CHITRAL, May 12: Police motto is to serve and protect the citizens but most often than not our police itself become a sign of inconvenience for the citizens.
Incidents of police highhandedness and human rights violations are common in big cities where armed with the new mandate to deal with terrorism they have started crossing their limits and disregarding basic rights of the citizens guaranteed under the law.
The new phenomenon of police taking the law into their own hands and interpreting it as they wished has also reached Chitral. One such experience this correspondent came across was early on Monday when the police were checking commuters at the Bakrabad picket near Chitral town.
Upon inquiry, it transpired that along with frisking the passengers and checking documents of drivers, the policemen were also insisting on the drivers to produce their driving licences. And those who either did not possess driving licences or carried expired ones, they were made into a ‘deal’ before being allowed to drive off.
This correspondent also saw a law-abiding citizen, who is also the head of a private organization, reaching the picket in his official vehicle and stopped by the police. The citizen produced his driving licence and showed it to the policemen but the latter due to unknown reasons declared it ‘expired’ though the expiry year on the licence was clearly mentioned as 2016. The policeman told the driver that he did not accept the licence and would issue him ticket for rush driving. He then asked the driver to pull along the roadside. In the meantime, another motorist complained that there was still two years for the expiry of his driving licence but the police were not accepting it. But during this drama, it was also observed that underage drivers who surely had no licences drove off the pickets without the police even bothering to stop them.
When the driver who had been stopped warned the policemen that he would go to the district police officer (DPO) and show the driving licence to him, the policemen let him go but with a warning to be ‘careful’ in future.
Many people on the occasion said the DPO should take notice of the matter and rein in on his force because such highhandedness not only brought a bad name to the department but would also lead to erosion of public confidence on the police.–K.A. Jamil