Are they officials of the republic or surrogating a political party?
The recent politically charged statements made by chiefs of law enforcement agencies give us much cause for concern, for they signal that instead of maintaining independence as per their mandate, law enforcement agencies are now toeing one particular party-line.
The BGB chief declared that, BGB members, whose directive is to guard the borders, will now take to the streets of the country to maintain law and order, using lethal weapons if need be to kill perpetrators of violence. Meanwhile, the police IGP commented that Khaledia Zia’s demand for rallies is disrespectful of the law, and strongly criticised talk show guests who castigate the government for its anti-democratic practices. The Rab chief, asserting that strong measures will be taken to counter terrorism of anti-liberation forces, iterated the AL party-line that that election would not be held before 2019.
These statements, which unabashedly echo the government’s political position, raise urgent questions about whether the law enforcers are servants of the republic or of a particular political party. The mandate of law enforcers is to protect the republic in a professional, impartial and independent manner. Given the blatantly partisan comments, are we to assume that law enforcers have now become the mouth-piece of the government?
We must not forget that independent law enforcement is a basic principle and requirement of democracy and rule of law. While we welcome strong measures to deter violence on the general public, we cannot condone arbitrary arrests, shootings and suppression of the opposition in the name of maintaining law and order. That is a violation of constitutional as well as human rights.
Source: Daily Star