We attach the highest importance to the welfare and contentment of the police. This is for self-evident reasons. A dissatisfied police force seeks to give vent to its fury on the people. This in turn leas to a vicious circle of conflict and tension between the people and the police. We have been the victims of this vicious circle for far too long. We are determined gradually to break it by taking measures to create a better equation and a better relationship between the people and the police. This police reform is as much a reform for the people as it is for the police. I am determined to make our police force a modern, exemplary force. We do not look on the responsibilities of the police only in the limited context of law and order. Nevertheless, a modern state does deal with the problems of crime, delinquency and law-breaking. The primary responsibility of the police is to deal with this vital problem. All conceptions of law and order, safety of the individuals, protection of the weak and the helpless from the strong and powerful, are in the ultimate analysis dependent on the efficient and proper working of the police. If the police force in a country is given its due place in society, is well trained, disciplined and well equipped; if it acts in an honest manner without fear or favour; if it is accountable to the people, then without doubt the state structure has been laid on correct foundations.
On December 20, 1971 in my first address to the nation, I mentioned the need to provide the policemen with a living wage, to put an end to the image of zulm and corruption and to replace it with that of a friend and a protector of the law abiding citizens and the poor. Mr. G. Ahmed, an experienced police officer, was immediately entrusted with the task of translating these objectives into a workable programme. On receipt of this report, for the purpose of providing immediate relief, the decisions of the Government relating to pay and allowances of subordinate staff of the police force were announced by the Finance Minister on February 27.
A police force can be responsible and responsive only if it is accountable to the people. I have taken this as a cardinal principle. I have decided that the public and the police should meet each other periodically in District Consultative Committees to review the police public relations. At the provincial level, a standing committee of the provincial legislature would be constituted for this purpose. In this way it is hoped the accountability and co-operation will go hand in hand.
The public will also have new institution. The Ombudsman and the administrative courts will be formed for the redress of its grievances against the administration. The Ombudsman may investigate or cause to be investigated by any agency public complaints regarding excesses, abuse of authority, or failure of the administration. The administrative courts would examine public complaints against erroneous actions of the administration. These courts will have power to adjudicate cases brought before them by members of the public who may have suffered injustices at the hands of Government authorities.
Provision is being made for summarily dealing with cases of corruption which cannot be death with under the ordinary procedures. The corrupt will find no mercy. Special tribunals will be appointed for this purpose with power to retire corrupt officials. While we will do everything to ensure that the honest are not victimized or subjected to the pressure of influential and interested individuals, it is to be ensured that the corrupt are wedded out. Efficiency and discipline rules will also be modified so as to enable action to be taken under the police rules in order to meet the requirements of a uniformed, efficient police force.
The police force, as it now stands, is being reorganized. In future, in order to promote the acquisition of skills and specialization, the crime police will be separately organized in urban areas on an experimental basis.
A feeder I police organization will be set up and this organization will deal with such offences as inter-provincial smuggling, illicit traffic in drugs currency offences, enforcement of laws relating to foreigners, immigration and passport, child-lifting from one province to another and other heinous inter-provincial crimes.
Training and discipline are the sine qua non of an effective force. The police training school at Sihala is being organized into a police training academy so that proper training can be imparted to senior police officers as well. Quality of training for both officers and men will be improved. Along with academic grounding, attention will be devoted to impress upon trainees the duties of the police towards society.
It has been decided to improve the mobility of the police force and more vehicles will be provided to them for this purpose. The network in provincial, range and district headquarters will be improved and all police stations connected by telephone or wireless. The force shall be equipped with batter weapons on modern lines.
I have always held the view that it is not possible to have an honest policeman with enormous powers at a salary of Rs. 70/- a month, which was the case before. We have already changed this position. Now, the minimum salary that a policeman will draw will be Rs. 110/-. In addition to this, we will continue the ration subsidy of Rs. 11.75/- we have also increased the existing allowances and have introduced new ones. Policemen will now be paid per mensem a crime allowance of Rs. 10/-, a traffic allowances of Rs. 50/- a conveyance allowance of Rs. 5/-, a washing allowance of Rs. 3/-, house rent allowance at the rate of 15% of the initial salary (say against Rs. 1/- to 3/- for a constable and Rs. 2.50 to Rs. 5/- for a head constable before) and a horse allowance of Rs. 60/- (as against the previous allowance of Rs. 40/- per mensem). Inspectors, sub-inspectors and Assistant Sub-Inspectors will continue to draw the motor cycle allowance admissible to them.
Police personnel will get a disability pension according to the formula applicable to armed forces. The widow of a police officer, killed in the discharge of his duty, will receive pension according to her husbands entitlement.
In addition to sanctioning these allowances, I have decided that in the provinces of Punjab, NWFP and Baluchistan, every year additional residential accommodation will be provided at the rate of 5% till it meets the requirements of 50% of the total strength of the police force. This is not being done in the province of Sindh as these facilities already exist there.
It will also be ensured that special ration depots are opened in all Police Lines so that essential food articles are available to the policemen at controlled rates. Police hospitals will improved, adequately staffed and kept well-stocked with medicines. Medical treatment will be free for policemen and their families. Adequate funds are being provided by the Provincial Governments for this purpose. My Government has already declared that education upto Matric shall be free for the children of all Government employees drawing a salary of upto Rs. 500/- a month. This benefit will extend to policemen as well.
We have also decided to increase the issue of summer uniforms from one to two per year.
While the increase in pay and allowances was a must, I confess that I would have felt happier if more could have been done. However, this is all that can be done at present with the available resources of the country. A press conference will be held soon after the session of the National Assembly to elaborate on the measures of reforms.
My dear custodians of law and order, you have a very important role to perform. Your nation looks upon you to do this honestly and efficiently. Your nation is poor. It is beset with immense problems. I repeat, it is giving you all that it can afford at present. Pakistan expects you to do your duty diligently and faithfully. And when you do your duty to the people, they will give you their support and respect. I sincerely hope you will now improve your image and will serve the nation with a spirit of dedication, with smartness and with patriotic fervour.