Bribing the law: In K-P, police corruption shows worrying trend

police corruption in Khyber PakhtunkhwaPESHAWAR: The level of corruption in police departments is evident by studying the number of officers charged for corruption in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) in 2011 which do not include the number of complaints filed against the police or cases which could not be pursued.

Talking to The Media, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Inquiry and Inspection Sultan Haneef Orakzai stated that in 2011, 219 corruption cases were registered against police officers which resulted in penalties for 105 officials.“Corruption is not just limited to K-P, but is endemic to the entire country.” Low-ranking police officials are found to be the primary culprits in a large number of cases . In 2010, 237 officers faced corruption charges. A total of 166 corruption cases were reported in Peshawar in 2010, Orakzai said 22 in Mardan, 14 in Hazara, 12 in Bannu, 10 in Kohat, eight in Malakand and five in Dera Ismail Khan.

In January, a news item appeared in both electronic and print media about a police constable who allegedly shot down an Afghan driver on Ring Road for giving Rs80 as bribe instead of the Rs100 he had demanded.The incident triggered protests by truck drivers and shortly after, Superintendant Police Cantt Dr Mian Saeed Ahmed announced that police officers deployed on Ring Road would be reshuffled. However, there has been no further progress.Most people interviewed in K-P believe that law enforcement is the government’s most corrupt sector which has resulted in an increase in criminal activities in the region.

There have been several reported cases where criminals have escaped from police custody while smugglers’ businesses are flourishing. According to a local source who wished not to be named, the rise in smuggling is due to the fact that some police officers are working with those they are supposed to work against.“In localities where crime rates are high, police officials often earn money illegally from pay-offs by criminals,” said a police officer who requested that his name be withheld.

Though it is still unknown how widespread the practice is, Orakzai stated that efforts are being made to root out corruption. “Corruption can be curbed by increasing the salaries and privileges of low-ranking officials.” He maintained that corrupt officials should be awarded exemplary punishment to serve as an example to others. If anyone wishes to lodge a complaint, they can call on 091-9223414 and 091-9212617. – Thetirbune