Colonial legacy of the British: a narrative analysis of police service of Pakistan


  • Fida Muhammad Khan Department of Development Studies, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Islamabad, Pakistan | National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • Aftab Alam Department of economic and management, Harbin University of Science and Technology, Harbin, China
  • Manzoor Ali Veserio National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan.



British legacy, police services, civil services, civil service reforms, police reforms, thematic analysis, interpretivist approach, constructivism, xenocentric attitude


The colonial legacy remains visible in the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP). The PSP officers identify themselves as something different and superior to the public. It is common for PSP to view the public how the colonial master viewed the subjects of colonial rule. The study adopted an interpretivist approach with a constructivist ontological stance using thematic analysis on in-depth interviews conducted with the respondents. The study found that PSP has retained its colonial imprint. As an institution, the PSP identifies itself as above the law and disconnected from the public. The narrative of “us” and “them”. The xenocentric attitude, viewing the public as inferior and savage people and, most importantly, thinking that the main job of the police as an organization is to maintain order rather than prevent crime, serves as evidence that the police service of Pakistan has kept its colonial legacy intact. It treats the public as “subjects” to be suppressed rather than served. The 1861 Police Act and colonial legislations help the PSP keep the colonial legacy alive. The PSP as an institution serves as an example of the persistence of colonial institutions with resistance to change and reform.


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How to Cite

Khan, F. M., Alam, A., & Veserio, M. A. (2023). Colonial legacy of the British: a narrative analysis of police service of Pakistan. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 7(1), 81–103.