Politics is the art of perception management. Politicians often employ advertisement companies’ technique of repeating certain phrases or sentences umpteen times till the listeners believe them as a matter of faith. “We made police misali in KP province” is one such piece of mythology that has become an essential part of a list of achievements presented by Imran Khan. I am proud of serving the police department for almost 30 years but in my capacity as a former Home Secretary and having held senior positions in the KP police, I deem it my duty to put the record straight by sifting myth from reality. The last two governments that served the province were of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which served between 2013-2018 and Awami National Party (ANP), which served between 2008-2013. I would therefore briefly review the nature of reforms introduced by these two governments and the financial injections provided in each tenure as no fighting force can function without adequate human and physical resources. Let us first look at the situation that existed in the country in 2008, in general, and in KP, in particular. The Taliban outfits had established parallel governments in many districts of KP province and were regularly attacking personnel and buildings of law enforcement agencies. In such an environment of real and imminent danger the then provincial ANP government rightly considered revamping and rebuilding the police department its top priority. It, therefore, developed a “Comprehensive Development Strategy and Post Needs Crisis Assessment Programme” with the assistance of the World Bank. As money makes the mare go, the ANP government enhanced the budget of the police, besides increasing its Annual Development Programme. We can notice that financial resource allocation reached its peak in 2010-11 during ANP’s government. With more finances available, the police force acquired better human resources, as the number of police personnel swelled to 750,00 in 2013, from 32,000 in 2006-7 – a staggering increase of 134 per cent. In order to achieve reforms related targets, a Project Coordination Unit was also established which empowered the police force to initiate and run its developmental schemes. As the existing training centres could not accommodate such huge numbers, arrangements were made with the Army for imparting training. Another strategic priority was raising a counter-terrorism force Besides recruitment, capacity building was another important strategic priority for the then ANP government. As the existing training centres could not accommodate such huge numbers, arrangements were made with the Army for imparting training. Another strategic priority was raising a counter-terrorism force and within a short span of time, a 7,000 strong, highly trained anti-terrorism Elite Force was raised. To modernise the fighting capacity, the police personnel were provided with new weapons and were also adequately trained with the help of army. In the same period, a state-of-the-art Joint Training Centre, with the assistance of INL (US,) was built in Nowshehra, which is now the main training centre for anti-terrorism personnel. The Directorate of Counter Terrorism was established which played a crucial role in bringing hundreds of terrorists to justice and preparing a database of 3,500 militants and of 350 most wanted terrorists. To improve the physical infrastructure, the damaged buildings of the Police in the whole of Malakand were reconstructed under the US assisted Rule of Law and Peace Building programme. In a nutshell, by 2013, a highly well-developed police system was in place to tackle the law and order situation in KPK. Financial resource allocation reached its peak in 2010-11 during ANP’s government. With more finances available, the police force acquired better human resources, as the number of police personnel swelled to 750,00 in 2013, from 32,000 in 2006-7, a staggering increase of 134 percent Now let us turn to the 2013-18 period of PTI government and examine what specific reforms were initiated and executed by the new government. PTI Leader Imran Khan, in his speeches, and also in the manifesto, vowed that the SHO system would be replaced by the US-styled sheriff system where SHOs would be elected by the local people. Nothing of the sort came about in the PTI era. We however did see some pictures being splashed in social media pages of PTI showing a model police station on the pattern of police stations in the developed countries to create a perception that the KP police had been modernised. The reality on ground is that the buildings of main police stations in Peshawar, let alone smaller cities, are still in dilapidated condition. People, however, did see greater presence of traffic police personnel but that was possible due to the additions made to the police force by the previous government. Therefore, the credit should go where it belongs. In PTI’s tenure the police force strength reached 82,000, thus registering an increase of 9 per cent, which dwarfs in comparison with what the ANP government had made possible in its tenure. The Directorate of Counter Terrorism was renamed Counter Terrorism Department, making it the focal agency against terrorism, relieving the police stations. Thus the main channel of collecting intelligence and interaction with the community was absolved of its duties. Prominent on the failures list is the non-pursuance of vital projects, like a forensic lab comparable to the one in the Punjab, and CCTV cameras based safe city project in the KP province. Perhaps the PTI government believed that merely passing a new legislation on policing would somehow remedy all law and order problems in the province. The budgetary figures show that during PTI tenure the growth momentum fell sharply, reaching its lowest in 2015 -2016. The comparative analysis establishes that rather than introducing any substantive reforms, a high pitched and well organised propaganda was unleashed in the last few years to create a perception that the previous ANP government had done very little, while the new government had done wonders. Myths, however, can’t stand long when exposed to the light of facts and evidence. The author is a former Home Secretary and Inspector General of Police. He can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, July 28th 2018.