Bureaucratic Delays Puts Lives of NWFP Policemen at Risk

Posted on March 3, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice
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Adil Najam

As we wrote at the end of last year – whilst naming the Pakistani Policeman as ATP’s Pakistan Person of the Year 2009 – “the faces that represent the reality of Pakistan in 2009 more than any other, are the faces of the Pakistani police… All too often in this murderous year, the Pakistani policeman’s life – very literally – was the only thing between a suicide bomber and his would-be victims.”

And yet, it turns out that petty, even callous, bureaucratic delays are now putting the lives of NWFP policemen at real and immediate risk. It turns out that some 3,000 potentially life-saving bullet-proof jackets meant for NWFP policemen are sitting in a warehouse in Islamabad and the naukarshahi officialdom pushes files from one office to another.

In a rightly worded editorial, Dawn explains what is happening, and why this situation is not just a shame but puts at even greater risk the lives of those who are already putting their lives at risk for the rest of us:

The NWFP police force has been among those at the forefront of the battle against militancy. From suicide attacks to bombings of schools to assaults on convoys and check-posts, the men of the Frontier police are either directly targeted or killed and injured as they strive to protect civilians. Estimates put the number of policemen killed in the NWFP between 2004 and 2009 at over 500. More than twice that number are said to have sustained injuries. When all this is considered, the fact that bureaucratic hurdles are preventing more than 3,000 bullet-proof jackets from reaching the NWFP police is condemnable.

The jackets — worth more than $2m and gifted by the US government — have been sitting in a warehouse in Islamabad airport for the last two months. The gear was initially held up because the necessary clearance from the relevant ministries was not obtained. Though the federal interior ministry issued an NOC on Feb 13, the commerce ministry only completed the required paperwork last week. However, it appears that the release of the jackets is now delayed by PIA that wants its warehouse charges paid. PIA, meanwhile, has cited bureaucratic hurdles which indicate that the government is clueless about what to do to get the jackets released. The relevant federal and provincial government departments must speed up their efforts to have the jackets released and delivered. NWFP policemen are targeted on a regular basis, and it is lamentable that the authorities should not be delivering safety gear to them.

10 responses to “Bureaucratic Delays Puts Lives of NWFP Policemen at Risk”

  1. Feisal Khan says:

    Of course Qudsia is right. As a people we are incredibly callous, borderin on cruelty. Decades ago, a white South African friend of mine visited Pakistan (although she was a South African, the family had British passports) with her father. After visiting Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, she told me that no white South African would dare to treat a black the way we treat our servants. And she was of course correct.

    As far as our bureaucrats are concerned, the Tulla on the streets is only one step removed from their naukars. Who cares if they live or die? The essence of North Indian society is that we grovel to those above us and kick those below us. The only way we can demonstrate how mighty we are is by making those below us grovel to us. I’ve seen this type of behavior replicated at all levels and by all people: in the army, civil service and the private sector, in the obsequious way we behave to our family elders and bully those family members younger than us. Obviously there are great number of us who do not behave this way but ask yourselves, which is the norm?

  2. RANA says:

    I am a little surprised why this has not generated more interest, even in comments here or in Pakistan media. Is it just because the jackets ere donated by the US that we dislike them so much that we don’t even care about our on policemen dying!

  3. Khalida says:

    This is shameful. Just plain shameful.

  4. Sadia Hussain says:

    The N.W.F.P police is doing a laudable job in protecting the lives of millions, it is the responsibility of the state to ensure their safety and well-being, it is ironic that the bullet-proof vests are stuck for over two months! The process needs to be geared up so to beef up the security of law-enforcement personals.

  5. pakblend says:

    i dont agree with Qudsia i ont think a normal, common pakistani is so cruel and self centree that he does not care about police man who risk their lives to save ours.. i agree that some of us are selfish but major portion of such persons belong to bureaucrats…..

    i agree with zafar all such idiotic bureaucats who are holding up the process shoul be make to perform police duty for few days… than they’ll only get to know what does a human life mean…

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