LAHORE: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has sought comments from the chief secretary and the additional chief secretary (home) regarding amendments to the Rules of Business 2011 to declare the police as a department and provincial police officer (PPO) as its ex-officio secretary.
The move was being construed as a serious attempt of the Punjab government to end the decades-old rift between the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) and the District Management Group — now known as Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) — for administrative control of the police.
The amendments to the Punjab Government Rules of Business (PGRB) 2011 were proposed by Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) retired Capt Arif Nawaz through a summary sent to the chief minister last month.
Besides amendment to rules, IGP seeks placement of PSCA under police
The IGP had mentioned two demands in the summary: amendments to the Rules of Business and placement of Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) under the police department. A copy of the summary was available with Dawn.
In the first demand, Mr Nawaz recommended to the CM to declare Punjab police a department through an amendment to the first schedule under Rules 2&3 of PGRB 2011, allowing the provincial police officer (PPO) to exercise his administrative and financial powers as ex-officio secretary.
This is the first time that the head of Punjab police took up this issue with the government for curbing bureaucratic control over police and strengthening civilian institutions, an official said.
He said differences between the two groups will continue if duplicate control was not addressed as per the Police Order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of large civil institutions like police.
Under the current arrangement, the home department had listed the police among six wings under its administrative control. The other wings were prisons, general, internal security, judicial and public safety.
The rift between the two sides deepened when the PSP claimed that the Police Order had categorically allowed the PPO to work as ex-officio secretary of the department, the official said, adding that there cannot be two secretaries of the same department. Under the colonial system, the control of local forces was essential, so the home department tried to justify their superintendence for various reasons.
The official said that a notification was also issued allowing the PPO to exercise his powers as ex-officio secretary under the Police Order. However, the amendments to Rules of Business had been deliberately delayed for long to avoid implementation of Police Order 2002 in letter and spirit.
Pointing out legal references in the summary, IGP Nawaz apprised the chief minister that the PPO of Punjab had been declared ex-officio secretary of the provincial government under a notification dated Feb 14, 2004.
“The definition of ‘secretary’ is provided in Section 2(y) of the PGRB 2011 that means the in-charge of a department having its functions in Rule 10 of the ibid Rules,” reads the summary .
Moreover, he said, under Section 2(vii-b) of Police Order 2002, the PPO has been defined as an ex-officio secretary in order to exercise administrative and financial powers of the secretary to ensure modern and transparent policing system in the province. “The Punjab police may be placed as a department by an amendment to the first schedule under Rule 2&3 of PGRB-2011,” he added.
He further said that a new entry of Punjab police as an administrative department may be added after Sr No 30 as Sr No 30A under Schedule-I of PGRB 2011.
“The Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) may be included as autonomous body in the third column of the ibidi Schedule against Punjab Police at Sr No 30A and remove the Punjab Police from Sr No 17 column No 2 of the said Schedule where it is shown as attached department of the Home Department,” the IGP’s summary reads further.
The scope of the PSCA is to change policing in Punjab and enhance the capacity building of police personnel. “This objective has currently been successfully achieved by the PPO/chairman management committee in an efficient manner in sprit of police reforms in Punjab,” said IGP Nawaz.
The police as an administrative department and PSCA in the administrative control of the Punjab police will strengthen the implementation and execution on multidimensional projects, he added.
Chief Minister Usman Buzdar partially endorsed the stance of the IGP and approved one part of the summary related to the placement of PSCA under Punjab police. “The chief minister has seen and desired that the administrative control of the Punjab Safe Cities Authority shall remain intact with the Punjab police,” reads an official letter. The CM further declared that an earlier approval granted for placement of PSCA under the administrative and operational control of the home department stood withdrawn.
About the second part of the summary regarding amendment to the Rules of Business, the letter reads, “The chief minister has further desired the chief secretary and the additional chief secretary (home) may add their views/comments on the proposal.”
He sought comments from the abovementioned officers to take a final decision for major structural changes in the internal security mechanism, which is likely to add pressure to the police to perform better if implemented by the government, the official concluded.