Syed Ihtisham Bukhari;
In Pakistani society, the culture of force has always been the necessity of influential elites and rich people. In the past, a limited group of rich and influential people of society as a sign of their power, influence, and to keep innocent public intimidated would hire criminals and use them to fulfil their legal or illegal deeds. Due to the emergence of private security companies the private sectors such as businesses, shops, schools, private offices, and houses have started hiring private security guards to protect their interests. Presently across Pakistan, the trend is drastically changed from hiring criminals and gangsters to hiring official policemen (OPM) as personal security guards. While having influence or acquaintance in the police department the rich and influential can hire legal police force for their illegal activities such as land grabbing. In the current times, not only the rich and influential elites but the land grabbers’ mafia (LGM) by themselves hires government officials from police department in the name of personal security for nothing else but to harass innocent people and to full fill their illegal demands through legal force. Due to rise of uncertainty across the country there are hundreds of privately registered companies in the country that provide security guards to businesses such as banks, shops, private offices, schools, and houses, for their security on monthly pay role and can be hired as many personnel’s as a person or an organization can afford.
The business of private security companies is booming and minting money from public in the name of security regardless of their unprofessional training and substandard services. However, the powers of private security guards are limited and they cannot be used for the purpose of harassment and land grabbing thus useless for influential as well as criminally minded people such as LGM. On the other hand, there are official security guards of the police department provided by the Government of Pakistan to perform security duties of politicians, well-known businessmen, high officials, legislators, religious personalities, social figures as well as a highly influential, rich and privileged class of the society. The procedure of hiring an official policeman as a personal guard is very simple for influential elites and even LGM individuals however, quite complicated and difficult for those people who do not have influence or acquaintance in the office of IGP, CCPO or SP/SSP operations. The influential elites of the society by writing an application to one of the above-mentioned police officers and mentioning a fake threat and agree to pay 10% extra to Government on top of the monthly salary of a OPM can hire as many official security guards as they can afford. Acquiring the services of OPM as a personal guard by unauthorized persons is not only illegal, unfair and unjust with innocent public and the police department itself but also a clear violation of the fundamental rights provided in Article 3 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan which provides that “The State shall ensure the elimination of all forms of exploitation and the gradual fulfillment of the fundamental principle, from each according to his ability, to each according to his work. The official duty of police is to protect the lives and interests of the public and provide them with social security, maintain public order, enforce the law, prevent, detect, and investigate criminal activities not to become enforcers of the LGM and rich influential people to harass and terrorize public and grab their properties for them. Like other cities of the country, the same trend is on its peak in KPK mainly in Peshawar, where the rich, influential, and LGM have also availed the facility provided by the Government of Pakistan through its police department and even some have hired up to five officials and freely roaming in the city and harassing innocent public. For instance, some members of a very prominent LGM group headed by a retired government official and the decedents of a deceased political personality residing in Pawaka, Peshawar, have hired OPM and using them in the same area i.e. Pawaka and University Town, Peshawar, to intimidate innocent people and grab their properties or to force them for payment of extortion. According to Article 24 (1) of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan “No person shall be deprived of his property save in accordance with law” but instead to improve the law and order situation, provide safety and security to the lives and properties of public from criminals and LGM the same police force has become a useful tool for LGM to put undue pressure on the innocent public and grab their lands. Furthermore, the police officers seem to have become silent spectators or have no knowledge of Section-3(1) of the Illegal Dispossession Act 2005 which provides that “Prevention of illegal possession of property, etc. (1) No one shall enter into or upon any property to dispossess, grab, control of occupy it without having any lawful authority to do so with the intention to dispossess, grab, control or occupy the property from owner or occupier of such property”. Moreover, land grabbing is considered a serious crime in Pakistan and also punishable under Section-3 (2) of the same Act which provides that “Whoever contravenes the provisions of the sub-section (1) shall, without prejudice to any punishment to which he may be liable under any other law for the time being in force, be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to ten years and with fine and the victim of the offence shall also be compensated in accordance with the provisions of section-544 of the Criminal Procedure Code. It is necessary to mention here that some members of the same LGM are allegedly affiliated with a banned Jihadi group and spreading terror among the residents of the vicinity. Moreover, a few months back the members of this LGM group had brutally beaten an innocent young orphan with the help of five hired OPM on his refusal to pay the extortion. In addition, this LGM group due to having acquaintance and influence in the police department the innocent citizen even could not register F.I.R against them which is also the violation of Article 10-A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
All in all, official police guards are being misused by the influential elites and land grabbers mafia lawfully for their illegal and unlawful deeds. The main objective of police is to provide safety and security to the lives and properties of the public but instead, due to their high up’s they are harassing the public and grabbing their lands for land grabbers mafia. The police shall become the security guard of the general public and full fill their official duty for what they are paid by the Government. The policemen serving as security guards of unauthorized people should immediately be recalled to their official duties in the best interest of the public. The Government is requested to formulate a policy in this regard to prevent police officials from serving the influential elites and land grabber’s mafia in the future. An investigation should also be conducted in this matter to find out the responsible officers for violating the fundamental rights of the 1973 Constitution of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The Author is a former academician, financial expert and adviser to renowned multinational Companies. He can be reached on [email protected]