Sense of betrayal in Pak police grows as Imran Khan govt negotiated with banned TLP

ANI
·3-min read
Violent protest led by banned TLP on Sunday (ANI)
Violent protest led by banned TLP on Sunday (ANI)

Islamabad [Pakistan], April 30 (ANI): Several members of the Pakistani police force have said that there is a growing sense of 'betrayal' among their colleagues after the government negotiated and agreo ted the demands of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party despite officers being "killed, tortured and humiliated" by the group's supporters during protests earlier this month.

During the three days of countrywide protests, hundreds of protesters and police personnel were injured and thousands of TLP activists and supporters were arrested and booked for attacking law enforcement personnel and blocking main roads and highways in protest against the arrest of their leader Saad Hussain Rizvi.

Several police vehicles were torched, buildings were attacked and policemen were kidnapped and tortured by the activists of the TLP across the Punjab province.

Arab News reported that at least six policemen were killed and over 800 were injured, citing official figures.

Despite saying that it would ban TLP over the violence, the ministers negotiated with the part and eventually accepted its demand to halt criminal cases against them and also released hundreds of arrested TLP supports after protests became more deadlier.

The government also called a parliamentary vote on expelling the French ambassador as demanded by the TLP, after

"There is no problem in negotiations with protesters. But how can you set those free who have killed, tortured and humiliated law enforcers?" a policeman, who was held hostage by the TLP and ultimately released, told Arab News.

He further said that it was "highly demoralising" that the government had released rioters who had assaulted police.

"The police don't see any point in performing their duties after what has been done to us," said a senior police officer in Punjab.

Meanwhile, Saleem Vahidy, a former deputy inspector general of Sindh police, said the confidence of the force has 'hit rock bottom'. "When you set free criminals who are arrested for serious breaches of the law, you are setting a dangerous precedent and sending the wrong message," he said.

TLP first came to prominence as an organized force when it protested for the release of Mumtaz Qadri, a bodyguard who gunned down Salman Taseer, then governor of Punjab province, for seeking justice for a destitute Christian woman who had been jailed on blasphemy charges, reported Arab News.

Zoha Waseem, a research scholar at the Institute for Global City Policing, said the latest protests and ensuing violence had highlighted the limitation of viewing riots simply as a "law-and-order problem."

"This is not a failure of the police; it is the failure of inadequate and short-sighted state policies that imagine that such challenges can be dealt with force by law enforcement agencies. You simply cannot just 'police' (your way) out of this," she said.

Analysts believe that Pakistan's inaction against proscribed terror outfits may lead Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) to function under a new name, after it was banned on April 15.

Counterterror watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has criticized Pakistan's inaction against proscribed terror outfits that continue to function under different names. (ANI)