LAHORE Instead of showing their faces to the journalists and other people, the police always keep the heads (and faces) of the hardened criminals during their press and court showings under unexplained logic. The top cops, however, argue that the chief motive behind their face-covering is to save them from the wrath of the complainants. Once the criminals are recognized then the purpose of identity (Shanakht) parade, which is an integral part of the investigation process, would be lost, argued one senior police officer. An analyst, however, said that the mask, as a symbolic device, expresses exactly a combination of knowledge and lack of knowledge and the real intentions or motivations behind it (mask) are uncertain to the spectator, precisely because of the disguise. He demanded that the faces of murders, rapists, bandits, and terrorists should be shown to the public so that they may know and recognize the culprits. The identification parade is an essential measurement while investigating any sensitive case, Capital City Police Officer Mohammad Aslam Tareen opined. He said: Actually, we mask them for a noble cause, otherwise none of the police officers has any vested interests in criminals, he remarked. The CCPO said whenever any criminal is arrested in wake of any kind of felony activity then he is masked under police custody so that the complainants could easily identify the accused. During investigation the robbers/dacoits, gangsters and rapists are presented in front of the complainants and asked them to identify their accused, he added. When asked once the criminals are identified by the victims then why the police wore masks to the criminals while lining them in press conferences after solving the case or while producing them in front of courts, Aslam Tareen avoided giving comprehensive comments in this regard. The public, analysts and law practitioners however think quite differently. They say police protect the hardened criminals by masking them. Once the police present the criminals in front of general public and reveal their faces that these people were criminals, gangsters, rapists, murderers and terrorists then they would never again indulge in criminal acts after they are released from the jail or courts, says a 19-year-old student Sher Shah, whose father was gunned down by dacoits during a robbery in 2008 in the provincial capital. This may be worth mentioning here that the oldest masks that have been discovered are 9,000 years old, being held by the Muse Bible et Terre Sainte (Paris), and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Most probably the practice of masking is much older - circa 30,000-40,000 years - but insofar as it involved the use of war-paint, leather, vegetative material or wooden masks, the masks probably have not been preserved. A Lahore polices top officer, requesting not to be named, however repeated the same arguments as CCPO Aslam Tareen remarked. He said police masked the accused in order to deliver maximum benefit to the complainants otherwise there was a possibility of benefiting to accused in case the faces of criminals are made public. Once Identification Parade is practiced in front of a Magistrate then nothing was illegal in showing their faces to public, he added. The senior police cop however avoided answering to quote any example in which the faces of criminals were shown to the public.