into a police state and declared it against spirit of constitution and provincial autonomy granted to the provinces under landmark 18th Constitutional Amendment. They said KP Police Bill 2016 was violation of the Constitution and Provincial Autonomy that was granted to the provinces under the landmark 18th constitutional amendment following a lot of struggle and sacrifices by the democratic forces and termed it an attempt to make KP into a police state.
Rahimdad Khan, Veteran Politician and former President PPP KP told APP that the PTI government under the bill had given unlimited powers to a police officer that may be counterproductive in future. He said Chief Minister was the Chief Executive of the province who is responsible to run the administration and government's affairs and maintaining law and order situation through police and other organs of the government. Following the 18th constitutional amendment, he said, the powers were transferred to the provinces but interestingly the PTI in the said bill had transferred powers to IGP, which had raised serious question on the ability of PTI Government to maintain law and order situation in Khyber Pakthunkhwa.
"With adaptation of the Police Bill 2016, now a police officer posted by the Centre would enjoy unlimited powers instead of the Chief Executive of the province to maintain law and order," he said, adding check and balance was imperative for smooth running of the affairs of the Government and unlimited powers with an individual may counterproductive. Referring to the new amendments made in Khyber Pakthunkhwa Ehtesab Commission (KPEC) Act 2014, the PPP leader said it had totally negated PTI claims of eradication of corruption and across the board accountability in the province, adding the new amendments would make the commission toothless besides encouraging corruption in KP.
Under the new amendments, he said KP Ehtesab Commission would investigate corruption cases up to Rs50 million or above while cases blow this amount would be taken up by the Anti Corruption Establishment. "Exempting corruption cases below Rs 50 million from the jurisdiction of Ehtesab Commission was tantamount to encourage malpractices and corrupt elements in Khyber Pakthunkhwa," he argued. He said sending corruption cases of below Rs 50 million to Anti Corruption Establishment (ACE) was tantamount to blackmail honest officers and contractors as ACE directly comes under the control of provincial government.
"No honest officer or contractor can work independently in such an environment of fear and resultantly development work that is already downward would become standstill in KP," he argued. Sardar Aurangzaib Nalota, PMLN Parlimentary leader in KP Assembly said that interestingly Chief Executive of KP had surrendered his powers to the Centre under the said police bill, raising serious questions on his ability to run affairs of the government besides maintaining law and order in the province.
He said police bill was passed in haste by the PTI and it could have been better for clause wise debate on it and incorruption of opposition suggestions. Nalota said that PTI has the habit of passing the bills in haste and later it become a bitter bill for the party that came on the slogan of change, saying KP Ehtesab Commission law was an ample proof of it. He said the repeated amendments in KP Ehtesab Commission had exposed PTI claims of eradication of corruption in the province.
He said it would have been better for PTI Government to introducing special uplift projects for martyrs/Ghazis of police force and strengthening police institution rather than giving absolute powers to IGP. Nighat Yasmin Orakzai, Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) and leader of PPP while strongly opposing the bill said provincial chief executive has surrendered his powers to a 22 grade police officer, saying entrusting unlimited powers to an individual has reminded us dictatorial regimes and this bill would make the province into a police state.
She said the constitution had given powers to the chief minister KP but he was apparently seeking escape by surrendering his powers to the centre. ANP leader Jaffar Khan MPA also objected to the bill and termed it against the constitution and a big blow to the provincial autonomy. He said instead of strengthening the institution of police a single person was given absolute powers even though this was detrimental to public interest. He said the police force needed service structure, improvement of police stations, training and equipments of police officials.
Habibur Rehman, Minister for Zakat and Religious Affairs defended the bill, saying it was not person-specific as the incumbent IGP would retire in couple of months. He said the bill has empowered the Chief Executive of the Province to start inquires against police officers upon receiving complaints and would depoliticise the police force.