Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed his commitment for reforms in the institutions and declared Pakistan Army a model institution where merit and chain of command are religiously followed. Pakistan Army is no doubt an institution where financial background does not matter and every serviceman is treated equally and zero tolerance is exercised on breach of the discipline. There is no such incident where Chief Ministers have interfered in the affairs of Armed Forces because they have confidence and trust that their interference would not be entertained by Armed Forces.Let us consider the institution of Police Service of Pakistan which is politicized, dependent on political governments, lacks discipline and employs welfare. Since Police is directly responsible for internal security and plays a key role in maintaining law & order, therefore, reforms in police service are the need of the hour. While courts are already overburdened due to slow processes, lack of professionalism in Police also contribute in overburdening of courts. The first step towards police reforms can be immediate implementation of Police Order 2002 in Sindh and Baluchistan provinces. Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have already started implementation of Police order 2002 which gives powers to police and makes it free from political interference. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Police has been able to revive its image among the general public, starting from the ANP Government, and continue to improve under the PTI Government. In Sindh, Police has been extensively politicized and has been criticized in the last few years for becoming nearly dysfunctional in tackling terrorist and criminal cases in Karachi, forcing the Army and Rangers to be deployed there instead. Moreover, recent NAB cases of former inspector general of police Ghulam Haider Jamali have raised further concerns, as he made illegal political appointments which resulted in the loss of millions of rupees to the Government.Police Service lack professional in-service training. The officers receive training opportunities but lower ranks sometimes wait a lifetime for this service. In reality, majority of the policemen don’t get a chance to fire a single bullet throughout their service. As a result, when they engage in encounters with terrorists & criminals, they suffer casualties and their performances remain no less than a common manA centralized control of Police may result in effective implementation of Police Order 2002. National Police Bureau in Islamabad can be strengthened and given powers to act as a central headquarters of Police for implementation of reforms in all four provinces, which will include implementation of Police order, restructuring of police service and recommendation on policy reforms. Moreover, it will also help in improved coordination in NACTA and other affairs of the Interior Ministry. By empowering National Police Bureau, Policy issues will be discussed at the central level and Interior ministry will be able to directly oversee affairs of police in all four provinces. An empowered and centralized police will work for the betterment of the institution, its welfare and also ensure uniform discipline, that will be implanted on the Police force across the country.Posting and Transfers in Police are done on the basis of political interference. Though the Apex court has been reassuring its support to Police in autonomous decisions, however they failed to become free and apolitical. Police Service lack professional in-service training. The officers receive training opportunities but lower ranks sometimes wait a lifetime for this service. In reality, majority of the policemen don’t get a chance to fire a single bullet throughout their service. As a result, when they engage in encounters with terrorists and criminals, they suffer casualties and their performances remain no less than a common man. Police also needs extensive training and capacity building in conducting investigations, especially with increasing cybercrimes and importance of technology, Police needs to be updated accordingly. Better Investigative skills of Police will help in solving complex cases and as a result, courts will not be overburdened.Often police act in passive mode regarding crimes and response time remains slow. An action is taken only when either Supreme Court, High Courts or Political Governments take notice. Timely response and action of police would have helped avoid incidents like that in Kasur where victims continued to follow-up with Police but the cases remained ignored until the Supreme Court of Pakistan took Suo Motu action after the Zainab case.Police are often misused by elites especially politicians for personal security, though VIP duties of Police have been reduced since last year. This will not only reduce political interference but will also ensure availability of Police for public safety. Similarly, Policemen also escort foreigners, mainly NGO workers and private sector firms. The Departments spends millions of rupees on such duties but never claim bills from those organizations who receive special escort for security.Police perform special duties in elections, natural disasters such as floods or in special campaigns such as Polio but they never receive incentives like other departments do. For instance, Army received Rs. 10 billion for election duties under the Internal Security Allowance, Teachers also received allowances for election duties, however, Police are equally deputed in these events but never get any allowance or benefits.Police need to be empowered, recruitments need to be made transparent and free of any political interference. A transportation scheme for policemen should be introduced where they can be provided basic transport in instalments. This will help in improving attendance of police in duty hours as well as their availability in an emergency. At the same time, their families should be provided social benefits such as health and education. Finally, Policemen should be trained in public dealing and soft skills. Their attitude towards the general public should be friendly and facilitative. All of these steps will help revive the Institution of Police all over the country.The writer is a media and communications professional. He can be contacted at email@example.com or Twitter: zia051Published in Daily Times, October 9th 2018.