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.

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

  1. Qudsia says:

    I don’t think it is just the bureaucrats. Frankly, I think most Paksitanis don’t care about the risks the policemen are taking for us. No one really cares for the poor police guy

  2. Talat says:

    Of all the depressing news, this has depressed me more than anything. We can’t even respect those who are risking their life for us, all we care about is making a buck!

  3. ZAFAR says:

    They should take all these bureaucats who are holding up the process and make them do police duty in Peshawar for a few days… that should give them some gratitude!

  4. HaroON says:

    I think this is just some babus trying to extort bribes out of this situation.

    What a pathetic display. Here these policemen are putting their lives on the line for us and this is how our babus repay them!

  5. Obaid says:

    Don’t these people realize that even a minutes delay can cause some policeman his life!

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