By Haseeb Asif –
This government has seen fit to give us teeth to bite with. After the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO) you will see how miscreants will simply start vanishing
Earlier this month police in Lahore registered a First Investigation Report (FIR) against a nine month old baby for attempted murder. The child stood accused of pelting law enforcement officers with stones and beating them with sticks. The police were defenseless at the time. Armed only with guns and bullets, it found itself outnumbered one to twelve by the baby. Later, when they came back to apprehend the villainous infant, it resisted arrest and absconded on all fours. An alert was put out to mobile units in the district with a description that said, “The suspect is about a foot tall and irresistibly cute. He has not had a change of diapers in two days therefore caution is advised.”
When faced with public derision over the idea that a baby could attempt murder, Sub-Inspector Akalka Andha said, “Most people think we are idiots for trying to catch a newborn. What they don’t realize is that a lot of hardened criminals used to be children in the past; it’s better to catch them at this age while they still have feeders in their hands. It becomes much harder when they grow up and learn how to fire guns.”
Meanwhile, another menace to society was arrested last week in Rahim Yar Khan. The seven year old who was picked up by the police under suspicion of being a peace breaker and a dacoit, confessed to picking his nose and stealing money from his father’s wallet for ice cream. The boy was in tears as the Sessions Court judge granted him bail, repenting his decision to ever enter a life of crime and promising to mend his ways as soon as he finished second grade.
The Station House Officer (SHO) of Sadiqabad, Zehenka Dhula, said of the incident that, “It’s unfortunate how soon people turn to crime these days, but I am confident that with the right guidance and upbringing this young boy will put his thuggish ways to good use and have a prosperous career in the Punjab police.”
The SHO also talked about the so called Thana Culture. “This so called Thana Culture, it doesn’t exist anywhere but in the imaginations of the so called journalists. They say we are bad because we beat prisoners. Well what do they want us to do, read poetry to them? I didn’t put on a uniform to be nice to people. I’m a police officer not a nurse.”
He complained that they get all the criticism while failures of military and intelligence agencies are overlooked. “They don’t share their information with us. We stand at check posts without any idea of the threat we are facing, then we can only do what we are trained to, harass motorcycle and rickshaw drivers.”
The intelligence agencies denied blame in any lack of information sharing. “It is unpatriotic to question this country’s intelligence agencies,” said a spokesman for the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the organization that coordinates military information. “Rest assured that they, along with the higher echelons of the military, always work to ensure the safety and well being of Pakistan, and to protect it, first and foremost, from Pakistanis themselves.”
The spokesman, Dimagh Kadahi, who wished to remain unnamed, further said that, “You have to understand the situation is quite fragile. Pakistan is surrounded on all sides by enemies: to the west, India; to the east Baluchistan; to the south, Sindh. We must remain vigilant, always.”
“Information sharing is not the problem; it’s the law that is inadequate to deal with a problem like terrorism, but by the grace of God it will be adequate now. This government has seen fit to give us teeth to bite with. After the PPO you will see how these miscreants will simply start vanishing. If they turn up in Syria with the same names I assure you it will be just a coincidence.”
He is talking, of course, about the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance. For the longest time in this country there have not been enough laws to punish terrorists with. Sure you could try them for being thieves, kidnappers, killers or even for blowing things up, but it simply wasn’t enough to stop them. Our law enforcement was crippled because they couldn’t shoot or arrest any suspicious looking person before they did something wrong.
The PPO gives law enforcement and intelligence agencies the authority to pick up and detain suspects without a warrant or court order. In reality, our intelligence agencies have always had this authority it’s just that the law has been slow to catch up.
This is great news for all those Baluch activists who were asking why their families and loved ones were being illegally detained; now they can be legally detained. This is also great news for journalists and talk show hosts who have been paranoid about their personal safety, because now their paranoia will finally be justified.
More power, after all, is exactly what the police and armed forces of this country need.
The writer is a journalist based in Lahore