Budget is the basic instrument through which financial resources are allocated to different entities within the governance setup in Pakistan. The process is conceptually based on economics and finance, but it has to be legally formalized. Besides, whatever any government may choose to say, the budgetary allocations also reflect the priorities of governance. The Constitution of Pakistan 1973 through its Articles 80 and 120 makes it an obligation for both tiers of government (federal and provincial) to present budgets before respective legislative assemblies for voting in the form of Annual Budget Statements (ABS). The instant write-up is an overview of the budgets allocated to police organizations in Pakistan in FY 2014-15.
The Constitution of Pakistan, in outlining the spheres of authority through legislative competences of federation and provinces, puts the obligation of maintenance of law and order on the provinces; in order to meet the obligation, each province has constituted its own provincial police organization. Therefore, in all, there are four provincial and different federal police organizations. Human Right Commission of Pakistan, in its report on Police Organizations in Pakistan, has counted over twenty federal police organizations.
The Punjab Police
According to the Annual Administrative Report of the Punjab Police 2011, it is the biggest police organization in Pakistan with 1,77,635 personnel who police over 90 million people. Punjab’s ABS for FY 2014-15 shows budget estimates for police at Rs. 82,530.390 million as against Rs. 71,305.410 million of the previous year. The total outlay of Punjab budget was Rs. 1033.70 billion. These figures show that there is a substantial increase in police budget prima facie.
The increase from Rs. 71 billion to over Rs. 82 billion must be minutely studied to draw appropriate inferences as many interesting points may emerge from the devil of details. For example, the development and non-development budgets of policing need to be separated. Likewise, the expenses incurred on VVIP, judicial and security-related arrangements need to be worked out separately on the basis to work out the expenses being incurred on the primary law and order function.
The Sindh Police
The total outlay of the Sindh budget was Rs. 686 billion approximately.
The Budget Estimates for police for FY 2014-15, according to ABS, is Rs. 55,693.560 million as against Rs. 46,164.453 million for the previous year.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police
The total outlay of KP’s budget was over Rs. 404 billion.
The amount shown for police in ABS is Rs. 28,534.630 million for FY 2014-15 as compared to Rs. 23,781.398 million for FY 2013-14.
The total outlay of Balochistan budget for FY 2014-15 is over Rs. 215.713 billion. The amount estimated in it for police is Rs. 12,197.705 as against Rs. 9,495.757 million in the previous year 2013-14. The strength of Balochistan police is over thirty-seven thousand personnel.
Islamabad police is not a provincial police organization hence it gets its funds from the federal government. The website of Chief Commissioner Islamabad shows that Islamabad Police has been allocated Rs. 1,363,910,000 (1.37 billion) for FY 2014-15.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir Police
The AJK police is again not a provincial police organization and may be classed as one of the federal government police organizations. The outlay of AJK budget is over Rs. 62 billion out of which Rs. 3.82 billion have been earmarked for police.
The GB Police may also not be categorized as a provincial police organization. GB government issues Annual Development Programme instead of ABS for allocation of resources for different departments. In case of police, the amount allocated is Rs. 218.358 million.
With an overview of resource estimates, as contained in ABS and other sources for different police organizations, it is now appropriate to record general points of analysis with the caveat that the analysis is based on broad points as the subject warrants a detailed statistical study ‘which has not been undertaken by anyone and may form a subject of thesis for any serious researcher’ to form definite findings. Till that happens, the points of analysis may be taken as indicative, at best.
First, it may be noted that the allocation of resources to police organizations is done under the head of ‘public order and safety affairs’ in the provinces and with different names for federal organizations. The categorization provides space to budget makers to lump non-policing expenses under the head, which makes the study of police budgets less definite, populous and populist.
Second, the details on different policing functions are not fully made available. This is a transparency issue as much of the police budgets contain expenses that have little relevance with citizens’ security and with maintenance of law and order.
Third, there is no doubt that due to the prevailing situation in the country, more resources of police organizations are being eaten up by security arrangements for thwarting terrorists’ attacks. However, the resources so expended, seldom find place in account books so that they can be counted towards cost of war on terror.
Fourth, the ultimate control of financial resources remains with non-specialists and with bureaucracy. The principle of responsibility with authority is more often than not trampled upon and those having financial authority are almost never held responsible for any wrongdoings. This not only frustrates the initiative of top managers of police organizations, but also aggravates the systemic fissures in accounting and auditing procedures.
Finally, the above overview of allocations is based on budgetary estimates, which is a fallacious measure of resource allocation on pragmatic level as ‘estimates’ are based on demands. The real measure may be the expenditure done by the organizations coupled with its impact on the public at large.