Rahmat Karim Baig

Modern police vs. old system of policing

 Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig

States either larger or smaller all over the world have depended on police system which mostly comprised of secret police to monitor the activities of all the individuals especially malcontents, members of the ruling families, aristocrats, the clergy etc.

Chitral has been a state of a small size but had developed a number of tricks, skills and policies to control dissidents as there was a good number of them working for princes of the ruling family and other aspirants to the throne. In order to keep a vigilant eye on the suspects, a secret police system was designed even in the Raees period. They communicated the activities and private talks of the suspects to the high-ups and based on these action was taken which was often assassination. This type has been made active since the formation of an organized social organization that grew into petty states.

In Chitral, during the reign of Amanul Mulk, this system was used very actively as the Khoshwakhte princes had been supported by him against each other, and thus a gape was created for interference of Amanul Mulk and in this way he occupied those valleys earlier held by the princes of the rival clan. All was the handiwork of espionage of high level.

The Mehtars kept secret police who reported and conveyed to him the activities of the dissidents who were either deported or imprisoned. Beside the secret police, there was a state agent in each village who was also bound to keep an eye on notables and their activities.

The word Chharbu in Khowar is known for his duties as tax collector of the lowest level but his duty also included reporting about anti-Mehtar elements. He received a number of privileges for his multifarious duties inside his jurisdiction. There was no uniformed police in the state but law and order went more satisfactorily than it is today. There were no strikes, no road blocks, no demonstrations, no processions because the punishment was severe and the law enforcing agencies awarded the hardest punishments.

Now, a police man in uniform patrols a road and his movement is observed by the public. When he goes to a certain house for an official duty, it is disliked by the community and the family concerned comes under gossip. A constable in uniform is a point of attention of the public and in the distant and far-flung areas this uniform is scary. Children are silenced as police is coming as they in (rural Punjab) frighten children about the arrival of a Pathan.

The enforcement of rules and laws is very important for the society and writ of the government is the basic tool to run administration but alongside the unformed as well as un uniformed personnel and the other agencies of high profile, there should be a secret local model on the line used by the old rulers to report against local crimes directly to DC or any other Authority without having anything to do with the local police.

It will keep police alert or they will connive the minor crimes. Alongside the British system of policing the old mechanism of the Mehtars should also be tried to curb crimes as the population has multiplied many times over and new tools have been invented by science to hit the law like the cyber crimes for which experts have to be hired or so many sensitive echelons are at risk.

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