We conducted an interview with the CCPO of Lahore Police, Zulfiqar Hameed. The main aim of this interview is to ascertain how police can facilitate citizens and what are the necessary obligations of a citizen towards police. The trust deficit that we see at times between the citizens and the police must be reduced. This interview also aims to establish a mutual understanding between the police and the citizens so that this trust deficit can be eliminated.
Suneel Munj: What are the necessary obligations of a citizen towards police, and how must police treat citizens in return? What are the documents that a policeman can ask for from a citizen?
Zulfiqar Hameed: There surely is a trust deficit between citizens and the police, and it must be decreased. The outreach of police with the community must improve. Whenever there is a disagreement or a clash between the police and the citizens, both parties are at wrong to some extent.
Whenever something bad happens, the police get blamed; however, whenever the police do a good job, there is a lack of praise, which is unfortunate. We have eradicated police checkpoints inside small cities, and they are usually placed at the entry and exit points. These are well-managed by police personnel. Two major checks at these checkpoints include checking for wanted persons and for wanted vehicles. We have maintained databases on wanted people and vehicles.
At these checkpoints, we have given laptops to police personnel. CNIC is used for checking, and this process will also incorporate biometrics in the future. As a citizen, you need to carry user CNIC for these verifications. CNIC is for identity, and every citizen must carry it everywhere for identification purposes.
Moreover, when you are driving, you must have your driving license with you. We also look for weapons and narcotics, for example, when a bus comes from outside the city. Then we check CNICs to ensure that criminals are not entering the city. Citizens must cooperate with police officials in checking so that criminals can be caught.
Suneel Munj: Can a police officer ask for a marriage contract from citizens?
Zulfiqar Hameed: No, a police officer cannot ask for a marriage license from a citizen. Asking for a marriage license can be seen as a holdover from the times of Hadood Laws when citizens were asked to provide a marriage contract.
Suneel Munj: Is there a system through which a citizen can launch a complaint when a policeman is misbehaving?
Zulfiqar Hameed: Yes, we have 8787 complaint number that will connect you to the police call center that works from 9 am to 5 pm. This helpline is functional throughout Punjab. Your complaints on this number get due attention and get an inquiry from senior officials. You can tell the area or the vicinity if you do not know about the exact name of the official. Lockups and all the checkpoints have CCTV cameras and record everything. When inquiry happens, footage from these cameras gets to be included.
Suneel Munj: Have you taken the matter of delay in the provision of number plates to the excise department as this also adversely affects your department?
Zulfiqar Hameed: Yes, it does as we do not allow those cars which do not have standardized number plates. One solution is to provide the receipt from the excise department that you get when you apply for a registration number. However, we have taken up this issue to the excise department. There are certainly some issues with the department and its vendors.
Suneel Munj: What does the law state about making and leaking the video of a person without his/her consent? Moreover, how do you regulate videos that are made by public cameras as we have seen safe city camera pictures and videos have gotten leaked in the past?
Zulfiqar Hameed: In the Safe City Project, they make sure these leakages do not happen, and their SOPs prevent these leakages as well. These videos are admissible in a court of law as well. Videos made by people are not admissible, though, as their authenticity is questionable, and these videos can be easily tampered with or can be edited to show bias.
Suneel Munj: Can a police officer make a video of a citizen or wear a body camera?
Zulfiqar Hameed: In certain jurisdictions in the United States, police officers have to wear body cameras. They were made mandatory to curtail police misconduct, and it also protects policemen when someone launches a fake complaint. We are doing some pilot runs of body cameras in Karachi and other cities.
Suneel Munj: If a person is buying a used car, is it mandatory to get a police check, and is there a counter for that?
Zulfiqar Hameed: It is mandatory to get a police check, and now it is easier to do so than before. Police have a vast anti-vehicle lifting database. There are many khidmat marakiz across Lahore, and there is an online application for these centers. You can get your vehicle verified from these khidmat centers, or you can also use the application. You can also book appointments for license renewal etc. as well from the khidmat application.
At some khidmat centers, you can also check whether the car has been tampered with or cut or welded over time. If there is something wrong along these lines, they can also refer it to a forensic. We give you a certificate for these inspections as well.
See the video interview of CCPO Lahore below:
Suneel Munj: Is there a helpline for women who get harassed while driving on the road?
Zulfiqar Hameed: The 15 helpline is a renowned one and must be used in such a circumstance. Calls to 15 go to our call centers that, in turn, communicate it to Dolphin Force or other relevant forces. If the complaint is not an emergency, then you can call 8787.
Suneel Munj: What does the law say about tinted windows in vehicles? Imported cars come with tinted windows by default, how do you cater to do that?
Zulfiqar Hameed: On medical grounds like skin issues, people do get a waiver on tinted-windows restriction. There is a due process for this that can be easily followed. As far as imported cars are concerned, that is something which comes from the manufacturer, and people do get relaxation on that.
Suneel Munj: Don’t you think we need to agree upon a certain percentage of tint in the windows similar to what Dubai and other regions follow?
Zulfiqar Hameed: We have been strict about tinted windows because, in the past, we have seen terrorism and crime in which tinted windows played a key role. Tinted windows can hide certain things that can help people to commit crimes or undertake terrorism.
Suneel Munj: What kind of protocol must the citizens give way to, and what kind of protocols come under bullying?
Zulfiqar Hameed: Some people do imitate police protocols, and this must be discouraged. We have recently taken notice of such cases in DHA and other areas. Catching such people is important because you cannot take the law into your own hands and disturb other citizens. It is a crime to put up police lights or its insignia on private vehicles.
A criminal case gets registered against such people, and the police undertake crackdowns on such vehicles. Citizens can also lodge a complaint against such vehicles, and police will surely take prompt action. We have also dealt with some high profile cases. People should give way to vehicles like ambulances and police vehicles.
Suneel Munj: How do you secure international teams and players for sporting events like PSL?
Zulfiqar Hameed: In cases when international teams visit Pakistan, citizens need to understand that policemen standing on the roads are just obeying orders from high-level authorities that have made security commitments with foreign governments and entities.
The best thing to do in this case is to cooperate with these policemen and make the entire process easy and hassle-free for everyone. If we do not provide proper security, it will reflect poorly on us. We also cannot compromise on security in these cases. Sometimes we also provide resident cards so that they can go through blockades if they live in the vicinity.
Suneel Munj: We hope this interview serves as a source of information for people and helps to answer their questions. We also hope that the trust deficit between the police and the citizens reduces over time.
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