Report by the Asia Society Independent Commission on Pakistan Police Reform
A Report by the Asia Society Independent Commission on Pakistan Police Reform
Hassan Abbas (Editor)
For complete Report click here
Move over military: Police and counterterrorism in PakistanBy Hassan Abbas, AfPak Channel, Foreign Policy, July 24, 2012
It is generally believed in the West that military action can resolve the terrorism problem in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region as well as help efforts to thwart violent radicalism throughout the region. This idea, while sounding sensible when peering at Pakistan from the outside, misses an important reality on the ground: according to a new report released today by the Asia Society, it is the domestic police force that can best root out terror networks, find and disable their financial support, and even manage de-radicalization programs in association with local communities.
When faced with a serious internal security crisis, it is crucial that a state pursue reform that entails capacity building not just in the military and civilian government, but within the law enforcement sector. Pakistan is a case in point. The state is facing a variety of internal security challenges that are severely limiting its citizens' potential as well as creating tension between neighbors and potential allies abroad. Without police and law enforcement reform, stability is likely to continue eluding Pakistan.
Meaningful reform is not going to be an easy endeavor. A high number of terrorist attacks and increasingly troubling crime patterns tell the story of a state under siege. An increase in targeted killings of political and religious leaders, attacks on armed forces and police, kidnapping for ransom by the Taliban, and ‘mob justice' incidents show just how daunting the challenges for the police have become. Pakistan's efforts to combat crime and to counter terrorist activities are being outpaced by the innovation and agility of criminal networks and protean terrorist organizations. Radicalized elements within the political and religious spheres further complicate security challenges.
One might assume that, as a result, the government of Pakistan has prioritized reform of the police and other law enforcement agencies, allocating budgets accordingly. This simply is not the case. A lack of resources, poor training facilities, insufficient and outmoded equipment, entrenched corruption, and political interference mar law enforcement institutions throughout the country. Still, the police force is one of the country's few institutions in which internal reform is actually underway. This struggle merits attention and needs support.
Interestingly, the international support provided to Pakistan for antiterrorism operations in the last decade was largely geared towards the defense sector, and very little of that ever reached police. This created a situation in which military control trumped local knowledge and know-how. . A balanced approach is needed to help Pakistan tackle both internal and external challenges more effectively.
Few know that Pakistan is among the top five police-contributing countries to the United Nations over the last decade, and the professional performance of Pakistani officers in UN peacekeeping operations is rated highly. However, Pakistan has no mechanism in place to utilize the services of these officers in such a way that police institutions in-country might benefit from this experience. Many Pakistani police officers were successful in getting Fulbright scholarships and Hubert Humphrey fellowships in the United States in recent years as well. Thus, there is a lot of untapped potential in the country that can help transform the law enforcement institutions.
For complete report article, click here
To watch complete NYC Launch Event Video (July 24), click here; for a shorter segment taking about some themes of the report, click here
"Strong Pakistani Police Cited as Key to Stability," Voice of America, 24 July 2012
"Study Says Pakistan Must Revamp Police," AFP, 21 July 2012
For an Urdu report, click here