Punjab earmarks more funds for Elite Force
* IGP claims Qaeda-linked terrorists arrested
LAHORE: The Elite Force of Police is to receive Rs 5 billion in extra funds for new patrol posts, transport vehicles, and equipment, the chief minister said Friday.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the 7th batch at the Elite Police Training School on Bedian Road, Pervaiz Elahi blamed a lack of resources and an inadequate number of vehicles and weapons for the drop in the efficiency of Punjab police.
Of the Rs 5 billion earmarked for police reforms, Mr Elahi said Rs 2 billion would be spent on constructing patrol posts and the rest on transport, new weapons, modern equipment and other facilities needed to modernise the Punjab police.
Mr Elahi said that the compensation plan for the heirs of personnel killed in police encounters had also been augmented. The chief minister also said that a committee had been formed under the chairmanship of Punjab Chief secretary Kamran Rasool to provide risk allowance and other facilities to the Elite Force.
He said 5,000 extra personnel were being recruited to provide the necessary staff at the patrol posts, which would serve as a helpline for citizens. He said that the Punjab government had formed patrol forces in villages and now these would be formed in the cities. He added that salary packages and the uniforms of patrolling police officials would be entirely different from those of the routine police force.
Mr Elahi directed Syed Masud Shah, inspector general Punjab police, to prepare a feasibility report for the construction of barracks, hostels, training sheds, dining halls and residences for training officers at the Elite Police Training School, so that the government could factor that into the next budget.
Speaking on the occasion, IGP Shah told the graduation ceremony that the basic theme of the Elite Force is to curb terrorism and serious crimes.
“Recently we have arrested some terrorists suspected to have links with Al Qaeda, but we cannot disclose their names and numbers before we uproot their entire network,” said Mr Shah. Previous governments had neglected the police department and this had adversely affected the skills of police personnel, added Mr Shah.
“We are trying to change the police image and so we require help from the media,” said Mr Shah.
To a question about the reported murder-by-torture of a labourer allegedly at the hands of Ravi Road Police Station Sub-Inspector Mazhar Iqbal, Mr Shah said, “Mazhar is a criminal and we will take strict action against him.” He called Mr Iqbal a black sheep and said people like him had ruined the department’s image in society.
Mr Elahi added that in future, police training would include lessons on good behaviour and ethical standards.
Around 560 men and women of the Elite Police participated in the graduation parade. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Mr Elahi visited sections of the training school. —Shahnawaz Khan